The entrepreneurs’ journey is always unpredictable, even in ideal market conditions. We as business owners are not just trying to build a profitable enterprise; we are stewards for organizations that provide jobs for people, contributors to our communities, and we are the economic engine of America.
Beginning in late February, our nation reeled from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses were sent scrambling, trying to process fast-changing information, new state mandates regarding business operations, and develop a strategy forward for survival.
Our company, 4Patriots, is a leader in both the survival and health markets. The possibility of an unexpected crisis has always been on our radar, and the need for preparation has been our mantra for years. Many of the practices we adopted early have helped us to pivot and adapt to a “new normal” that has blindsided so many other businesses.
Here, I’d like to offer some guiding principles on how your business can still achieve success amidst this ongoing national emergency.
Nimbleness: Understand that having a nimble and adaptive mindset will help you and your leadership teams make decisions with relative speed and efficacy. Being flexible in your approach, but steadfast in your overarching goals will help you navigate ever-changing waters.
Embrace remote working: Many businesses that were lukewarm about employees working from home have changed their tune… because they had no choice. Social distancing has required that companies that can function with a remote workforce do so for the foreseeable future. In the end, it’s a smart move – to cut costs, embrace modern working sensibilities, and to protect the health of every team member while we ride out the worst of this pandemic.
Transparency: This includes communicating important updates with all your employees with candor and regularity. This can be a Zoom call or an email to save time, depending on resources, the size of your organization, and objectives. However, the importance of being forthright about changing market conditions and internal variables with the people entrusted to help operate your business cannot be overstated.
Preparedness: One of the many lessons the coronavirus crisis has rendered is the need for all businesses to have a preparedness mindset and plan for unexpected events. This could mean setting up a “crisis readiness taskforce” made up of some of your top performers in different areas of your business. Draft a plan and keep it updated with information that is applicable and timely.
Patience. It’s inevitable that during this tough time, some of your fellow entrepreneurs may have to fold their businesses, depending on their market and business model. There have been major losses and there will be more. We can all lend a helping hand where possible, but we need to keep our eyes on the prize: keeping our own businesses afloat to ensure we can continue to provide for our customers, our employees, and ourselves, while helping our communities and the economy at large.
It’s going to be a rough road ahead, at least for a while. Lessons learned will be painful, but necessary. But I believe American resilience and ingenuity will prevail, and we will come out of this pandemic stronger and with a renewed sense of gratitude and purpose.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville, TN.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your personal circumstances and/or your business.