As an entrepreneur, I know that uncertainly and risk comes with the job title. However, in this time of COVID-19 with businesses shutting down, school closures, self-quarantines, volatile markets, and teleworking I don’t think I have ever experienced or felt this level of uncertainty.
In trying to identify the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on my business I started to conclude that this is completely unchartered territory and therefore I just don’t know what to expect in the coming months. I think the answers from a “super-8 ball” are probably as good as any of our guesses as to how things are going to turn out. Given that I can’t really plan for what is to come, I can focus on what is in front of me by taking a look at my business to see where I can make internal improvements and shore up areas that I might have neglected during the busy times.
As with most things we face in life and business, this too will pass, and the only way through it is to keep moving forward. So, for the near term as we ride this wave of uncertainty I am going to focus internally on myself and business in hopes of being refreshed, upgraded, and ready to ramp back up to full-time craziness. I Hope my inward journey towards business improvement will help you keep your business on track during this trying time.
Identify Business Improvements
Any business owner will tell you that you can’t do everything well all of the time. I am finding that having this down time has been a great opportunity to look at my business and see what I could be doing better. It was scary to see all of the areas where I could be doing a little more;
- Clean your files. Organizing your files and keeping track of your past work products and intellectual capital always seems to be the last thing on our mind until we can’t find a file…cleaning up all of my project folders and organizing them so that everyone in the company can find what they need to be more successful at their job has proven to be a challenge, but I know it will be well worth the time and effort.
- Policies, Procedures, and Programs, oh my. This is a great time to review all company policies, procedures, and programs to make sure they are up to date and support the needs of all of your employees.
- Take a look at your Website. We all know that having a website is a necessity, but how often do we have to go back and make updates? I have been spending time reviewing each page, checking links, and making content updates to ensure that everything is up to date.
- Refresh your Profiles and Resume. Given that I don’t need to send my resume out that often I am terrible at keeping it up to date. Along with that I am usually behind in refreshing my LinkedIn profile, so I am forcing myself to sit down making sure that both my resume and online profiles reflect the work I have been doing.
Although we can’t leave the house to attend meetings it does not mean that we should stop connecting and networking with people. This is a great time to connect with new people through LinkedIn or other professional organizations. We are in a great time for business where we have many online tools such as Zoom and Google Hangouts for Meetings that can help facilitate connecting with other professionals’ face to face, well virtually face to face. If you are like me and a little old school, I like to meet with people in person to really make a connection and utilizing tools like these can help me continue to grow my business network.
Dream a Little
Like most entrepreneurs, my business strategy and goals are what keep me on track throughout the years, however, in this time of uncertainty it seems like COVID-19 hit pause on my strategy. With everything a little up in the air, I am using this time to dream a little.
- What legacy do I want my business to leave behind?
- What would I write my first business book on?
- How can my business make a greater impact in my field?
This is a great opportunity to take better care of yourself, both mentally and physically. While I am taking more time to exercise, I am really excited about having the extra time to read more business articles and watch webinars. Usually, I only have time to read on my phone while waiting for my son to complete his Taekwondo lesson, so it has been nice to research some topics of interest and read those articles as opposed to only what happened to pop up in my feed or inbox subscriptions. Additionally, there are so many opportunities for free webinars that I sign up for and get the “sorry we missed you email” with the link to watch anytime, but rarely have the time to sit down and click the link. Now, I am going to take the time to click on those links and learn something new.
I am hoping that in using this time wisely, my business and I will be refreshed and in better shape than we were before COVID-19 and I will be ready to hit the ground running.
Joy Papini, PhD, is the President of CIDIS LLC, a Management Consulting firm located in Reston, VA. For more information please visit www.CIDISConsulting.com.