Let’s challenge your assumptions about operating models, products or services, and what your COVID business transformation involves.
Seemingly overnight the business landscape changed. Businesses are closing, some for the short-term, and some … forever. It would be easy to stay stuck, stick to your old business process. To remain in a place of constant uncertainty and fear about the future.
This podcast episode is intended to help you find and consider another way. Clear the decks and challenge the assumptions about your operating models, products or services, and what your business transformation involves.
Prefer to watch? Here’s COVID-19 Causes Overnight Paradigm Shift & Business Transformation
Time to Start Your Transformation Project
Now is the time for innovation, strategic goals, and managing customer expectations. This podcast episode will help you lead and navigate today, and the long-term as well.
I’ll be holding free webinars to guide business owners through a successful transformation. We’ll talk about organizational transformations (like managing a remote team) as well as digital transformation (to help you revolutionize how to deliver services).
Ready to Look at Your People & Processes?
Transcript: COVID-19 Causes Paradigm Shift & Business Transformation
One of the biggest things about the coronavirus and COVID-19 is, it pretty much took everything that we were doing and hit the pause button.
It changed the playing field, basically overnight.
Now it’s important to acknowledge that in some countries they are way ahead of where we are here in the United States where I’m recording this and so what we’re experiencing today in the United States is much different from what somebody is experiencing in say South Korea who is six weeks ahead of us.
But from a business perspective, everything changed overnight and it was tremendously disempowering and scary and difficult.
Weathering the Storm of Change and Our Own Realities
Many of us saw this illness progressing around the world and at the same time, it was happening slowly and quickly in a way that we didn’t really know how to shift on our businesses on a dime.
And then, as business leaders, we also have our lives. We’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do with our lives and how we are going to adjust what we’re doing in such a way that we can still go about our daily things and have food and shelter and all kinds of stuff.
Not to mention customer satisfaction.
And at the same time, we’ve got this business to run, which is helping us have the food and the shelter and all of the things.
So it put everything into a big jumble.
I know that here in Portland there is a tremendous business community and there are, of course, all of our businesses and all of our colleagues here to help us through.
And at the same time when we’re all stuck and we’re all focused and thinking about all of the things that are going wrong, sometimes it makes it a lot harder for us to move forward and see the beauty of this new playing field that we’re in.
And that’s not to make light of, I’ve already seen businesses are closed not only due to the virus, but because they’re not going to make it by having this work interruption. Their business model can’t take it.
Get Your Mind Right So You Can Explore Types of Business Transformation
So nothing is harder than seeing somebody’s dream evaporate overnight because the landscape has changed and certainly this disempowering feeling, we don’t want that to go on forever.
So one of the things that I wanted to talk about today on this week’s podcast is how we can begin to elevate ourselves and get ourselves a little bit out of the muck that we have been in around our businesses and maybe in our personal lives.
And everywhere because this is, like I said, it’s a whole new world and we don’t know how long globally we will be navigating coronavirus, COVID-19 and having some of these stoppages. In services that we can deliver, I would hope for a lot of people it’s actually changing how you deliver services and that you won’t be stopping delivering services altogether.
Done is Better than Perfect; Timelines Have Shifted
So I am late getting the podcast out. Typically this is a Tuesday show. I am recording this on Thursday. Let’s see what is today? Is today the 18th or the 19th? It’s the 19th, Thursday the 19th of March, 2020.
I’ll be recording it and then just getting it out there, getting a video out and a podcast recording out at the same time.
So I am behind I guess you could say, but I’m also right on time. And the reason I’m saying that is because as I had shared a couple of weeks ago on an earlier show, I don’t record these ahead of time because I like to be current in what I am talking about.
And I guess that that was maybe knowing somehow that this moment would pay off, which is to say I haven’t released a podcast that was ill-timed or tone-deaf to what is going on in the world.
And I’m sharing with you how I’m feeling right now and what’s going on with me because I very much feel anybody who listens to the show is in it with me and they’re experiencing it with me.
So I thought I would share a little bit about what’s been going on I guess behind the scenes in my own business and in my own world because I want to help other people maybe make some adjustments and get back into alignment with the work that they do and how they do it.
So one of the reasons that I haven’t recorded is because I was, as I’ve said earlier, I was putting on my own oxygen mask.
I was preparing my household, adjusting to working at home again. I have been working out of a coworking space. All bets were off with the coworking space in this new work environment.
Put Your Oxygen Mask On First
I’m in Portland, Oregon, which certainly is not experiencing the same things as Seattle, which is three hours to the North or even San Francisco, which by car is about 12 hours away.
So we’re sandwiched in the middle of two places that have had some pretty serious numbers of people getting sick and they’re locking people down in a much different way.
Now that said, we do feel some things might be imminently changing here in Portland and so we’ve been making adjustments of our own. For example, my husband is working from home.
My dog is thrilled because everybody’s home for once. We are navigating what it’s like to have two people working from home right now as many people do.
Unlike other people, we don’t have children. So in some ways, it makes it easier and in other ways, it just presents different challenges.
But we’ve had a lot more family time, which is so good and a lot more time together walking Booker, our dog, and a lot more time preparing a household for what could be a homestay for an extended period of time.
At this point, we are able to leave our property and take care of the things that we need to take care of. But that said, we don’t know how long that situation is going to carry on for us, like many other people.
And all of that to say that this whole experience of preparing for the unknown. It can be really scary and it can be really hard. And Jon and I (Jon’s my husband) we weather it may be a little bit differently than other people because we were in the Peace Corps, so we spent, I don’t know how many months preparing for two years of the unknown.
So in a way when things like this happen, we have a body of experience to lean on that says, okay all bets are off.
Things have really changed, what are we going to do now? Because we lived someplace that didn’t have TV, didn’t have a supermarket, didn’t have a lot of the creature comforts that we… Didn’t have central heat.
So all of the creature comforts that many people in the United States take for granted, we lived without for two years.
So when things like this happen, we get all MacGyver and we’re trying to figure out how to navigate this new world.
And I forget sometimes that my experiences are different than how other people are going to navigate this.
Now is a Time for Grace
So one of the first things I’d like to offer is that we share a little bit more grace with each other.
That we show as much grace as we can, that we keep ourselves safe and that we share kindness and a loving hand to other people who are in need.
And that’s to say that in the small business world, we can all continue to help and support each other in all of the things that we do.
And we can help further each other’s businesses and help make things as right and as good as we can right now knowing that the landscape has changed. So I took care of my own housework and all of that, much like everybody else did.
And then I was like, okay so what is going to happen with my business now?
And one of the things that I’m really fortunate in is that I have so many things that I do online. I have a podcast that goes out online. I meet with my clients on video most of the time. I have a lot of clients who are not here in Portland, Oregon.
Disrupt the Interruption
So there’s not a lot of interruption. I do have my digital marketing contract with Prosper Portland and those meetings do take place one-on-one in person.
So now we’re talking about possibly doing some online classes for that group because none of us are able to meet with people one-on-one and provide that direct hands-on support.
So like many other people, there’s a revenue stream that is decreasing or changing. But I have been fortunate in that I haven’t lost all revenue streams.
So after I weathered that and considered I’m well positioned for this digital world, I was also polling people on Facebook and Twitter and asking around, how has your business changed?
What difficulties have you found?
And many of the difficulties that people are experiencing right now are based on when the whole world, when the whole landscape changes, it’s like someone has upset your applecart and you’re slowly picking up apple by apple and putting it all back. It’s really hard to know how the new pieces fit together given the landscape.
And so a lot of people are saying, “Well I’ve lost all of my income, I’ve lost all of my clients are falling away one at a time.”
And I think that when we hear these stories, we need to do what we can to support small businesses. If people are offering up gift certificates for services that will take place sometime in the future.
It behooves us to support the restaurants and direct service providers like massage therapists, chiropractors, all of those kinds of people and take them up on these offers because we are helping to support our fellow business owners and helping them get through this difficult time.
And also when you’re thinking about your own business, it’s important to rethink how you deliver services. Consider your processing technology. How can you deliver the same services online or digitally?
Manage Customer Expectations and Deliver Digitally
We are now very much fast-forwarding light speed ahead to a time when if you are positioned to do any sort of digital services, you’re well-positioned in this new world and it might be shifting things in the longterm down this digital world anyway.
But at least for right now, while people are unable to be within six feet of each other in this world, the more things that you can do digitally, it seems like the better. Now don’t mistake that for me saying that you’re better off automating everything and letting the machines take over. That’s not what I’m saying at all.
What I’m saying is it’s really good to rethink the assumptions that you’ve made about how you deliver your services. Explore opportunities for a digital transformation.
If you’re only delivering services one-on-one and in-person, now is the time to really consider, can I deliver these services in a different way? Is there another way that I can continue to generate revenue in my business that will help me stay afloat in the coming months?
What we’ve seen for some restaurants is that they are increasing everything that they’re offering in terms of takeout.
In Portland, there are restaurants that never did take out before, that are now offering takeout because it seems to make a lot of sense to deliver in that way. And I think that there are, at least in among the people that I’ve talked to, I think that there is an increased openness to how you can deliver services differently.
It’s Time To Challenge Our Assumptions About What is Possible
And if you are feeling stuck and you’re feeling I can’t be selling to people right now, it’s such a difficult time for everyone and I don’t really know how to offer my services or my services aren’t really relevant because I don’t know anything about coronavirus and I don’t know how to help people.
I want to challenge that assumption for you really quickly.
Because if you started your business, you have a service that is wanted and needed by the people that you serve.
And the biggest and the best thing that you can do for people right now is to find a way to continue to offer that service and find a way to challenge your own mind, to challenge those thoughts that are blocking you from seeing the ways that you can continue to serve and be agile in the market when this marketplace has shifted in such a dramatic way.
Now I’m not encouraging you to be super salesy and go down to where you feel out of alignment and really icky about something.
What I’m saying though is people still need things and when the freak out clears, meaning when people start to realize that they’re in this new rhythm of a world when that starts to happen, then people will be coming back to you and they will want you to provide the services that you’ve naturally provided to them.
Turn Down the Social Media Noise
So one of the best things that you can do is, get off of social media all the time.
If you are reading the news or reading everybody’s social media posts and it’s getting you more and more and more anxious. One of the best things that you can do is decrease that, put that noise down.
Decrease that so that you are clearing the space. You’re setting the stage for what it is that you can do. One of the other things that you can do is limit the time that you’re spending on the news.
Make it so that you are not focused on things that you can’t change all the time. See, the things that will help you and will help your business in this new world is reducing the noise so that you can begin to innovate.
You can begin to challenge all of these assumptions that you’ve made about your business all this time and how you quote have to do business.
I want you to start challenging all of those assumptions and begin to look at things a little bit differently.
And then something will open up. But it might take some time.
Quiet Your Mind and the Solutions will Come
And one of the things that we’ve talked about so much on this show is the need for deep work. Spending your time in quiet and clearing out all of the noise so that you can be more productive so that you can serve people a little bit better.
I would say that now more than ever is the time to practice a lot of self-care. Spend a lot of time in quiet if you can. Now if you have kids or puppies and all of that, that’s not to say like yeah you got to kick all the kids out or anything like that.
No, it’s to say spend time in places that are less likely to get you anxious and upset.
So that means spending less time worrying about things like the news and things that you can’t change and clearing out some space and allowing you to really experience this new world, not worry about what other people think and then make sure that you clear out some space to think about your business as well because we’re still in a place where we have to tend to our business.
And if you are in a financial crunch, it’s really important to quiet your mind from as much of that as possible so that you can begin to get creative about what it is that you might be able to serve people with. One example of what’s going on out there, I think a lot of people have probably seen this is, the distillery that is making hand sanitizer.
So they have all the same products, all of it and then they’re like, okay well, we can make this. This is a need and we can make it.
So these are the types of things that I want to encourage you to begin to innovate and begin to work through. This is the type of work that I do with my clients on a much deeper level.
Take Advantage of Helpful Free Resources
In fact, I am offering a webinar, a free webinar to people so that they can build a lot more business resilience. You can join my Meetup Group and that will help you if you want to register and you can find some of these different events that I’m starting to do online.
It’s one of the ways that I’m giving back and doing things a little bit differently, is offering an incredible value to people to really help people get out of their own way and innovate their business.
And it’s all based on all of the modeling and the research that I’ve done (Harvard Business Review, anyone?) and the practical work that I did as a project manager.
The best thing about being a project manager and about helping businesses solve problems is I get to play the what-if game all the time.
And it’s super fun. It’s super fun to spend some time thinking about all of the different things that might happen. Now that said, nobody really predicted something like the coronavirus because it’s not something that many of us have ever lived through before.
But there are a lot of different ways to get something done.
And so what I want to encourage you to do is whatever it takes to get you to shift your thinking and to shake your snow globe in a positive way so that you’re not just thinking about whether or not you’re going to get sick and whether your business is going to have to close.
Self-Care will Help You Create a Successful Transformation Plan
One of the best things you can do is take care of yourself and give yourself some time to really consider and think things through because you’re important and you have services to share and things to give to people.
It’s just really hard right now because everything just seems really confusing right now.
So I want to encourage you to spend some time and really consider what it is that you offer and how you can deliver that and continue delivering that to people because we need you. And that’s all that I really have to share right now.
So have a good week and I’ll talk to you next week and stay safe and I love you.
Hi! I’m Jen! I have over 25 years of training, teaching, and executive experience in leadership, strategic project planning, and digital marketing. Today, I am the founder of Women Conquer Business, a boutique consulting firm dedicated to helping women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community build sustainable businesses. I’m a frequent guest speaker and trainer. Get access to my free business growth accelerator and hang out with me on my weekly women in business podcast, Women Conquer Business.