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Leaders Make Mistakes, Too: What to Avoid as You Plan to Reopen Your Business

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world, affecting both consumers and business owners. If you are an entrepreneur and have temporarily closed shop, there will come a time that you need to reopen. But how can you do it smoothly? Many businesses rushed into reopening and made mistakes that run their staff into the ground, cause customers to lose trust in them, and even cost them more money.

If you want to nail the reopening, learn from other businesses and avoid the following mistakes:

Trying to control the situation.

Except for a few scientists and doctors, no one expected a crisis like COVID-19 to happen. Rather than wearing yourself out by trying to control the situation or getting overwhelmed by a lack of control, shift your focus to developing a new skill. And that’s to quickly evaluate an evolving situation and respond with clever, collaborative, and compassionate solutions. It would be best if you had contingency plans, and you have to be flexible in changing these plans as we still haven’t seen the full picture of COVID-19’s economic impact.

Not communicating enough.

In any crisis, it is crucial to communicate well and do it regularly to assure your team and customers. Also, since plans will likely change, in response to an evolving situation, you need to update your stakeholders promptly. So, set out how regularly you plan to be in touch with them. Otherwise, you may create a vacuum of silence that may likely be filled with unhelpful doubts and rumors. Even if there’s nothing new to share, follow your schedule of regular check-ins—take this opportunity to be encouraging.

Making all the decisions on your own.

In a normal situation, you can take all the time you need to make the right call for the entire organization. But centralizing decision-making amid a pandemic is a mistake. While it is a global crisis, it occurs at different rates in different countries or states. So, empower your local teams to respond accordingly without letting their team distance from the rest of the organization. This is where communication comes in. As long as every move is aligned with the big-picture purpose, a team can decide on certain matters.

Relying too much on hope.

Employees in discussion while using sticky notes

Optimism is good, but planning is way better. Just like how you worked with an estate planning attorney to ensure the financial future of your heirs, you should partner with key individuals or teams to plan your next steps. One thing to focus on is technology. E-commerce and remote working have become part of the new normal—how can your employees and consumers adopt these changes? What could be the obstacles? And once you identify these hurdles, how do you plan to overcome them while in a pandemic or post COVID-19 era? Sometimes, it’s good to wait for the tides to calm. But it’s better to start planning while waiting to paddle your boats. See the problem from different angles and create a plan for each.

There is no rule book for a pandemic like COVID-19. But it would be best if you took note of others’ mistakes that could have the same effect on your company. This way, you are not totally blind as you navigate your way to reopening.

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