The current economic crunch reminds us of the importance of business resiliency. After all, it’s only the most robust businesses that can manage to withstand the pressures added by a pandemic.
For Jenefeness Tucker, two Washington-based pizza shops drive this lesson home. One is no more, while the other thrives even during these hard times. Can you guess which business is resilient?
But what makes for a resilient business? In a quick chat with Ramon Ray at the recent Survive and Thrive Growth Summit, Jenefeness explains the common characteristics she sees in robust businesses.
1. Implement business resiliency planning
When COVID-19 hit, Jenefeness says customer-facing businesses had to figure it out. Having a business resiliency plan usually means the difference between a business having a hard time and it faring better.
Jenefenness, a certified business advisor at the Washington Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), explains that business resiliency planning is the development and execution of an actual plan. That plan applies to multiple types of risks. For example, it can tackle risks brought about by nature or by man-made crises.
2. Be ready to pivot
Another tip Jenefeness shares with Ramon is that businesses need to be nimble.
“A lot of us have business acumen, but that's not enough. It's not enough in times like these.,” she says. “You have to be able to pivot. You have to be able to swivel on your toes.”
When COVID first hit, the SBDC was getting rapid updates, sometimes straight from the Small Business Administration, she says. Being able and willing to pivot quickly is a skill failing businesses don’t have, she explains.
3. Stay connected to resources
Jenefeness says that businesses finding success in these hard times are also those that stay connected to resources that are available to them.
And resources can take the form of many things. These may be people around your business. They can be information that’s available for your industry. It doesn’t matter what they are, Jenefeness says that you should always be connected to them.
One great example of a resource that’s available for entrepreneurs is Washington SBDC’s Business Resiliency Toolkit. It’s available online and is free to use.
4. Think that it’s never too late
Strong businesses also think that it’s never too late, Jenefeness tells Ramon. She shares the story of a client that recently found success, despite the pandemic.
This small business owner is an older lady, about 69 years old, who has a wonderful vegan restaurant. While locals know the spot well, it didn’t have social media, or a phone or online ordering system.
This business owner was hesitant at first. Subsequently, she’s making more money now with her restaurant currently closed to the dining public and open only for in-store pick-up.
5. Understand that this too shall pass
“I think the biggest thing is to understand is that this too shall pass. Just like 9/11, just like 2008, this will pass.,” Jenefeness says.
“We will get to a place where it's a new normal and we can do things differently and better.”
Ramon agrees. If you have to cry in the closet for some time, do it, he says. Most importantly, move forward afterward.
If you’re thinking you’re a loser moving back in with your parents, Jenefeness says you should think about the lessons you’ve learned and use that to keep moving. Plus, you are actually saving money staying with your parents.
6. Constantly communicate and seek information
Many business owners approach Jenefeness and tell her that they didn’t know about, they didn’t have access, or they are simply are not exposed to support programs available to them.
There’s a simple solution to that, she says, which is to communicate and ask questions. If a subject appears to be complex, you don’t have to master it.
“You don't have to learn it all, but ask questions so that you least have an understanding,” Jenefeness shares. “That's what smart people do. Smart people ask questions.”
“I think that's the biggest thing. People come and they say I didn't know about this or that. Well, did you ask? If you didn’t ask, then you can't blame anybody but yourself.”
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