Earlier this year Agency Nation wrote a LinkedIn post For Your Small Business Clients: 8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Make Sure Your Business Stays Afloat.
I am of the belief that now is the time for us stop thinking in crisis mode and start working on the future and setting ourselves, and our businesses up for success. This is my response.
In his monthly column for Insurance Nerds, Richmond-based employee engagement and internal brand communications expert Ben Baker shares his insights into how to communicate value effectively, so people want to listen and engage. In the end, it’s about creating influence through trust.
NOW is the time to stop thinking short term! Start looking at where you are going as a company instead of trying to figure out how you are going to get back to where you have been.
Through COVID-19 a majority of businesses have held their businesses together with bandaides and duct tape, hoping that things would quickly go “back to normal.” I am here to tell you that we are not going back to the way things were, and the quicker every leader of every business can accept this fact and start looking forward, the more successful you will be moving forward.
To prepare yourself for the future, the first thing you need to think about is that customer experience, both inside and outside of your company, is what is going to enable you to develop trust and trust is the lifeblood of your company.
Here are things you need to start doing, or start doing better today in order to thrive long-term.
Stop hard selling and actively listen to your customers. Find out what their hopes, wants, fears and passions are right now. Find out how you can help them through this, whether you make money short term or not.
Talk to your employees. Find out what challenges they are having and how you can make their lives better in the short and long term.
Start working on your “back to business” plan NOW. Now is the time you need to be planning for the future. Waiting until you can have all employees back into your business is too late. You will already be at least four months behind everyone who is planning today.
Take the time to assess what is working now and what is not. What policies, procedures, and processes are making you better and which are inefficient and why? If it does not make sense, figure out NOW what you can do to make it better. NOTE: involve your staff, they will have some amazing insights.
Talk to your staff about the future. Ask them their opinions about priorities, next steps and different directions, based upon what they are hearing from friends, neighbors, clients, etc. Use their expertise and insights, that is what you hired them for.
Assess your marketing materials. This includes printed pieces, websites, social media, radio or tv ads, promotional marketing and trade show materials. Are they still relevant? Do they tell the story you want to tell moving forward and do they tell a clear and concise story of who you are, what you do, why you do it, who you do it for and why those people should care?
Modify your brand story. It cannot be all about COVID-19, but this is a watershed moment. You need to be able to clearly define how this has changed your business, what you have learned, what you have changed because of it and how you are using this information to be a better partner for your employees, vendors and clients moving forward.
RE-onboard every single employee. Per your brand story above. If your employees do not understand the changes within your organization, the fundamental shifts and how it affects them, how will they trust you are headed in the right direction? NOTE: If your clients do not understand the changes that have happened and how it makes you a better company, your clients never will.
In short, now is the time to be re-assessing your business. What is working, what is not and figuring out first of all how to change it and most importantly, how to communicate that change in ways that build trust and loyalty both inside and outside your company. Wishing everyone health, safety and success.
Ben Baker wants to help you engage, retain, and grow your most valuable asset…your employees. He provides workshops and consulting to enable staff to understand, codify, and communicate their value effectively internally and externally and Retain Employees Through Leadership. The author of Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours and the host of the iHeart Radio syndicated YourLIVINGBrand.live show, he writes extensively on brand and communication strategy.
Ben’s complimentary online course, Know – Like – Trust: The Basis to Start Any Relationship, is now available. Click here to access the course.