i3 | July 31, 2020

Small Businesses will Again Lead the Post-Coronavirus Comeback

Jake Sigal

We’ve all been affected by COVID-19 and most small businesses have gone into survival mode. Owners have been forced to transition from preferred leadership roles as innovators and explorers with successful companies to temporary generals left bootstrapping our businesses, supporting our clients wherever possible and managing the unique challenges for our team.

While the pandemic continues, the shock of the immediate crisis for small businesses has ebbed. The little guys always lead the innovation comeback. We’re all adjusting to a temporary normal, but it’s time for small businesses to do what we do best: go fast now.

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In 2007, I started planning a business making radios for a little-known service provider called Pandora. When the larger companies retreated to strategy sessions during the Great Recession, their hardware plans were delayed. All of a sudden, a small Detroit-based startup was launching the world's   rst dedicated radio with Pandora’s name on it. I write this blog now from the same office I was working in 12 years ago, upstairs at home. I can’t help but crack a smile as I’m literally at the same desk, right where I was the last time it got tough.

Remember “Why”

I’ve blogged about our “1/2/3” mantra at Tome: know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and have the tools you need to do the job. In difficult times, knowing “why” keeps you and your team moving forward. For some companies, it’s the problem you’re solving or the customer you’re supporting. For everyone, a mantra provides the ability to have a win in a challenging situation. Revisit your purpose and reinforce your mission with your team to get a win every day.

We’re all adjusting to a temporary normal, but it’s time for small businesses to do what we do best: go fast now.

Show Compassion

While we all will move forward, some of us will face hardships. The easier battles will be economic. The tougher fights will be health related. Life is short and it’s the people in our lives that matter the most. While I’m going heads down on closing deals and keeping customers happy, I’m budgeting about   ve hours each week to staying in touch with the people in life and business that I love. I’ve also volunteered (and recruited my friends to volunteer) to help our community. Being present and being there for your loved ones, your team and the community is something we can all do to counter the effects of the coronavirus.

Know your Roles, and Embrace Them

While economically this feels like 2008 both with challenges and opportunities, the bottom line is that being a small business leader has always been about more than staying afloat. We need to keep our hats handy as explorers and innovators as we head into uncharted socioeconomic and technological waters. While we’ve all focused on washing our hands for the past few months, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty again. Metaphorically speaking, of course!