Welcome to the LFIC blog. Its objective is to provide you with insights that stimulate your thinking and with useful information and approaches. In fact, this is really a form of mentoring across unit lines (Horizontal Mentoring) even though it is not specific to your organization and it is written.
As all organizations plan for a world in which sheltering at home is less restrictive, they will likely find that the way in which the business itself operates is different. This will apply whether the business provides services or products. It will apply whether the product is a written document, a verbal presentation, or goods that are sold or delivered. In this blog, let’s look at the small neighborhood business.
In some cases where businesses that rely on the neighborhood ― restaurants clothing stores, florists, wine stores – have been innovative, they have not done as badly as they expected during this crisis. Note that I do not say they have done well only that they have not done as badly as expected and that because of this, at least thus far, they are surviving. Some of these businesses had seen their markets and profits reduced by large internet vendors – Amazon, Walmart, Staples and the like ― even before Covid-19. But as the big Internet dealers have failed to deliver or failed to deliver well, small businesses that have been innovative and have delivered reliably have begun to reverse the trend towards the Amazons of this world.
Moving forward, these and other businesses must attract a population that has more varied needs than were present before Covid-19.
- A clothing store may be able to open its doors so people can come in, try on and purchase clothes but may still find it necessary to select and deliver items so that customers who should not be shopping can try them on in the safety of their homes before they purchase them.
- A restaurant that opens with tables that are farther apart than they used to be may be able to attract some of its clientele but may not be able to attract those who are high risk and are either afraid to come out or have been instructed by their physicians not to come out.
- A business that has had people working from home may find that it is safer to continue this way or to rotate staff so as to reduce the risk of infection.
- A liquor store may need to continue delivering wine even as it reopens for customers. It may need to have a tasting via Zoom.
Under any of these or other scenarios, and given that the likelihood of further virus outbreaks, capitalizing on expertise that already exists inside the organization matters. It will be even more important, to provide people with a confidential venue in which to talk about their work experiences during the lock downs so that these experiences can be used to keep businesses viable under new conditions. The Horizontal Mentoring model is a good one as we move forward.