In almost all of our decisions, large or small, there’s a certain constant: the idea that, in the big picture, things generally continue to operate more or less as they have in the recent past. In other words, we’re working within a well understood and relatively stable environment.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore, as what we previously knew as “normal” has completely and dramatically changed. It can seem like everything is closing in around you, but there are definite steps you can take to navigate through the darkness and find your way to success.
What Happens When All Your Assumptions Are Wrong?
We can certainly waste a lot of time debating what led to the current situation, who’s to blame, or what could have been done to minimize its impact. And, while it’s important to learn all we can from these events, the bottom line is:
- This is where we are now.
- No one anticipated the extent of the impact.
- The world will be a different place when we come out on the other side.
Once we accept this, we’re left with two important questions:
- What will the “New Normal” look like?
- How can you position yourself for success?
Success is a Moving Target
In our programs, I always stress the fact that success is a moving target. What worked ten years ago – or ten months, ten weeks, or even ten days ago – is not going to deliver the same results today.
The only thing we can say for certain now is that the “old normal” – the rules and models we operated under previously – will be completely different. So you need to do your best to predict what your business environment will look like, and recognize that your predictions will likely be imperfect and will need to be revisited and revised frequently.
What Can You Do Now?
This is the question that’s been coming up almost daily when we speak with our customers, clients, and members. Even as we’ve had time to digest the implications of shelter-at-home orders, business closures, and lost revenue, the uncertainty of the pandemic – and its impact on people’s lives and on the economy – make it hard to know what to do next.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do.
Connect with Your Market – Reach out to your customers, clients, and members, and let them know you’re there to help in any way you can. Try to provide some kind of community for them to connect with you and with their peers – for most people, working at home and the isolation it brings, present serious challenges.
Reinvent the Way You Market – While dealing with the unknown is unsettling at best, the situation we’re in right now presents many new and unique opportunities. Take the time to understand them and see if you can identify new ways to reach new markets, deliver new products and services, and deliver them in new ways.
Retool Your Business – Many people, unfortunately, have had a “deer in the headlights” reaction to the current situation, and have chosen to simply retreat and do nothing. Clearly, this is an understandable reaction, but it completely ignores the fact that now is the time to take action. Unexpected downtime can be an incredible opportunity to tackle projects you were simply too busy to get to before. As an example, we’re beginning work on a new website and marketing system for one of our clients whose business has essentially been shut down by the pandemic. He recognizes that when things “open up” again in his industry, he needs to be the only logical option for his clients to select.
By Ron Rosenberg, Through the lens