By Randy Stearns, CEO, D-Tools, Inc.
Entrepreneurs are optimists and opportunistic by nature. As such, even in the face of adverse conditions such as those presented by the Coronavirus, it is natural for us to try to look on the bright side. For business leaders, the business lockdowns thrust upon us by COVID-19 create severe challenges. But to those who subscribe to the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, it also presents a new and unique opportunity. What you ask is this silver lining?
Over the past weeks, the clients of most system integrators have shut down their job sites and facilities completely or, at a minimum, limited access in order to reduce the risk of contamination. As a result, talented team members are sitting on the sidelines waiting patiently for the storm to pass. Most are “working from home”, but working on what?
System integrators have been riding the wave of economic prosperity for several years, with a seemingly never-ending backlog where 100% of the available hours are spent on project work. The intense focus on fulfilling demand has, for some, come at a price. Suddenly having access to idle resources creates a tremendous opportunity for business leaders to work on the business instead of in the business (as proffered by Michael Gerber in The eMyth). Just think of the long list of internal projects that have continued to slip down the priority list for months, if not years, while project work takes precedence. Examples include updating policies and procedures, conducting technical and product training for your staff, and implementing or updating software to simplify and streamline day-to-day operations.
How many of you have said to yourselves, and even promised your staff “as soon as we get a break from this constant flow of back-to-back projects, we’ll…[fix what’s broken in the business… and train our people]”? Guess what? That time has come. While we sit on the edge of our seats waiting for the scientific community to develop a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19, the effects of the pandemic (i.e. work slowdown) have delivered an antidote for those trying to find time to focus on sidelined internal projects. Now is the time to build the business infrastructure required to guide your business successfully through this new decade! Make a list of projects, prioritize them, assign team members, and get to work. As soon as the Coronavirus releases its grip on the economy, hopefully you’ll find yourself energized and excited about running your redesigned business as a newly well-oiled machine.