By Tom Hall

We’re all wondering what hit us. Life was good, the economy fine, business strong—and then, wham! The world is upside down.

What do we do with our business? How about our people? Our customers? Our suppliers? What do we say? How do we react? It’s a totally new environment thrust upon us with little warning.

Let’s apply the principles of Ruthless Focus from the book of the same name: What is the key strategy to get us through this period successfully?

Let’s start with our goal: To survive the coronavirus pandemic with a strong organization ready to achieve business success again.

We’ll need some mini strategies for the different audiences we need to address.

First, your people. What can you do to make sure you help employees get through the crisis as effectively as you can? There is one thing nearly all will need—money. Fifty-three percent of American households have no emergency savings, and they will need assistance quickly. The Treasury Secretary has estimated that federal money will arrive in peoples’ accounts by April 20th, but that may be wishful thinking—the federal government rarely does anything on time.

Have you considered an emergency fund from which your employees could borrow if needed? How about hiring a counselor or designating someone in your organization to become an expert in the promised funds due to individuals and the loans that are now available from the government—plus the new tenant rights rules, auto loan procedures, etc. Typically, many of your employees will not know all the details of the items that can help them get through this rough period.

Very importantly—communicate! Stay in touch on a regular basis, ask if they have questions, send information on the financial help available when you see something worthwhile. I learned as a squad leader in Army basic training that when folks are scared they need constant reassurance—so communicate often. And make sure the conversation is two-way.

Subsequent blogs will address dealing with customers, adapting your business model, and marketing during this crisis.

[For part 2 of this article, click here]

More COVID-19 Resources:

COVID-19 Communications Principles

Crisis Communications for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Crisis Communications During Coronavirus