These are uncertain times. Our daily life has suddenly changed and in a dramatic fashion. One certainty lies before us. Rough times are ahead. Remember, smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors. Economic downturns are part of the natural cycle of business and if you take time to prepare, your business will not only survive – it can flourish.
Sailing through an economic storm is an endurance test. You will need to manage your business through big waves and battle crew fatigue. People often get nervous and become distracted when business slows down. Distractions can cause errors or reduce quality output. You can combat this by being open with with your employees. Let them know what you anticipate without painting a bleak picture, Operations should never be slow in the traditional sense. Make housekeeping a priority during downtime. Every business can use a good spring cleaning and busy employees with a purpose are usually happier.
Look for opportunities amid the crisis. This is the perfect time to solidify relationships with existing clients. Be sure that the lines of communication are open between you and your valued clients. Listen for their pain points and think out of the box. You may find a means to service their needs in ways that had not been considered before.
For over 70-years our business has focused on serving our customers with deliberate and precise execution combined with flexibility to support our clients in multiple ways. Simply translated, agility and nimbleness are essential. The downturn environment is constantly changing, which means your clients needs are in a state of flux. Make sure your business can manage the ebb and flow of needs to solidify partnerships with your clients and vendors.
Published by North Sails, an international sail maker, I recently read a blog that outlined how to safely sail through a storm while at sea. The author wrote a conclusion that mirrors exactly what a business should do during an economic storm.
“Although everyone will remember it differently years later, a long, wet, cold sail through a storm can be miserable. As skipper, you need to make the best of it: watch over your crew, offer relief or help to those who need it, and speak a few words of encouragement to all. “This is miserable, but it will end.”
Take the time to marvel at the forces of nature, and at your ability to carry on in the midst of the storm. Few people get to experience the full fury of a storm. It may not be pleasant, but it is memorable.”