Facing the Future with a Plan

Alicia Bull

August is here and obviously COVID-19 still is too. It’s been around five months since our world was flipped upside down and we discovered everything about how we operate was in jeopardy of needing to be altered. Simple things, from how we open a door with our bare hands to more complicated things like working remotely via zoom meetings have been put in front of us. I’m an old dog, so admittedly my “new trick” potential has been a struggle. I try to wear a mask, I try to sanitize, I try to wash my hands and I also try to social distance. I realize all of the things I listed are a piece of the pie in the world of safety measures to prevent the contraction and spread of COVID-19. I try, but I do fail at times. I’m constantly catching myself exiting my car without a mask and/or entering back into my car without sanitizing. I touch my face nonstop when I have a mask on as well, I’m a corona prevention rookie. Let’s face it, the only people used to being so sanitary were a select sector of our community, generally in the medical field.

I had no clue we would still be battling this pandemic come August, I had planned on being in full-on economic recovery mode. The reality is that the battle I had envisioned fighting in August regarding COVID-19 wasn’t going to be whether a restaurant can seat 6 people together but was going to be a strong focus on business recovery and normalcy. This brings me to my next thought…………. What’s normal anymore? Will that pre-COVID-19 lifestyle ever return?

I believe as a business community we need to move past how life was before the pandemic and see this as an opportunity to build a new fresh foundation for how we operate. We have the chance to build our business community back as a stronger economic engine than we have had in previous years. We can focus on adaptive business practices, such as adding a web-based component to your business or you can adjust business hours to be available during peak hours. I have seen local business owners working on and fine-tuning their business plans and certainly modifying their budgets and positioning their businesses for success in an environment that is very different from this time last year. It’s ok to change your focus in the middle of the game, the target was moved, so alterations are almost mandatory.

Our business community has an interesting road ahead of us, we have no choice but to move forward. Once able, how we move forward is up to us. Is there a way for us to focus on reopening stronger than we were before. Is there a way to be more focused on money-saving practices or adjusting your business offering? We need to think, we need to plan, we need to create a new normal that is perhaps different but perhaps better. I ask you to take the time to get organized, to crunch budget numbers, to rethink your operations. The changes may help you feel more comfortable with what normal looks like today. Please feel free to contact the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber for business support at 360-748-8885.

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