by Al Hebert, Executive Director of New Orleans
Excellent leadership and communication are necessary for any business striving for great success, ESPECIALLY THROUGH TRYING TIMES.
Without effective leadership and communication, it is nearly impossible for businesses to grow and expand – and in times of extreme stress, isolation and uncertainty – it can cripple your business. Many of us just experienced some trying times after Hurricane Ida. Still, I saw many Franchise Owners – even through some severe personal losses- keep their business pointed in the right direction so that they could count on their business to help get them through the aftermath.
Our small businesses are often comprised of just a few employees and could fall apart if their leadership structure is in jeopardy. Just as accurate is that our small businesses may only have a few customers in our portfolios. We have to surround those customers with our communication, expertise, and our brand’s strength in times of uncertainty. Do not ever hope/expect things will be okay in times of crisis – plan for bad and be happy when it turns out to be not so bad.
While there are many qualities that a great leader must possess, critical thinking is vital in the small business world when trying times are upon us. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
- The Ability To Think Ahead – What could happen – good and bad? How could this affect me and my team’s ability to provide services? How could this affect my customer and their need for services? What is the worst-case scenario if my customer needs me? Where is my team going to be when our customers need us? Is my business going to function after this event, and if so – at what level? WHERE DO I NEED HELP IN FIGURING THIS OUT?
- Responsibility – the leader of a small business absolutely must be responsible. I know that this may seem silly even to mention, but it is not always as obvious as some might think. Being responsible includes the safety of your team and your commitment to the services of your customers. If we are thinking of them BEFORE things get bad, we can develop a plan WITH them. What services might they need? Do I have the skillset and equipment to assist them? Will my team be available to assist? WHERE DO I NEED HELP IN FIGURING THIS OUT?
- Communication – Probably the most essential piece to handle any and all situations with efficiency. Once we have discussed expected needs and plans with our team and customers, we can communicate an overall scheme. This communication must be fluid with possible outcomes because, as we all know – things become very fluid very quickly. The more possibilities we discuss and then communicate to our team and customers, we can react swiftly and safely to their needs.
Finally – lean on the personnel resources in your offices. We have seen great plans laid out and communicated to customers, and we have seen terrible ones. Let us help you make sure your customers know that you have their best interest in mind while being committed to the safety of your team. A powerfully communicated plan can make challenging situations difficult, but having no plan can make everything seem impossible.
We have all had to deal with many unknowns over the past 24 months – and we will continue to have to do so. Instead of hoping we won’t have storms and variants and other oddities pop up – expect we will, and work to develop plans that can be in place to make sure your business continues to make it successfully to the other side.