CI 101

What can I do for my business now?

These days we are living a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Uncertainty is the word of the day, every day.  Anxiety levels are higher than ever, everybody is wondering what is going to happen when the pandemic is over, and we go back to our “normal” lives.  For small business owners, there is one question constantly bouncing inside our heads.  Would I still have a business?   I don’t know the answer to that or many other questions, but I do know what not to do.

I know that this is no time to waste my energy thinking in all the what if.  There is nothing to gain but more anxiety, trying to imagine a world where I do not have the means to bring food to my family or pay for our house.  I also know that in difficult times it is worth focusing on the positive things.  

What is positive about this pandemic?  For one we have time to do those things that we always say, I love to have time to do.  Of course, things that we still can do within the social distancing and CDC parameters.  It is a good time to pick up that hobby or home project you never have time for.  It is also time to clear your head and separate yourself from the challenges coming ahead.  It is important to recharge before you can focus on the fight ahead.  One thing is sure, the economy, will not be the same when we reopen for business, we have to be prepared.

Focus your attention on all the positive things you can do to strengthen your operation without investing more money than you are right now.  Here are a few examples.

  1. You can do virtual networking to get in touch with your old contacts to say hello and make new ones.
  2. While you reach out, does anybody need your help?  Collaboration is a good way to create long relationships, a network of people that can help when you needed the most.
  3. Read a new book, learn, and change what you can. 
    1. What your customer reviews in social media are telling you?  What do you need to improve?
    1. Do you know your customers well enough to anticipate if their needs will change?  Create a new marketing plan using social media.
    1. Analyze your business performance and assess your business.  What do you need to improve?  There are several applications that you can use to communicate with your team and work together on improvement ideas.
  4. Learn about the different programs and aids the Small Business Administration and local governments are offering.
  5. Revisit your business plan and update it.  Adopt a new strategy, set new goals, and prepare a plan in tune with reality.

I humbly suggest that you read about continuous improvement and how it can help you to navigate through the storm.  Lean was born in a time of need; Toyota was facing bankruptcy when Eiji Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno created it.  Continuous improvement is not easy or magical, but it has been proven to work in any industry, any size, anywhere.  At moments like this, it worth more than ever to try something new, like CI.

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