Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, the US economy has been hit in a way never seen before. More than 45 million people have filed for unemployment over 14 weeks and the overall unemployment rate has risen to its highest ever level on record; it was at 14.7% in April and 13.3% in May.
With nearly a quarter of the American workforce on unemployment, and millions more dealing with lost contracts, shortened hours, and an unsure future, now is the time to build a transition plan. There will be no going back to “normal” as businesses reopen around the country. From remote work to shifting product offerings, and reduced capacity in brick-and-mortar businesses, almost everyone is facing the same challenges — how do you open, stay open, and thrive in a fundamentally different economy?
On June 25th, IAW is partnering with Lynn Howard, Executive Coach and International Speaker, to discuss what the new normal means for your business and your career, and how to build a transition plan that will guide you through the next several months or years.
What Does Having a Transition Plan Mean?
Nothing is as it was in February. A quick trip to the grocery store shows that — where plexiglass barriers, mask-wearing produce workers and painted lines on the floor aim to keep shoppers compliant with social distancing guidelines. To stay operational, almost every business must make the same kinds of decisions. Gym owners have shifted to a heavy focus on online classes. Music teachers are leveraging Zoom to help students stay caught up. Most businesses have embraced remote meetings to avoid in-person contact.
The challenge many face right now is the disparity between before and after. Revenue from online-only services may not match your pre-pandemic baseline. But sometimes it’s more about being present and providing value to your customers — nurturing and engaging with potential customers and current customers so that you’re well positioned when we start to shift closer to what normal used to be.
In Lynn’s webinar, she’ll discuss four key areas to measure as you evaluate your current position, the changes you’ve already made as part of the transition, and what you can do moving forward.
- Image – What is the image you want to portray? How do you show up online, what do you want people to see when they engage with your brand, and how has this changed from pre- to post-pandemic?
- Target Market – Who is your audience right now, and, most importantly, has this changed at all with the onset of the pandemic? How you communicate and engage with these people will likely have changed — are you responding to that change?
- Your Plan – What will your plan look like over the next several months? Keep in mind that the need to pivot will remain as the risk of future closures due to a second wave or other issues arises.
- Next Steps – What about right now? What actions should you take right now? In 30 days? In 60 days?
Lynn will guide participants through all four of these steps with live brainstorming for those in the room to help them build transition plans for their own businesses.
Taking Stock of Your Current Situation
Several months in, you’ve likely already pivoted your business to respond to current conditions. Whether it’s a shift to a more remote business model, a shift to target new customers based on the industries that are still performing well, or emergency actions to protect and support your business as revenue drops off, you’ve likely taken several actions.
Before building a plan for what to do next, it’s important to understand why you’ve made the changes you made, and what you are pivoting towards. It’s easy to take immediate action when a problem arises to keep yourself afloat, but to stay open and successful in the long term, those actions should be part of a larger overall strategy.
Some key areas to keep in mind that Lynn will cover in the webinar include:
- How You Present Yourself – Consider the role of social media in presenting yourself and your brand to the public. How does your public perception differ from your own? Does this need to change in light of recent developments?
- Overcoming the Perfection Trap – There’s a very real risk of freezing up and avoiding change for fear of not getting it just right. Despite those fears, it’s more important than ever to continuously move forward. No one has a perfect blueprint right now — we’re in unprecedented waters — but by constantly taking action, you’ll be in a better position than most.
- Presenting Yourself in a New Light – Your marketing message and branding may not make sense in the current economic and social climate. Everything has changed, after all. Now is the time to evaluate how your business appears and to make relevant changes that subsequently reflect the new normal.
When you know your business and are prepared for the future, you’ll have a transition plan in place that will guide you through the next few months. Instead of scrambling for a response the next time a client cuts spending or new restrictions are implemented by your state, you’ll be able to simply reference your plan and adjust accordingly.
In the June 25th webinar, Lynn will guide you through building such a plan, leveraging tools like SWOT analysis to better understand the potential opportunities that your business has right now, evaluating your brand in today’s online landscape, and creating a tactical plan to start implementing right away.
Join us on June 25th to learn more and to ensure that you’re ready for whatever the next year brings our way.