There is no box

To stay nimble, challenge conventions

So, your business is surviving the pandemic. That’s a significant achievement. But it’s not enough.

The uncertainty in the market isn’t going away. The timeline for an economic recovery is unknown, and COVID still affects what clients and customers find is important, shaping what they need from you. You will need to continue to be, for the foreseeable future, nimble, thoughtful and decisive in the face of unprecedented challenges.

There’s no playbook. Continued success — even continued survival — is going to require that you not just think outside the box, but that you challenge the idea that the box exists.

A recent Forbes article, 10 Examples Of How COVID-19 Forced Business Transformation, highlights companies that have found ingenious ways of reaching customers and keeping the bottom line from reaching rock bottom. For example, grocery stores such as Giant Eagle and Kroger have turned multiple locations into dark stores. No customers can enter. Instead, these stores act as fulfillment centers that exclusively handle pickup and delivery orders.

Restaurant chains, including Panera, are selling fresh groceries that can be picked up along with restaurant orders. Retailers, including Michaels, have created pickup stations outside stores to minimize or eliminate contact. And gyms such as Orange Theory and Planet Fitness are live-streaming exercise classes.

Find creative ways to help vendors and companies in your supply chain continue to partner with you. Keep a close eye on the market to find opportunity and areas of unmet demand. And don’t be afraid to shake off legacy identity and reimagine your business in the face of a market that isn’t the same as the one you built your business in. Many of the old ways of doing things won’t work in a new, and incredibly disrupted, environment.

Celebrate your accomplishments. Be proud of what you’ve managed to do so far. But realize this is a marathon. Your business will continue to face challenges, but go forward with the confidence that, if you’re still in business, you can handle anything that comes your way.

Good luck. We’re rooting for you.

Fred Koury is president and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc.