When young children start going to school, teachers and carers use all kinds of pneumonic devices to help them learn the important things they need to know in a way that will be easy to remember when needed. This helps turn the process of showing them a series of simple steps into a fun learning experience, and it makes the responsibility of preventing any harm or injury easier to manage.
There’s one teaching in particular that all kids in the United States and other countries can recall fondly from the childhood, and that is the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” command to avoid danger during a fire. The steps and their rational include:
- Stop – The fire affected person must stop, ceasing any movement which may fan the flames or hamper those attempting to put the fire out.
- Drop – The fire affected person must drop to the ground, lying down if possible, covering their face with their hands to avoid facial injury.
- Roll – The fire affected person must roll on the ground to try and extinguish the fire by depriving it of oxygen.
Why do I bring this up today?
It sort of feels like the world is currently in some sort of passive, long-lasting fire, so how can we apply this simple methodology as small businesses to avert any permanent damage to our companies and employees? Within my years of experience in managing all types of crises, I’ve come to learn that the following principles are key for the successful navigation of any circumstance in all levels of leadership and management, especially in SMEs:
- Stop – the panic. Acting based on fear is usually not a good strategy for businesses, and desperation can lead to poor decision-making that ultimately can close you down for good. This is a complicated time for everyone, but jumping to worst-case scenarios is not the best way forward. There will be a lot of change brought about by this situation, but instead of worrying about things that are out of your hands, try focusing on what you can control and improve.
- Drop – your attachment to old strategies. This is a time to think on your feet, find the needs in the market your business currently solves or can solve, and craft your messaging in a way that is sensitive to the current situation. Not every business is allowed to run as always, especially brick-and-mortar storefronts that are not considered essential. Let go of your traditional practices to make room for innovation that can keep your business afloat.
- Roll – with the punches. Everything that has come our way until now has been unprecedented, and it will continue to be so until further notice. Learn to take things in stride, and don’t sweat the small stuff. The good news is that we’re all going through this together, and although we may not all be on the same boat, we can support each other. Here are some strategies we’ve seen from people adapting and adjusting to remain viable:
- Business cooperation: because some businesses are not allowed to continue to run as they would, other businesses who need more employees during this time are leveraging partnerships with other companies to keep the workers employed.
- Adjust traditional operations: for those businesses that are allowed to remain open, maybe it makes sense to change your operation hours, stock up on different products, or offer new services within your realm. Listen to your clients and make it work for them.
- Cut your losses: you may have already bought a lot of inventory or have overstock in general. You may have established partnerships or deals that can no longer move forward as originally planned. Think about how you can repackage what you already have!
The most important thing to do is to remember that this is a temporary circumstance and that with some creativity and help from our ecosystems, we all have the potential to survive. We need to help each other out where we can, and we must keep a positive attitude and an open mindset to find and create opportunities for ourselves. The Nytro team and I are currently in the process of finding ways to help our fellow small businesses get creative with their marketing needs, so if you have any questions or suggestions for us to consider, please leave them in the comments below or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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