Collectively we are all dealing with information overload from medical and governmental agencies. Please follow your heart for your personal safety and to ensure those you are responsible for stay well.

As a consultant celebrating my 19th anniversary on May first, I would like to share some thoughts on how to approach this calamity.

First: this is about people. If your employees are stressed out and unhappy, try to mitigate those feelings by giving them paid time off to manage their affairs and calm down. If they can work from home, allow it. But also have regular check-ins to ensure they are setting priorities and accomplishing them. If there are a lot of people to manage, you might consider making teams and letting them set goals and self-regulate. If you must cut pay, cut hours so people can have stay-cations and recharge. Letting people do spring cleaning, plant a garden and spend time with their kids might make the pay cut seem like a gift.

Second: Call your top customers! Find out how they are feeling and how the pandemic is affecting their business. Distributors and grocery stores are doing a brisk business with people cooking at home more. Even restaurants can see a spike in take-out and delivery. If you can handle more volume, let them know they can count on you. If you need better terms to increase your capacity, ask! Fewer workers might mean a bigger opportunity for charcuterie platters and other ready-to-eat items. Pre-packaged deli items can mean less food handling and possible contamination.

Third: Call your vendors. Ask how their business is doing and if they are experiencing any shortages. Don’t wait to place an order to find out you can’t get an ingredient.

Fourth: Don’t believe everything you hear about “the economy”. When the 2008 recession hit, my clients continued to grow because that had a plan in place that was well thought out and that they continued to execute. People who came to me in 2010 were looking to rebuild their businesses due to the recession. They believed that business was down, so they didn’t fight to keep it. If your business sinks 20%, it takes a 25% increase to get back where you were. Fight like hell to stay even or grow. Stay positive. We sell food and everyone needs to eat! Small businesses have the most to gain.

Fifth: Take a breath! Dust off those goals that seem to get pushed to the back of your to-dos. Have you been meaning to up your game on sustainability, food waste, new branding, learning new software, or adding equipment? Now is the time to reach out and get some expertise. Everyone will welcome inquiries; there may be good deals to be had. Make good use of time that becomes available.

As always, I’m available to help talk you through your options. to set up a call. We will persevere.

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