How Should Businesses Respond to COVID-19?
Over the past several weeks, I’ve seen a storm brewing on LinkedIn and other professional forums.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve seen a storm brewing on LinkedIn and other professional forums. On one side, I see some boldly powering ahead in the face of this new and formidable challenge. On the other, I see others posting about how to be kind to ourselves and criticizing efforts to plow through this disturbing international crisis with a “business as usual” approach. How do you feel?
Personally, I’ve generally appreciated the fact that business (and life generally) is a bit slow, even with the negative consequences that brings. I’ve come to a newfound appreciation for doing work on the front porch, walking the dogs, and (yes) being okay with just sitting down at my desk at 11AM. In this landscape, the needs of small businesses are changing daily, and my biggest focus so far is in trying to recognize what legal needs small businesses will have 6 months or a year from now, and how the landscape that we all operate will require entire cultural shifts that change the way we do business entirely.
I read an article yesterday by Julio Vincent Gambuto entitled “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting”. (https://forge.medium.com/prepare-for-the-ultimate-gaslighting-6a8ce3f0a0e0). The premise is that once things have settled down, big business interests will make every effort to help us forget the benefits from this shift in thinking, so that they can fuel the economy by getting us back to our consumeristic roots. But Gambuto asks us to pause in the face of those efforts to remind ourselves that this is real, this is a crisis, and there simply is no way to go back after this. Not only have we established entirely new cultural norms, and found creative ways to support one another while social distancing, we have seen the impact that our industry has on the planet, and on our daily lives.
Personally, I’ve found myself admitting that among the economic success that lifted many people and small businesses into great successes over the course of the 2010s, I needed a bit of reigning in. And I’m guessing that pressing pause has brought similar insights to you as well.
And while I do believe that we will recover from this unprecedented mess stronger than before, I don’t believe that success will be driven by traditional actors. I think that the success of America’s next chapter will be born from the entrepreneurs that this crisis creates, and from the vast potential of our collective creativity as business owners. I look forward to seeing how my clients forge ahead in this new path, and challenge you to not be gaslighted into a thinking that our growth is tied to going back to business the way it was in 2019. How are you shifting your focus?