Reflections While #StayingHome: Takeaways From An Enterprise Shifting Gears For A Post COVID-19 World
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My co-founders and I launched The Women Xchange with the belief that a single connection can open up a world of opportunities. With this philosophy in mind, we strive to bring together all like-minded, ambitious women to exchange connections, ideas, and friendships.
Our business model is thus designed to create an interactive environment for women which, at the time of writing this article, is the single most challenging barrier to moving forward. During the time of social distancing, the only thing we can do is to shift gears and redefine our main strategy. How can we turn this situation around in our favor?
As entrepreneurs, we have to always be forward-thinking and constantly solving problems, which, in some cases, may be new problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, the main objective is to ensure that we understand the problem that we have to solve, and how it will change the landscape once everything returns to the new norm.
First things first, in times like this, we have to be more vigilant with our cash flow and expenditures. It is time to be diligent and preserve our savings, whilst re-thinking the strategy. With all events being cancelled for the foreseeable future, we have to find other channels to reach our audience or build new platforms to allow our audience to engage with us and their community.
The Women Xchange team.
As businesses, we have to keep the engagements higher than before. We have to connect and be relevant since screen times are now higher than ever before, and people are spending more time on the internet and social media. At The Women Xchange, we decided to create two new groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to cater to these needs: #WXConnect and #WXCareer. This is us shifting gears.
#WXConnect is The Women Xchange members-only and invite-only interactive communications platform. It’s a go-to safe space to post and discuss all things related to topics like local happenings, such as activities, events, workshops, meet-ups, new business openings, recommendations, favorite businesses and services, discounts, sales, specials, referrals, self-care, wellness, mental health, fitness and more.
Meanwhile, #WXCareer is The Women Xchange members-only and invite-only interactive communications platform. It’s a go-to safe space to post and discuss all things related to topics like career or freelance opportunities, recruitment, entrepreneurship, advice, coaching, mentorship, and more.
A key takeaway from this challenging period is to spend time reviewing and drafting new contracts that pay special attention to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and carry on business interruption. We strive to ensure that contract clauses are implemented to protect us and our employees during a crisis like this, and, as always, negotiation skills are key if we are already contractually bound. I have negotiated so many contracts during my career, and what is now apparent is expanding on clauses like force majeure.
When it comes to uncertainty, no one knows the answers or the next steps, and we do not know how long this will take. What we should do is to keep our emotions in check, and don’t share the panic. Addressing the question, “who do I want to be during the COVID-19 crisis?” is an interesting view of positioning yourself in either the fear zone, learning zone, or growth zone. Largely, people have found themselves automatically in the fear zone. This is understandable. However, shifting away from this into helping others, controlling your emotional structure, and living in the present is a solid starting point.
One of the ways to do this is by staying connected. Don’t lose contact with your friends, family, as well as your customers. There is a window of opportunity to be empathetic. People are losing their jobs, or they are worried about pay cuts; therefore, it is important to discuss these matters with them, try to engineer new solutions, or to help them in any other way. These days, we have more time to realize the importance of human connections.
The Women Xchange team.
On a personal note, keeping yourself motivated, following a routine, and setting achievable goals on a daily basis helps me move forward. Deborah Serani, Psy.D, Professor of Psychology at Adelphi University and author of Sometimes When I'm Sad, says: “Studies in resiliency during traumatic events encourage keeping a routine to your day. This means eating meals at regular times, sleeping, walking and exercising at set times, and maintaining social (socially distant) contact. Unstructured time can create boredom, spikes in anxiety or depression, which can lead to unhealthy patterns of coping.”
For me, personally, keeping my mental health in check, and adding a work-out series to my everyday routine is a matter of utmost importance. Creating a new safe-space area where I feel comfortable and more productive is also necessary. Reading the news and distractions from social media are undeniably one of the main issues to tackle; therefore, I set limits on my screen-time in order to control and manage what and when I read.
Now is a time of gratitude and having compassion for each other. It is our duty to unite because we are all in this together. As always, The Women Xchange is here to help and bring together like-minded women, develop solutions, and empower each other during this time of crisis. As such, keeping our vision on the big picture is key, because regardless of what we are facing today, this too shall pass.