The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to learn and adapt quickly. In what will surely be a century defining moment, these changes are impacting every aspect of “normal” life. This has allowed us to learn new things about ourselves, reminded us of the stuff we haven’t always made time for, and has given us the chance to focus on issues we often neglect.
I can summarize my experience like this ----
New: Routine matters. The first 2 weeks of working from home were a struggle. I had to develop ways to stay focused and productive.
Refresher: Cooking from home and playing board games are more enjoyable than I remembered (even the nearly 5-hour round of Monopoly!).
Neglected: Never stop learning. I have used some downtime to refresh and learn new skills through many webinars and online courses that hopefully will make me and my firm better at what we do.
One area where we are all still learning to adapt is how we interact with others. For those who succeed or survive by getting in front of other people, it is especially important to overcome this challenge.
With social distancing, more competition fighting for screen time, and people less focused on what they deem as non-essential in their life, it’s becoming harder to interact with your desired audience if you don’t already have a defined relationship with them.
If you are trying to raise brand awareness, how do you get people to pay attention to and purchase your product or service when those people don’t want to leave home and aren’t buying as they have in the past?
If your industry is facing a policy challenge, how do you get in front of your elected leaders when most government buildings are closed, and those leaders are already being inundated with calls and messages from others impacted by the virus?
If you’re a candidate for public office, how do you inspire voters to cast their ballot for you when you or your volunteers can’t speak to them directly?
The longer we are all home, the more our firm receives these types of questions. A lot of our advice revolves around the following four points.
Stay calm – this too shall pass. Eventually, everyone will return to their routine. If you aren’t ready to act when that happens, you will be left behind. If you fall into the traps of frustration, despair, or panic, not only will you miss an opportunity when things open back up, but you will be unable to adjust to current challenges.
Remain focused on your plan. Before we knew what “lockdown orders” were, you had a plan that defined your goals and laid out the steps needed to achieve them. Now is not the time to get off track. While the path/actions/timelines may need to be tweaked, you can’t lose sight of what you want to accomplish. Spend some time adjusting but stay focused on reaching your goals.
Utilize digital and phones. Both marketing and research are still important. If you can’t reach your audience in person, try connecting through social media or digital ads. If you need to test opinions, right now is a great time to do so. With people at home, there has been a higher response rate to phone surveys. People are eager to talk right now. If you utilize digital and phones, make sure you keep it relevant and focused on what others are needing. Empathy goes a long way.
Don’t be shy about asking for help. This is a trying time for lots of people, and there is nothing wrong with seeking advice, counsel, or help from others. Yes, some help may cost. But that expense may be the difference in making money or solving an issue versus going under from lack of revenue or a problem that continues to get worse.
Covid-19 may have put a stop to business as usual, but it doesn’t have to stop your business. If we can be a resource, don’t hesitate to contact us – even if you’re not a current client. I started JCD Consulting with the mission to help others succeed at their goals, so even if we can serve as a sounding board for you to bounce ideas off of, we look forward to hearing from you.