Keep Calm And Carry On.
Uncertainty is bad for business. Very bad for business. Sales projections, budgeting, staffing, purchasing, short-term and long-term reinvestment all depend on having as much knowledge and understanding of your industry, audience, market demand and competition as possible. Outside factors are always involved, but often with the least amount of impact. That is, until a national emergency changes everything.
The current COVID-19 health crisis is impacting everyone in Oklahoma, the United States and most of the world. Our doctors, nurses and medical professionals are doing an amazing job of taking this challenge head-on. Local, state and Federal officials are doing what they think is best to gain control of the situation. We can debate their effectiveness, but that’s a whole separate issue. The public is concerned. Leadership is demanded in a time like this.
There is no single “correct” way to deal with a viral infection like COVID-19. That’s why we have so much uncertainty as to if we all (collectively) are doing enough, in the right order to create as safe of a situation as possible. Do too little and the virus gets out of control. Do too much and we strangle businesses, churches, and non-profits to a point of no return. No one benefits from that.
So what can we, Oklahoma business owners and investors, do in an uncertain situation like this with no end date in sight? Adapt, keep calm and carry on (don't forget to wash your hands, stop touching your face).
If your business can operate with remote workers or other alternatives to a full in-house staff, please explore those options. Use technology and common sense to make the necessary changes to limit public interactions and speed up the “flatten the curve” period of COVID-19 management. If you can’t operate in that way, focus on healthy practices for your employees, guest and customers. There are numerous list of actions to take available on your preferred search engine. Be flexible. Your employees are also dealing with changes in their daily lives. Schools are closed, stores are running out of essential supplies and everyone is on edge. Remember, your people are your greatest asset.
When it comes to servicing consumers, the key is to adapt to what’s best for them - not what’s best for you / your business. If your industry is affected by closure, quarantine or other restrictions you cannot keep an “as usual” approach for day-to-day operations. Change your system to what works best in this altered scenario. Create new partnerships, offer in-home or curbside delivery, change business hours if needed, offer discounts or credits to those also impacted, etc.
Put people first, so your business can survive this period of uncertainty. If the interruption to your cash-flow doesn’t kill your business, you can develop long-term relationships and public goodwill that will benefit you far into the future. These are only a few of the hundreds of ways your business can adapt to this uncertain time. Don’t panic, don’t give up and don’t let temporary uncertainty, although completely out of your control for a yet-to-be-determined time period, cripple or kill your business.
Keep Calm And Carry On. Reach out to Oklahoma Venture Forum members for assistance in adapting your business strategy, execution or management during the COVID-19 crisis. After all, we’re in this together and stronger when we collaborate.
Wash your hands, stay home if you don’t feel well and use your common sense. Lead by example. We’ve endured much worse threats many, many times before. The one thing you can be certain of is the good nature of Oklahomans during tough times.