Expert AdviceLeadership

How to be resilient during uncertain times

Author: Lindsay Gaskins
President, The Bike Cooperative
Senior Executive responsible for bringing innovative operational and technology solutions to fuel the growth of the independent business members of one of the largest purchasing cooperatives in the retail space, with more than 2,800 locations in North America, spanning 14 business units.

If you are an organization executive of small business members like I am, conventions and trade shows are a big part of how we do business. It’s normal to travel throughout the country to attend annual meetings that define plans and expectations for the year ahead and most importantly, connect us with our members.

But business in 2020 has been anything but normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled or postponed nearly all events, and groups like ours have missed out on invaluable face time with members. As businesses whose livelihood is centered around member participation, pivoting isn’t just a good idea – it’s essential for survival.

Here are a few ways to be proactive and resilient during uncertainty and embrace the new ways of doing business.

  • Engage your network with more calls to action.

    Does your network only connect during convention week? Start engaging more often and more consistently. Start a Facebook or LinkedIn group if you haven’t already, and encourage your group to share best practices. Creating more calls to action for your group will deliver more value and help you stay top of mind as a resource for members.

  • Continue to leverage flexibility.  

    We’ve all had to make it work during the past few months. And, many companies are seeing productivity increase as a result of more flexibility in their work style. Continue to use this mindset by questioning why you do things the way you do them. Are there new ways to make your daily operations more accessible, transparent, or efficient?  Look at the way you are serving your network from a new angle. 

  • Host a monthly webinar series.

    Choose a specific subject to discuss for 1 hour at a consistent time each month or week. Consider the questions that are most pressing for members right now –  How do I take advantage of SBA loans during this time? What does the payroll tax mean for my business? How do I re-open safely?  Support your business group leaders by offering a conference call or Facebook live to offer best practices and answer questions.

  • Reimagine conferences.

    If you already planned for a conference that won’t be happening until 2021, consider doing a call or email campaign instead. Use new methods to promote your programs and incorporate your previously planned giveaways as prizes for high member engagement. We’ve also seen a lot of partners have success with virtual conferences and round-robin “speed dating” events!

  • Add new programs to increase engagement.

    Make up for the lost face-to-face time by adding more value for your membership. The Bike Cooperative team recently added a complimentary hiring benefit and we are also launching a free digital audit tool to help Bike Shop owners optimize their digital storefront.  Both of these new programs were easy add-ons to our membership and completely hands-free for us thanks to CCA Member Solutions.

  • Go the extra mile.

    Remember to think of your team and members as people first. We are all living through a new, unprecedented time. Check-in with your network and ask for feedback – How can you help? What do they need? As leaders, this is a good opportunity to listen and learn from our network on how we can be a stronger support system.

Consider this time of disruption a good opportunity to take action, make changes, and re-establish your commitment to serving your network. We need to work together to help our local member businesses make it through this business cycle an rise up from uncertainty. 

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