By Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
A Four-Part Series: Part 1
What am I supposed to do next? I’m sure many of us have asked ourselves this question during this new season of unknowns. If you're not sure what your next steps should be, you've come to the right place!
To help you find answers to this question, I'm launching a four-part blog series covering topics to help you thrive, not just survive, during these uncertain times. These articles will contain interviews of my trusted business colleagues on subjects such as Strategy, Sales, Marketing and Digital Transformation. The goal is to give you ideas that you can implement right away!
The first topic is Strategy. I recently interviewed Dawn Zerbs of Dawn Celeste, a firm focused on Strategy Execution, to get some ideas on how we can best navigate the days ahead. And she's well qualified to speak on this subject! Her background includes a broad range of functions including: General Business and Leadership, Change Management, Communications, Strategy, Operations, Technology Implementations, Marketing and Business Development.
Dawn's been a great help to my business as an Advisory Board member, so it was a no-brainer to choose Dawn for this week’s topic.
Kathy: So, what do we do next in our businesses, to not only survive, but thrive?
Dawn: There are a number of things, but I think the best approach is to look at three areas or “buckets”.
1. Determine What Your Customers Need
If you provide event rentals and glassware for restaurants (not in high demand right now!), listen, ask and anticipate what customers need during this time. They likely have needs that are completely outside of your business. That’s okay. Don’t bother them, but also don’t underestimate the power of being there and listening. Who knows, you may find that you know someone else that can meet their needs!
2. Focus on Your Core Competencies
Ask yourself how you might pivot your core skills to meet a current need. A great example is what some schools are doing right now since they’re not in session—offering free meals to low-income families. Many manufacturers and other businesses are pivoting to meet immediate needs as well. Get creative!
Kathy: I just saw a great example of this on YouTube today. A meat and seafood food supplier who typically supplies 90% of their food to restaurants is now selling single-serving portions to the public. It just takes a little bit of ingenuity!
Kathy: So what’s the last bucket?
Dawn: This is an important one--
3. Think About Your Team
How you approach this depends on what you learn from your customers and a review of your competencies. If you can’t pivot, think about how you can continue to help your people.
And here’s a bonus tip--look at your options. Start by talking to a banker to see if you qualify for programs or go check out available assistance programs through the SBA. If you don’t, figure out ways you can support your employees with a good dose of compassion.
One thoughtful way to support your team is find a great recruiter. For instance, one recruiter, Brian Price with Morgan Hunter is giving away free advice during this time.
Kathy: I love your “three buckets.” Any closing advice?
Dawn: Yes. Take the long view. This interim will be really hard, but think what the business will look like after this if over, e.g., do we start another business, pivot, etc. It’s so important not to not make decisions while in panic-mode.
Finally, give yourself grace. Take it easy on yourself as you navigate this new territory.
Kathy: We could definitely all use a little extra grace!
Thanks for your time, Dawn. I think this information will resonate with a lot of people.
Dawn: My pleasure!
I hope this was helpful! Stay tuned for a new topic next week. I’ll be interviewing a special guest who will discuss Marketing Do’s and Don’ts during the “new normal” we’re living in.