The last six weeks have been very uncertain times collectively for business owners across the world. At TAB, we are here to support you, not just with the short-term issues you are facing right now, whether it is furloughing or protecting cashflow.
But we are ready to talk to business owners about what is next. What will life and business look like in the post-Covid world? How do you rise above the uncertainty and come out the other side?
We’ve gathered together some key information and resources that might help…
Assess Your Mindset: The Stockdale Paradox
Across the TAB community, there has been discussion about the Stockdale Paradox and how it can help business owners adopt a good mindset in our current climate. Here’s Andy Cecil, TAB Facilitator, sharing his thoughts on LinkedIn about it.
The paradox comes from the experiences of James Stockdale, a naval officer and Vietnam prisoner of war. Through his interactions with Stockdale, Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great dubbed a particular trait or mindset as The Stockdale Paradox.
It goes like this:
Stockdale had said that he needed ‘on the one hand unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, and at the same time, you need the discipline to confront the brutal facts as they actually are.’
Collins and his team noticed that the “leaders of the good to great companies embodied the same duality.”
So, we challenge you, are you embodying the Stockdale Paradox? Could this be the defining moment of your career? Listen to Jim Collins talking more about this in video below.
Supporting Your Staff for the Long-term
To rise above, it is imperative that you support your workforce during times of great stress. Try to show your staff the type of business leader you are. You want to focus on retention in times of crisis and avoid a toxic work environment.
In a recent blog on getting through this together, Ed Reid, Managing Director of TAB (UK) said this: “Sooner or later this will end – and the businesses that are still standing will be the ones who supported their teams, their clients and their suppliers. Businesses that seek short term profit from the current situation will neither be forgotten nor forgiven.”
Pivoting your business model – A TAB Member Story
Businesses who will emerge from this crisis stronger are also those who look the uncertainty in the eyes and tackle it head on. We have recently spoken to a TAB York member, Heather Copley, about her experience.
She explained that this is a “very unsettling time but also quite exciting” because she knows her business will “come out the other side, stronger and better but different.”
This attitude has certainly paid off. Here’s the story of Farmer Copley’s Farm Shop:
From a thriving Farm Shop, Café, function and events business, Farmer Copley’s lights went out on lock down. The Moo Café was closed, a number of people were furloughed and no more events could take place in their purpose built barn hall. Their Farm Shop however, was to become the lifeline of the business and their community. Heather, referred to a Queen Bee, together with her husband Robert Copley have been TAB members since 2016. They took the initiative to pivot their business entirely towards the Farm Shop. Some of the Moo Café team were transferred to support this expanding operation, people really stepped up and assisted the Copley’s to create a ‘Drive Thru’ Farm Shop to support the well managed floor space which observed social distancing.
Orders can be taken online through an order form which provide a time slot to collect on site, there are limited home deliveries for the vulnerable together with others being able to drive up, order on site and collect without leaving their car. Customers can also shop safely and responsibility in the shop if they choose to. Heather’s daily video update on Facebook has transformed lives in the area and provided farm produce as well as some home essentials in keeping with their ethos. The business is trading incredibly well, even at levels when all areas are fully operational and Heather firmly believes they have uncovered a model which could add another income stream to their growing family business driven by people’s behaviour and attitude towards preparing to eat and cook each week.
So what can other business owners learn from Heather’s experience? She summed it up herself in three steps:
- Plan it
- Don’t panic
Think about how your customers will change
As Heather said, businesses who will rise above are those who ‘plan it.’ The world is going to look very different after we come out of this. This includes the ways customers behave, live, and buy. Have you thought about the impact this might have on your business?
Technology company, Accenture sum it up well in their release on: COVID-19 – 5 new human truths that experiences need to address. It talks about ‘how organisations should respond to the never normal’.
Here are some of the experience implications they mention that you could start to think about in relation to your business:
- The need for trust – Customers are likely to be anxious in their buying decisions following such an unexpected strain on finances and lifestyle. How will you make sure your brand rebuilds trust quickly?
- Home working and living – Many people have started enjoying spending more time at home. Will this affect the experiences they choose to invest in and how may it affect the take up of your products and services?
- Shift to virtual experiences – The endless possibilities of what you can do online are now centre-stage so will customers’ attitudes change? – ‘if I can do it online, then I will.’ Think about what this might mean for your business and how you can adapt to cater this potential new demand.
Talk to other business owners like you
The final way you can help your business to rise above uncertainty is by talking to other people facing similar challenges. During this crisis, having a business coach or a peer advisory board will serve you and your business immeasurably. Read more about how business coaching can aid your personal development.
An advisory board will give you access to fellow business owners who can help you weather this storm. Business owners can learn from each other, even in unprecedented situations. The group serves as a community and provide experienced, objective listeners to help problem-solve.
Heather Copley said that the “TAB members on the board…need each other more than we’ve ever needed each other before.”
Mike Waldron, another TAB member said of his TAB Facilitator and his board:
“It’s fair to say that Elliot really cares about the businesses and people that he works with. This is further illustrated in the open mutually supportive culture he creates within the board, which also demonstrates the degree of insight and intelligence he brings to selecting a diverse yet complementary mix of business people. Elliot has pushed me to really figure out what it is we’re trying to achieve, and is the kind of strong (but kind!) figure that also holds me accountable and makes sure I follow through on the ideas and plans that we make.”
This is what TAB does and we haven’t changed – other than our boards being virtual.
Our business coaches and board facilitators are on hand if you need someone to talk to about your business decisions. There’s no obligation, find your local facilitator and get in touch.
Being prepared for what will come after the uncertainty will not only give you a competitive advantage but also the peace of mind that you will rise above.