We are always looking for ways to make sense of things. When the pandemic hit 18 months ago, I tried to get people to think of the situation as a bridge to cross: if you could get your head around covid lasting 3 months, then it was a matter of just preparing for that distance.
Then about a year ago, I began thinking of the country's overall dynamic and the volatile unknowns that needed to be prepared for (i.e., the lingering pandemic, impending election, and unpredictable economy). The thought conjured images of driving in a dense fog. You don't know what's ahead—could be sunny skies, could be a cliff. It's at times like those when you need to slow down and think of the short term. I encouraged people to think about the next 12 weeks, rather than the next 12 months.
A Reminder to Think Clearly
I was reminded recently of my own metaphor by a friend who said that while the fog is no longer all encompassing, it is still very much a foggy road ahead.
We can now see to our left and right. We can even feel confident about the next couple of months. But beyond two or three months there is fog., and we are driving toward it. The not knowing provides us with more questions than answers, which can be disconcerting.
Is COVID going to hit us hard again? Will homeowners move back into lockdown? Will the government bail us out again? Will all this create the same demand for remodeling? Are team members going to have too many scares that it is tough to get through it again? How will the economy respond? Will the supply chain challenges get worse?
I am not saying this to validate the fear of this uncertainty. I am saying this to encourage you to think. I am asking these questions not for answers that we don’t know but for you to make your decisions today with these uncertainness in mind.
7 Tips for Steering Your Business Through Fog
- Slow down and ask the above questions before making any long-term decisions and commitments.
- Listen. Keep you ear to the ground and listen both to your peers and colleagues but also yourself—all can provide insights.
- Go strong on the no-brainer decisions and kick the can down the road a little on the big questionable ones.
- Join a peer group so you are not alone.
- Sell more projects that you can control the supply and the ability to execute.
- Make sure your marketing message and strategies are in place.
- Invest more time in thinking about the business, not just doing the business.
We all would like a sunny day with clear and long, beautiful views, but that is not the case as I write this. There is good news: that the fog is no longer all around us; and that we can see where we are stepping, and maybe even a few steps beyond that. The good new is we have now been through this unprecedented time before. We know that despite the turmoil homeowners may face, they continue to make us a priority in their lives. And for that, I think it's safe to say that we are all grateful.