By Andrew Chermark
In times of change, the most agile companies come out ahead. How do you make sure you are one of these companies?
The question you must ask yourself is not “How will we do what we’re doing?” but “How will we do what we’re doing in a different world?”
Remember, change creates opportunities. I am using this pause in my normal business routine as we abide by stay-at-home orders to update my website and create a new logo. My staff is all working remote, and I am keeping everyone on the payroll.
I created my company from the ground up the old-fashioned way: by cold calling and going to trade shows. Here are my top ten tips to help keep your business running while you navigate these unprecedented times.
Turn to Your Employees
Look to your teams for suggestions on how you can streamline your operations. Ask questions such as: What parts of the workflow need to be adjusted? How many people do we really need on the job site at the same time? What is keeping you up at night? What do you see in the future? How can we become even more successful as a team?
Right now, organizations need to prioritize people over projects and profit. This is new territory for everyone, but it will pass. While this current situation will not last forever, your employees will remember how you made them feel. Communication is essential, but even more important is listening. Have an open-door policy when it comes to employee feedback.
We need technology now more than ever to help keep us connected and keep our businesses running. This could be an excellent time to try that new solution or app you have been considering. New technologies can not only help you get through this current situation but can help you improve collaboration and productivity once work returns to a more normal state. Some are already using this downtime to implement new technology and processes, including SmartFleet products that are useful to fleets in reducing fuel consumption, idling, improved safety, and lowering insurance costs. In this unprecedented time, this is all of the utmost importance. GPS fleet tracking technology combines the powerful features and cost efficiencies of global positioning systems (GPS) and web-based technology.
Make a Game Plan
With so much going on, it can be easy to put off long term planning to get through the day-to-day. That’s a mistake. Create a solid plan that will navigate your company through unexpected circumstances and tough economic times.
While it is essential to have a plan, it’s just as important to be flexible. This is a developing and unprecedented time, and projects can be delayed at any time. While you will not be able to plan for every situation, lay out some options now that will help you think clearly and act quickly when a problem arises.
Provide Great Service
Many businesses forget that providing excellent customer service is important. If you provide better service for your customers, they’ll be more inclined to come to you the next time they need something instead of going to your competition.
Remember, successful business owners are resilient. It is the ability to bounce back from the inevitable setbacks and disappointments that you will experience virtually every single day as an entrepreneur.
Tap into Your Network
Being a business owner can be an isolating experience at times. As a result, it is recommended that you stay networked in the larger community. Join an association. Take part in business networking organizations.
We Are in This Together
As we all navigate this new normal, questions will arise. While these are trying times, it is amazing to watch the industry come together for the good of the community. Remember, we are resilient, and together, we will get through this.
Nothing Replaces Hard Work
Mark Cuban says, “Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you.” If you are building a business that will feed your kids, secure your family’s financial future, help you travel the world, you’ve got to work hard and stay focused. There are no shortcuts.
Turn Setback into Successes
No matter how good a business owner you are, you will experience setbacks along the way. If you take these as signs of failure or you give up or lose your confidence, you will never be as successful as you can be. Reframe and view these as signs that you need to make small tweaks or changes. When you see these setbacks as opportunities rather than problems, you will continue moving in the right direction.
Andrew Chermark, a self-made entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Brielle, NJ-based Smart Fleet, a GPS fleet tracking and management system company. He has been an entrepreneur and fleet management consultant selling GPS software since 1999. Under Andrew’s leadership, Smart Fleet has grown from a small regional-based operation to a nationwide organization that is found in more than 6,000 vehicles in 43 states and Canada.