Adapt and survive

The new normal you’re looking for is all around you

Change is inevitable. It’s often welcome. But the change we’re experiencing now, which we can’t control, is radical. It’s change none of us could have predicted and few of us were prepared to make, or to make so quickly.

Yet, we did. We sent employees home, even if we didn’t have, or want, work-from-home policies. We’ve split shifts, procured PPE and we’re taking people’s temperatures. We’re dropping services and products that may have been with us from the start but now no longer make sense, and we’re ramping up and launching new ones. We’re marketing and selling more online and finding ways to connect with customers and maintain relationships.

But some of us may be unwilling to make the most important change — accepting that what we’re experiencing now is normal. Instead, some of us may be holding out, believing that all of these seemingly temporary adjustments are just that — temporary. But we need to accept that they’re not, that the market normalization that we’re looking for isn’t over the horizon, it’s all around us.

After acceptance, flexibility is the key to survival. A new marketplace is taking shape as everything shifts and realigns from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. At Smart Business, we’ve pivoted by taking many of our live events virtual. This will enable thousands of business leaders to hear how their peers — CEOs, professionals and other subject matter experts — are navigating the economic uncertainty. We’re also leveraging web-based platforms to create networking opportunities, an aspect of business that’s been challenged in a time of social distancing.

But pivoting into new channels, products or services isn’t enough. Surviving also means trust — trusting that employees will stay productive when they’re not in the office, trusting customers who ask for extended payment terms and trusting prospects and potential partners we haven’t had the chance to meet in person.

By most accounts, 2020 was projected to be great. Economic growth was headed into its 11th consecutive year, and most businesses were firing on all cylinders. Then, almost overnight, everything changed drastically.

Surviving means taking things one day at a time and being open minded to new ideas and new ways of doing business. It means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, trusting your instincts, trusting other people and accepting that what we’re experiencing may be the new normal.

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