As a business that runs in-person group sessions, the novel coronavirus covid-19 is having a dramatic and direct impact on our business.
To be fair, when we first met as a team at the start of this pandemic to discuss our next steps, we did dedicate a good half hour to panic, negative thinking and knee jerk reactions for cost-cutting measures.
But then we took a breath, and the conversation turned towards ‘what are the opportunities here?’. And, most importantly, ‘how can we help?’. Businesses are in trouble, what can we do?.
It’s like a brilliant rhyme a friend once shared: When you’re feeling nervous, put yourself to service.
Change of thinking
Shifting our energy from catastrophising (a fair reaction to the overwhelming uncertainty facing the entire globe) to compassion allowed us to drop the energy in the room from panic to productive.
As a team, we decided to focus our energy on ways we can help others – and in doing so, support our own business to thrive in the face of adversity.
We’ve created a risk mitigation strategy for preserving our budget, bringing in new work and creating community and connection with the small businesses around us. We realised that our best tool is communication: talking and sharing within the business and connecting with others outside.
Managing covid-19 as a small business
Being a small business is a blessing in these changing times, because it gives us the flexibility to remain agile as issues evolve. While we’re seeing sweeping decisions from large businesses, such as locking down whole sites or closing projects with no warning, smaller players are able to take things day-by-day.
By focusing on supporting and building their team with good communication and a shared purpose, smaller businesses can make these decisions with the full support of their people. And in doing so, this approach serves to give employees reassurance in the face of uncertainty, as they worry about elderly and compromised family members and loved ones.
For our business, next steps were channelled into three areas: cost, planning and revenue. We explored ways to address each point: how can we reduce future spend? We can we recover costs? What new opportunities exist for generating revenue? And key to all of this is the big question: How do we encourage positivity and buy in from our team?
We’re lucky to have a wonderful team and well-established avenues for communicating (as a business that helps other businesses connect and communicate, you’d certainly hope we have this in order!). But for businesses that have been flying by the seat of their pants – perhaps as growth skyrocketed in recent years leaving little time for even considering internal communication and connection – the simple step of communicating may need attention now, more than ever.
From offering support to neighbouring small businesses to making our team building, leadership and communication workshops more accessible, we’ve shifted from holding our breath to holding out hope, supporting other businesses in finding their own sense of calm by helping their people reconnect – in a hygienic, no-handshaking-or-hugs kind of way.