“Proper preparation prevents poor performance” is a phrase that I heard over and over while in basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. My drill sergeants always stressed the importance of staying ready so you never need to get ready. This simple phrase got me thinking about how businesses are coping during the pandemic.
More importantly, what steps are businesses taking to position for success in a post-COVID environment?
I have spoken to GMs, controllers, finance directors, CFOs and CEOs about some of the steps they are taking to navigate these rocky waters. Hopefully, their insights (summarized below) will provide you with inspiration and hope as we begin the second quarter of 2021.
How to Position for Success in a Post-COVID Environment
- Review Vendor Relationships
- Set Realistic Goals and Prioritize
- Focus on the Customer
- Pay Attention to Your Competition
- Create and Maintain a Safe Workplace
- Remain Positive
Review Vendor Relationships
Now is an excellent time to take a look at your vendor relationships. Review each vendor and ask yourself, “Is there is room for improvement from a cost or a service perspective?”
If the answer to either or both is "yes," look into their competitors and see what they have to offer. Just because you’ve done business with a specific vendor for a long period of time does not necessarily mean there are not better options out there. By exploring what’s available, you may find a more cost effective alternative and receive better overall service as you position for success in a post-COVID environment.
Set Realistic Goals and Prioritize
Take a look at your business, and list everything that needs to get done. Next, prioritize the list from most important to least important. Ensure that everything on the list falls in line with your overall business goals. These are challenging times, so setting realistic goals will be critical as we position for success in a post-COVID environment.
Focus on the Customer
In times like these, providing stellar customer service matters more than ever. Think of ways you can add value to your current customer base. This could be done through discounts or rewards programs. What are some things you can do to better meet their needs?
Do you offer a home delivery option? The auto industry has seized the opportunity with this type of service by offering virtual test drives and remote buying options that result in purchased vehicles being dropped off in customers’ driveways. Dealerships also conduct the pickup and delivery of vehicles needing service.
With so many Americans facing challenges financially, are you offering flexible payment options? Think about what you can do now to retain your current clients so they remain loyal for the long haul. This applies not only to existing customers, but to new customers as well.
Pay Attention to Your Competition
While many businesses are struggling right now, some are actually thriving. Take time to study the steps they are taking to position for success in a post-COVID environment. What are they doing differently? Can you implement some of their processes into your own business?
This applies not only to your direct competition but your indirect competition as well. If you can understand how other businesses are winning during the pandemic, then you may find yourself in an advantageous position once things begin returning to normal.
Create and Maintain a Safe Workplace
At some point, everyone will return to work and things will get back to normal. Until that time, you want to make sure your employees feel safe when coming into the workplace. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Modifying seats, furniture and workstations to maintain safe social distancing of at least six feet.
- Installing transparent shields or other physical barriers where possible to separate employees and visitors where social distancing is not an option.
- Arranging chairs in reception or other communal seating areas by turning, draping (covering chair with tape or fabric so seats cannot be used), spacing, or removing chairs to maintain social distancing.
- Using signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed 6 feet apart, to show where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
- Replacing high-touch communal items, such as coffee pots and bulk snacks, with alternatives such as pre-packaged, single-serving items.
- Encouraging staff to bring their own water to minimize use and touching of water fountains or consider installing no-touch activation methods for water fountains.
Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Knowing this, it is important to focus on controlling what you can and not stress over factors out of your control. Do everything in your power to maintain a positive mental state. Some of the most effective ways to do this are:
- Eat healthy
- Get some sunshine
- Talk with friends and family
As challenging as the world is right now, things will definitely get better. We are starting to see this with the distribution of COVID vaccines.
In the meantime, take a look at your business and ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to weather this storm.
The CrossCheck Approach
I have personally followed many of the above steps and am proud to say that CrossCheck has been thoroughly committed to protecting staff members during the current pandemic.
Beginning in March 2020, CrossCheck implemented safety measures that include, but are not limited to, daily temperature checks and questionnaires, work-from-home opportunities, one-way aisles, clear plastic screens, signage, training, a published company policy, and the postponement of large assemblies.
On the business side, CrossCheck rolled out its Home Delivery program in April 2020 to help merchants pre-authorize customers and approve their check payments prior to making deliveries. Home Delivery assists auto dealership sales and service departments, veterinary offices, and retail grocery stores as well as the restaurant industry.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about Home Delivery and other CrossCheck services.