08 May COVID-19: Week 8 Insights
Friends, clients, partners, and fellow community leaders,
As we officially approach the two-month mark since COVID-19 dramatically changed the landscape for most businesses in Canada, we want to again acknowledge the relentless efforts of business owners, decision makers, and community leaders. In tribute, we lead this issue with one of our favourite historical quotes. Remember that you are indeed in the arena; making mistakes, struggling, succeeding, and daring greatly…and that is all that matters.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Some observations and advice from Week 8:
- Recognize the difference between marketing and sales. We believe focus is critical to long-term business success. An organization should not try to be all things to all people and instead, should choose to narrow its target audience to the greatest degree possible. Increased focus results in stronger market positioning, elevating the customer’s connection with you, and therefore the ability to command a premium for your products or services. COVID-19 has forced many organizations to rethink their target market or look to diversify. Here, we recommend paying attention to the difference between marketing and sales. Despite COVID-19, we encourage continued focus in your marketing efforts. You only have one website, one social media presence, one store front. These marketing tools and your corporate messages should all remain focused on your ideal target audience. However, COVID-19 may require you to loosen your sales filter temporarily and accept business from customers that do not align with your focus. In the short-term, you can always sell to a broader audience through individualized sales efforts, but you should maintain your organization’s long-term focus in your marketing efforts.
- Take note of what is better. Despite the long list of challenges presented by COVID-19, there are likely some things about the way your organization is now operating that are better. Make note of them. As COVID-19 eventually fades from view, it will be easy to forget the measures we took during the crisis that were improvements over the way we used to operate. By consciously writing them down now you will be able to revisit them before the inevitable recency bias creeps in and diminishes the value you saw back in the moment. A useful exercise would be to ask your entire team to individually identify 2-3 things that are better in your organization today. Not only will the list itself be of value, but the exercise will encourage your team to adopt a more positive, grateful mindset.
- Take care of yourself. The longer COVID-19 goes on, the more likely we are to burn out. We offer a not-so-gentle reminder to avoid trying to play the hero. You need to put your own oxygen mask on first and practice self care. How many days off have you taken in the past two months? Are you getting regular exercise? Has your screen time risen dramatically? Please make sure to take steps to keep yourself sharp; mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is a long game and you need to be fit and regularly ask for help if you are to make it to the end.
Our insights from Weeks 1 to 7, along with other valuable resources, can be found here:
If you are in need of support, advice, or resources that can help you navigate the current business environments, please check out the wide range of FREE offerings available through Incite and the other partners involved in www.compasscollective.ca. The Compass Collective is an initiative of like-minded local professional service firms working together to bring complimentary advice and support to businesses in need.
As leaders, remember that this is your time to shine. Be there for your family, your friends, your teams, your clients, and your community. It may be difficult during these times to bring our best selves forward each day, but it is most certainly worth it.
Keep going and just do your best.