By: Robert Fukui

If you recall the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, you’ll recall that his character was a self-absorbed news reporter that had an assignment to cover the yearly celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The next morning after covering the yearly ritual, Murray’s character, Phil, awoke to find it was the same day. Groundhog Day.

Well, aren’t we all feeling that way during COVID-19 lockdown?

Bright Spot for Your Business During Lockdown

While many are using this movie as a negative analogy of life as we know it, there is a bright side to this scenario for you and your business.

If you recall in the movie, once Phil figured out what was going on he eventually embraced the situation and started to better himself by learning the piano, french and poetry. He also started to care about others and even saved a homeless man’s life. Lastly, he even got the girl once he found out what was important to her (Rita) as opposed to what he wanted.

So like Phil, how can you use this COVID-19 version of Groundhog Day to better yourself and your business? Because just like the movie this situation will end and you’re going to want to come out of it better than you started.

Lockdown Improvements You Can Make

Here are some thought starters that every business should think about to be better prepared as the lockdown lifts.

  • Strengthen Relationships- Be more intentional to reach out to past, current and future customers via phone call, text, emails, social media, webinars or other to find out how they’re doing and provide them something of value that could help them during this time. It may or may not lead to immediate sales but it will definitely create relationship equity which will have a big payback later.
  • Stay Healthy- Develop and communicate your own healthy procedures for keeping your employees and customers safe when doing business. Examples: All employees wearing mask and face shields, throwaway menus or ordering directly off the website/App even when dining in to limit contact, or always cleaning desks/chairs after each client visit. This type of preparedness and thought will build trust with your customers and show you are looking out for their best interest.
  • Improve the Experience- Get innovative and create the best experience for your customers given the restrictions you have to work under. Examples: Improving the curbside pickup experience by having employees carrying an iPad with store inventory so customers can make any changes to the order curbside. How about implementing digital signature software for industries that allow it so customers can sign at home instead of having to visit your office in person?
  • Don’t Forget Your Family- Whether you’re married or single, you may never have this time again to invest into the relationships that matter most. Like Phil, spend the time to find out what matters most to them and meet their needs instead of worrying about yours. You’ll notice a positive difference in your relationship with them.

Think Long Term

Your business may have already made some changes to do business as best you can. So I encourage you to think long term and figure out ways to make the current experience even better for your customer in the future.

Most likely, business will never get back to exactly how it was before and customers may still want to do business this new way even if restrictions are completely lifted. So it would be in your long term interest to be prepared for this new way of doing business and keep it as an option for customers moving forward.

Simply continue to improve upon the “new normal.”

Author: Robert Fukui is president of i61, inc. He and his wife Kay Lee assist married couples who own business(es) improve their communication and conflict resolution skills while developing growth strategies for the business.