Adapt To Change: Five Tips For Entrepreneurs To Make It Through The COVID-19 Crisis COVID-19 is a temporary problem, but our businesses are permanent. Coming out on the other side of this will be a testament to the resilience of businesses and their leaders.

By Charli Ball

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

There's no denying that many of our lives have been flipped upside since the onset of COVID-19. Naturally, this has led to some unforeseen challenges, particularly for entrepreneurs and small businesses. However, unprecedented challenges also present us with new opportunities for growth. After all, COVID-19 is a temporary problem, but our businesses are permanent. Coming out on the other side of this will be a testament to the resilience of businesses and their leaders.

Ultimately, the ability to adapt to change is what will enable entrepreneurs to survive and even thrive during COVID-19. Here are a few ways to do just that:

1. KEEP YOUR CLOSEST CLOSE Maintaining important relationships is essential to business resiliency. Preserving these relationships is mutually beneficial, and can help both entrepreneurs and their partner businesses to overcome the challenging economy. Furthermore, consider doubling down on markets that have served you well. Think quality over quantity, and delve deeper into the markets that have been more successful for your business.

2. DON'T FORGET ABOUT YOUR BRAND During COVID-19, the key to resiliency is remaining current and relevant. So, don't stop your brand presence! With budget reallocations, this can be challenging, so put your entrepreneurial spirit to work, and assess what you can do on your own to save time and money. Whether that's personally connecting with customers on social media, or upping your LinkedIn game, embrace tactics like grassroots marketing to power your presence through people, rather than a budget.

Related: Crisis Comms: A Four-Point Checklist For Effective Brand Communication Through The Coronavirus Outbreak

3. SURPRISE AND DELIGHT If you have the time and resources, use it to give back to your team, your customers, and your community. Engage in community outreach, and connect locally. This a win-win situation! You can support your CSR strategy, and simultaneously help people in need. Show your team, customers, and peers that you care. This could be setting up a support group with other entrepreneurs, organising a social event on Zoom, or sending a proactive proposal for a new idea.

4. TRUST YOUR TEAM Be mindful that everyone may be facing their own added pressure during this time. So use common sense, kindness, and honesty to communicate with your team. But leading isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. You may need to provide more guidance and flexibility to support and motivate your team. However, it is important to recognize that this is a time when your strongest team members will shine, both in productivity and attitude. Those with true future leadership potential will naturally show themselves.

5. ADAPT AND EVOLVE Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has said: "What's dangerous is not to evolve." As humans and entrepreneurs, continuous improvement is innate. Don't let COVID-19 inhibit your pursuit for improvement. Take this time to assess your business model, and identify what elements you can optimise to be more even more effective. This could mean adapting your offering to function digitally, implementing clear policies for remote working, or embracing new softwares such as automated lead processes to support these changes.

The truth is that in an evolving situation, there will always be an element of thinking on your feet. Regardless, unusual situations provide entrepreneurs and their businesses with unique opportunities to push boundaries, innovate, and conceive new ways to work. It might be a challenge, but if we succeed, we will emerge with important lessons learnt that can help us strengthen our businesses for the future.

Related: We're In This Together: Business Resources, Offers, And More For MENA Entrepreneurs To Get Through The Coronavirus Pandemic

Charli Ball

Managing Director - Middle East, JWI

Charli Ball is Managing Director - Middle East at JWI.

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