How to better enable life and business after lockdown
Taking this time to take care of Wilson!
Reflecting upon the film Castaway, it now seems a remarkably interesting perspective on the human condition in response to isolation and strategies to manage a disaster.
After going through just six weeks of lockdown, one can find much sympathy with the desperate feelings that eventually drove Chuck (Tom Hanks) to abandon the safety of his island and take his companion Wilson (a football) and symbol for his subconscious mind, on his desperate journey to escape.
Had it not been for my morning Coffeehouse jaunts, Zoom Gatherings, Netflix, Facebook, the odd workout, and mostly a house move to keep me busy, I too would probably have needed a Wilson!
One thing that Chuck did very well on that island was making the most of his time. This got me thinking about making the most of my time and doing things that can reshape my life and my business for future recovery and resilience.
Having the time to do this is a luxury, so I have made a few notes of things I’ve been doing with my business and peronal life and I hope these are useful and motivational for you as well.
1. Goal Setting
I’ve taken time to do some SMART goal setting, which essentially looks at my core objectives for business and life goals and ensures that the time allocated is right and my actions points are measurable. Doing this for yourself is not always easy, as one can often find a miss-match in time allocation but it’s immensely powerful. Allocate the right amount of time to your priorities in life or business is the message here.
I am constantly impressed with the way many businesses have pivoted during the crisis to offer new services and keep employees busy. We ourselves have done just that in offering order & collect facilities for hospitality. Importantly this pivot in many businesses will be here to stay and will lead to multi-faceted stronger businesses after this is over.
Many businesses have trimmed the fat and often in ways to simply keep their staff paid. This includes getting rent reductions, foraging for cheaper materials, having online meetings and sourcing goodwill from anyone. This will make many companies substantially more profitable when things recover.
This has been an amazing time for people to talk and dream up new ways of collaboration. Working together to achieve things quickly has been enlightening.
Businesses have learned to become organisationally more agile and able to adapt. In some cases this may have not be easy, but a permanent state of readiness, will help any business to be more resilient in future. In addition, the ideology to be able to adapt for success is a shift that lasts.
6. Know your customers
Now more than ever people have really felt the importance of knowing their customers. Taking this time to work on your client data and ensure what you have is up to scratch (de-duping / profiling / segmenting) is gold for when things begin to recover. If your systems are not giving you the client data you need to make this possible, then now could be good time to migrate.
Reach out in meaningful ways to either let your customers know you will be there when this is all over or how you are still trading safely. Confidence is everything right now, so letting customers know you are on top of this and knowing which customers are with you is essential.
8. Financial security
If there one thing I have learnt during this time it’s how important it is to plan for a rainy day. As part of this I have taken steps to ensure at least 2-3 months cashflow is available if needed. To achieve this I have restructured my personal debt in a way that increases cash flow by taking advantage of lower rates of finance. All high interest facilities have gone and are now replaced with a fixed debt structure that is more manageable and allows for saving. The emergency reserve fund is now stand alone and new accounts opened for dedicated goals e.g. house or tax returns.
9. Be ready
Things will return to normal soon so planning for recovery is key. That includes getting staff in early, communicating action plans and get dry testing everything. In my last article I referred to a 'new norm' - which is something we should all be ready for.
10. Look after Wilson
It is easy to forget that within us all lies our own Wilson. Whatever you are feeling and however bad things are, look after your inner self and you will get through this. As the saying goes ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. I’ve had friends simply devastated by this. A simple word to show you care or say “look it’s going to be okay” ... “we’ll get you through this” can make a massive difference. As Chuck said to Wilson.. “WILSON! I’ve got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring?”
I rarely get the time to do any of these things... so having this time in many ways has been a blessing. Making use of this can be very empowering for the future if used well.
About the Author
Winston is the Country Manager for TableCheck's Australian operations. Before joining the company, Winston has worked and delivered technology solutions for restaurant and hotel groups in Europe and Asia.