The entrepreneurial lifestyle has never been a piece of cake. And now, it’s barely akin to a day-old iced doughnut.
Since the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and its sweeping economic, social, and health effects, business owners and CEOs are being bombarded with tons of challenges. They’re attempting to keep engagement and corporate culture high, as well as onboarding employees — many of whom they’ve only met online while conducting virtual interviews. At the same time, leaders are spending tons of time investigating organizational relief packages to keep access to capital from trickling to a drip. And they’re doing it all knowing that no one knows what’s around the bend.
If you’re facing the strange new world in the pilot’s seat of a startup or young company, congratulations. You’re getting a crash course in crisis management and executive decision-making unavailable at even the most rigorous MBA program in the country. Yet you don’t have to feel like every day is another test. In fact, you can take a few steps to make life feel less like you’re swimming against a rip current from morning until night.
Think of the following three strategies as balms against the stings of entrepreneurship so ubiquitous during Covid-19’s height and aftermath.
1. Resist pushing back against remote work.
According to data from a 2020 OnPay small-business survey, nearly two-thirds of organizations have shifted toward offering telecommuting options to employees. Now, they’re embracing the idea as a long-term solution to keep workers safe and satisfied. Maybe you can’t operate a 100 percent work-from-home model because of your industry. Nevertheless, it’s helpful to your team to remain open-minded about making virtual work a mainstay, or at least an option for staffers.
Yes, you’ll likely have to put new systems in place to get the biggest bang out of allowing your employees to enjoy a carpet commute. But you’ll also enjoy positive results in the form of stronger loyalty and commitment.
Even before shelter-in-place regulations affected businesses globally, Gallup’s investigation into telework showed that workers who spend between 60 percent and 80 percent of their time doing jobs from home report the highest engagement levels of all personnel. Engagement isn’t just nice to have, either: Companies with engaged workforces routinely experience higher productivity and profitability, per HR Gazette research.
2. Up your delegation game.
When the chips seem to be down, competitive entrepreneurs often spring into action. Like top athletes, they focus intently on batting down foes and achieving their objectives. However, running a business successfully isn’t something you want to do alone, especially if your short-term or future hopes include scaling operations.
Right now, you’re under tremendous pressure to make key decisions, form partnerships, and react to political and social movements that could affect your reputation and sales. As you look over your to-do lists, ask yourself the toughest question for a go-getter to utter: “What could be done by someone else on the team?” Delegating effectively will free up your brainpower and limited time to concentrate on solving high-level concerns.
In fact, one study suggested that delegating one-10th of your responsibilities could result in your getting 20 percent more accomplished. Those are great odds, and ones you can afford to play. As a bonus, employees empowered by your delegation may work harder or even surprise you–not to mention become part of your succession plan.
3. Reimagine your relationship with customers.
Customers aren’t behaving the way they did at the beginning of the year. According to Accenture, shoppers are becoming increasingly brand agnostic and spending money on products made by organizations that publicly align with their beliefs and values. This quantum shift shows no signs of going away. You therefore have two choices: fight it or face it. Obviously, the latter makes more sense if you want to keep your doors open.
Enlist your marketing team’s help in redefining your target customers. Who is buying from you now? Who has left, and why? Get to know what drives consumers who see your product as irresistible — and what makes some buyers turn toward your competition.
By devoting time to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with prospects and customers, you’ll feel less stress when it comes to brainstorming ways to increase sales, improve buyer loyalty, and amass true brand fans.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll never be without a smidgen of anxiety threatening to jolt you awake at 3 o’clock in the morning. That just comes with the territory. Nevertheless, by taking a few proactive steps, you can effectively reduce the complications caused by Covid-19. And make no mistake: The less stressed out and overwhelmed you are, the better it will be for everyone on your team.