The process of moving forward after the massive disruption created by the COVID-19 is not going to be easy, so as early as possible, you need to figure out how you can go about things. A “new normal” has begun to settle, and the best way of moving forward is finding ways to find your place within the renewed status quo. Danette Gossett is the owner of Gossett Marketing. She joins Bob Roark to dive into planning the process of moving forward after COVID-19. If you’ve mapped out what you need to move forward, you won’t feel trapped by the future, so let Bob and Danette show you the way through.
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Moving Forward After COVID-19 With Danette Gossett
On the continuing series with Danette Gossett of Gossett Marketing out of Miami. We’re talking about what the business owners are going through and Danette as a business owner and observations and maybe some things to consider as the landscape is starting to shift to possibly people coming back to work. Danette, thanks for taking the time again.
Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.
From your thoughts, what are you starting to see on the landscape that’s starting to change?
People are talking about, “When are we going to reopen? How is this going to change? What’s going to be our new normal?” A lot of companies have gone remote workers and not everybody closed down. There were a lot of people working from home. I talked to you were talking that not everybody is going to go back to the office. They’re going to stay remote. Some people are looking at, I don’t need to have that big office building lease. We can have a smaller office somewhere and people will continue to work remotely. If you’re doing that, what are you doing with your employees to keep them feeling like they’re part of the team, they are being productive, and they are being motivated? They’re not getting burned out because I don’t know about you, but I spend eight hours a day on the phone and on Zoom meetings. It’s not like the old days where I’ve had a meeting after meeting, but at least then I got to be able to get in the car and drive to another location, get a break for 15, 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes. Now, you hang up the phone and you start the next one and pick it up again. It’s exhausting being in front of this computer screen all day long.
You think of the mental depress and as you go through these and you start to recognize, it’s back-to-back. You have to be spot on, listening, and caring. You can’t loaf in between, you can’t reset. One of the things to consider is as you set your phone calls up if you can then take and put a break in between. You take this, I’m going to take 5 or 10 minutes in between I’m going to go outside, I’m going to go for a short walk, I’m going to go and down the stairwell. I’m going to do something to maintain the machine because we’re all thinking maybe it’s going to be a shorter time frame, but if this ends up being a marathon instead of a sprint, then you go, “How do we adjust to the new normal and maintain our personal machine and outlook?”
We need to maintain it and employers need to understand that. You’re right about saying sprint versus a marathon. A lot of businesses were thinking, “This is a sprint. We’re going to get this done and you all will be back to work. I need you to get all these new initiatives figured out before we get back into the office.” Even though we are talking about getting back to work, it’s going to be a slow process. They’re not going to turn a switch on and we all go back to the normal. They’re saying methodical and fourteen days of trying one thing and then another fourteen days. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.
What are we doing for our employees and our teammates to make sure that they feel as if they are appreciated for all that they are doing? Everyone is appreciative that they’re getting a paycheck, but some are getting a lesser paycheck. Some are worried, “How long is my paycheck going to last? Are you going to continue to pay me?” If things continued to progress as they are, some people aren’t coming back. We’re in Miami, where all Caribbean cruise lines announced that they’re laying off 26% of their workforce permanently. They’re not furloughing, some of them furloughed for 90 days.
That weighs on a lot of people because all of a sudden they’re like, “We understand why because no one can’t cruise right now.” At the same token, what does that do to other industries and what does it do to the employees? Are they thinking, “I thought my company was a big company and secure, what am I going to do?” I interviewed a young lady who worked for a small company and she’s been laid off. I’m hoping that we’ll see if we work out. I may be brought onto my team, but I’ve put it out. I was going on LinkedIn and doing some things, reaching out to some people and she responded immediately. I was reaching out to people in the industry. I was looking for employees, but I wasn’t looking and I wasn’t saying it upfront. She immediately attached her resume and said, “I need a position.” People are scared out there, even if they have a job. Do companies need to be thinking about what they are doing? Have they sent them a care package at home?
Being transparent too, to the extent that you can. Let’s say your employees are concerned about their jobs and so on. You go, “Here’s where we are and this is what we’re doing. This is how we see it.” We’ve got a smaller business here. We even had somebody says, “How’s my job look?” I go, “We’ll be unemployed before you will be.” That’s in our particular firm where we look at. Borrowing from a tip from a good friend here in Colorado. She was commenting that she’s journaling every day. In the journaling space, not only is that a good reflective piece, so it helps you maintain sanity. The other part is, there’ll be some observations throughout the course of the day that will help you.
We get to the once in a lifetime event every ten years. It’d be nice to have a journal to go back and go, “What did I do? What did I feel? What was the remedy? What should I have done differently? What can I do better?” If you’re going to be paying all this tuition from all of this stuff, not of your making, you go, “Do I know my financial truly well? Was I leveraged or not? Was I the right size with my employees? What was my outreach like?” All of those things. If you’re going to take in and put up with all this stuff because you don’t have a choice of putting up or not, journaling would be extremely valuable.
Everyone should anyway and I do but I have to admit that I haven’t. Now that you’re reminding me that, I will definitely start doing it again. It is something that helps a lot of people. It helps you to look at from a perspective what you’re grateful for, “I’m still here. I still have my health. I’ve got my dogs. I’ve got a roof over my head and I still have business coming in.” As much as I did, but I do have business coming in.
The other thing too is we get caught in the press of the day. Let’s say there’s one of your clients that says something in particular and you write it down in the day. In the process of the week, I’m going to do an after-action report, look back over the week, look at my notes and you go, “That’s an opportunity. That clients said was an opportunity.” If you hear that more than once from other clients, you go, “That’s a trend.” Particularly if they keep saying it the same way, that’s good sales copy. If you’re going to try to reach out to other people that are you experiencing whatever that those clients are saying verbatim, it will resonate. There’s an opportunity. The purpose of the show that we’re doing is, to notice our observations. What are we seeing that people are doing? What are we doing? How can we help you? The reader, maybe out of all of this stuff, there’s one idea that will help you. If there’s one idea, we’ve done what we’re supposed to do.
That’s the thing. I listened to a lot of podcasts, I’ve watched a lot of webinars on there and I’ve had people say, “Why do you spend your time on that?” I said, “I’m looking for that one nugget that I can use for my business.” I was on one with BIC Graphic. I’m sure everybody’s familiar with BIC pens. I hadn’t even thought about it. She’s like, “Everybody’s needs to be doing single-use pens because who wants to pick up another pen?” I was at the vet with the young man that’s behind me. They’re lucky on the floor. I pulled a pen and I say, “You can’t go into the vet.” Usually, I have to sign the credit card receipt there. I pull the pen out of my pocketbook to take out into the parking lot because I didn’t want to use theirs. We didn’t have to, but normally they require you to sign and she said, “Everyone’s going to be single-use. Use one, take one as a pen.” I was like, “That’s a great idea.” I sent it off to a few clients and they were like, “We’re going to need to order.” Some of the banks, realtors, and different people like that, have people that have to sign documents that before they would use a pen.It's exhausting being in front of a computer screen all day long. Click To Tweet
You’d think about the opportunity for messaging on the takeaway pen, “We care about your health.” Whatever it is that you say, which is the point.
One of the things that they were saying is they have an antimicrobial pen. It makes sure that germs don’t grow on it. Not only they’re looking out for your health. As you sign a document, when you take it with you, the pen is going not to continue to carry germs on. There’s much messaging you can do with that and there’s much that you can say, “We care about you and your health now and into the future. This is why we’re doing this for you.” The companies need to be thinking about that for the future because I don’t think people are going to all of a sudden go, “COVID-19 is over, so I can do everything the way I used to do it.” People are going to be concerned. They’re going to be wary of handshakes.
They’re going to be wary of going back to their desk, who’s touched my desk in the last 24 hours before I got to my desk? What am I going to do? Am I going to wear a mask every day? Do I want to have a hand sanitizer at my desk? Employers also to be thinking about when things do loosen up and they can go back to work, what are they going to welcome their employees back with? Are they going to have a mask and a hand sanitizer at their desk? Are they going to have an antimicrobial mouse pad? Are they going to have an antimicrobial pen at their desk? Are they going to provide them a water bottle that’s antimicrobial? What are they going to do for their employees to make them feel comfortable being back in the office? That’s part of the process. If you’re going to be productive, you’re going to have to feel comfortable that you can do your job without becoming ill.
You’ll have a broad range of employees. Some will pay attention and some will not. As an employer, what do you do to protect the responsible portion of your population? Do you do an attempt to check when everybody comes in? Do you attempt to check when everybody leaves? If so, what’s the procedure? What’s the policy? Do you have the tool? What’s the policy and procedure if somebody does have an elevated temp? What do you do there and how do you take and observe? Is company policy going to reflect what’s your behavior is going to be so you don’t get in trouble? I was thinking, my car looks like the Dickens because it’s snowed out here a lot. We’ve got all the road stuff.
I can’t believe you snow and we’re at 95 degrees.
You think, “Do I want to take it through a carwash?” Not really, because the guys have been in God knows how many cars. You go, “I’ll modify that thought process and put up with it for a while longer.” A simple cut to the things that we used to do and continue to do. By caring for your employees and demonstrating that you care, that translates to your customers as well. If they know what you’re doing and you’re trying to help your customers be aware and take care of their business, customers, and employees as well.
That’s the other side of that equation. What are you doing for your customers or your prospective customers? Are you staying in touch with them on a regular basis and how? Are you reaching out and saying, “How are you doing? What is going on for you?” I made a few of those calls. I didn’t get as many in as I wanted to. What are you doing for your customers to make sure that they know you’re in business? One of my account managers, she said, “It’s amazing.” She had several emails in a row that were sent to her that said, “Are you guys open and working?” That’s a good sign and I’m like, “Yes, that’s a good sign.” They want to know we’re here.
There’s one of the things, there’s any number of webinars, Zoom, this, that, and the other on what you should be doing. It seems like the world woke up and said, “We need to be doing outreach.” Everybody gets focused and going forward to the point that there’s more available than you have time for. With all of that stuff, you can get inundated with things to do and when you get overwhelmed or when I get over the task, what I try to do is I’ll reach out to 1 or 2 people that are either older or they’re part of my inner circle people that I don’t feel an energy drain after I talked to them. I find myself doing calls every day to people in there going, “How are you?” Not, “Let’s do some business.” It’s, “Do you need anything?” The thing that happens people forget in the virus world, we’ve been fighting viruses.
I’m older. I remember taking my polio vaccine on a sugar cube at Hyde Park Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida as a kid. It was a national event. Everybody was getting a polio vaccine. We’ve dealt with viruses forever. We’ll deal with this one too. It’s dim and destruction, but there’s some extraordinary technology coming that will deal with this particular virus and it’ll mitigate it or create immunity or we’ll deal with it one way or another. This isn’t forever. There are opportunities amidst all the chaos. Stepping back from the noise periodically and going, “Where’s the opportunity? What are my clients saying? What am I going to be doing in two weeks? What are they going to be doing and when are the people coming back?” Amidst all of that, start writing things down that works for me. Maybe it doesn’t work for everybody else, but writing them down.
For me, I’ll write something down one, I remember it if I write it down and two, it gives me something to look at and go, “I was going to look at that. I was going to think about that.” If companies are writing some of the things down that they hadn’t thought about, or maybe they do think about daily about their employees, everybody’s running 1,000 miles a minute. Sometimes you need to take a step back and look at, “Who is being impacted in my company or my client’s companies? What can we do to help them in establishing a better routine or giving them a little laugh or giving them a little motivation so that they don’t feel that they’re alone?” We need people still to be productive and they need to be getting things done so that when the businesses reopened that they can handle it. I was talking to somebody and she’s like, “I feel like I stuck my head in the sand. I don’t want to pay attention to this and I’m tired of it. I was doing well for the first couple of weeks, but now I’m done.” Companies need to be cognizant of the burnout that their employees are feeling.
What do you do to recharge?
I am doing water aerobics in my pool.
For us in Colorado, that would be water aerobics on the top of the pool.
I hurt my foot. I have a water seal. I had been walking 20 to 25 miles a week and I overdid it before all this happened. I haven’t been able to do my walking. I do yoga a good amount. In the last couple of weeks, I wanted to be outside and yes, I could do yoga outside. I was like, “I have a CD of an old water aerobics class.” I pulled it out and I put myself in the pool. I had a blast because when I was outside and I hadn’t done it in a long time. I felt good afterward. I was like, “This is good.” I can do some of my mastermind group. I do have a mastermind group. We used to speak every other week, but we speak as a group every week because of this situation. One of the people in the group is like, their goal is not to drink wine or alcoholic beverage every day. That is their goal. “I don’t want to drink everyday type of thing.” That’s one thing that people are talking about is that “I realize, I shouldn’t be drinking that full bottle of wine every night.”
There’s a guy that I know. He said part of his regimen is right at his desk before he goes upstairs from his basement where he’s working, he says, “I have this step up thing and I have two kettlebells.” He says, “I did the step up. I pick up my kettlebells when I’m going up the stairwell, I carry my kettlebells. I put them at the top of the stairwell. When I get done talking to the humans,” which is his family, and he says, “I pick up the kettlebells, come back down and have to step on the box. Every time I’m up and out I have to do that.” He says, “Through the course of the day, it mounts up.” When you think about, “How simple is that?” It’s extremely simple.
Luckily, my dogs get me up and out much about once an hour. They get up from my chair and take them outside and be out. I do feel that I haven’t because I am taking the essential services seriously. I don’t go out often. We’re a bit lucky where I had some issues. I went to the vet. I was shocked at how many cars were out. There wasn’t that way when I was out. I think they’re trying to get on with their lives, which is fine to a point.Help your employees feel comfortable being back in the office. Click To Tweet
I get the feeling from the observation that North Dakota opened up for business as usual. They’ve got a smaller population base, but my sense is people are finally getting to the point where going whatever the casualty rate might be, we’re getting to the point where we’ve had all of this we are willing to tolerate. The hospitals are set up better than they were. There’s going to be this move afoot where people are going to take says, “Regardless, we’re going to go back to work or we’re going to go outside or we’re going to go back to life.” For better or worse, that’s what’s going to happen.
For the business owners and the people that are reading, the entire idea behind this is, Danette and I have known each other for a long time. Danette’s a gifted marketer and has been in business and seen many different things come and go. Her perspective is geographically different than mine but the business concepts are the same. She’s in the pool and I’ve shoveled snow that there is no justice. For the business owners out there, if you get stuck in the mud, we’ve got a couple of other episodes that are in production. They’ll be released soon about how to use your contact list? How to get unstuck? Any number of topics that might be helpful. Trying to take and get some momentum.
That is the thing. I had a couple of times where I felt like I got sucker punched and I wanted to quit. I was like, “Why am I doing this?” I have been in business for many years and owning a business is hard. There are lots of rewards to it, but that’s also can be hard. There were days where I was like, “Why am I still doing this?” Something would happen. One of my account teams would come back and go, “I made this great sale or I made this great new connection.” I have a new business meeting that got scheduled. It was supposed to be several weeks ago before all this happened. We set it up as a Zoom call and they canceled on me. I’d send a note out but I didn’t hear back and all of a sudden, it pops up on my calendar. They sent me an invite to a meeting.
All of a sudden I was like, “Life is good. We’re moving forward. Things are going well.” For a while there, I was like, “I am done with this whole thing. I don’t want to do this anymore.” It’s natural. It’s okay and one day, I will admit, Wednesday was the day I got sucker punched and I walked out of my office at 6:15. I was like, “I’m done. I’m not working any later.” I got my pool and did my water aerobics. When I got out at 7:15, I was like a different person. I was a much better mood and I was like, “We will tackle this tomorrow morning. We will make this work.” People need to recognize that everyone’s pulling the same thing.
When you get fried, don’t operate heavy machinery. Don’t make any big decisions and then step back and it’s hard to be fried if you’re moving. You got to move physically, up and down a stairwell, walk, pet the dog, anything that you do that get your mind out of there and then reset. For me, my reset is the ritual in the morning. I do the same things every morning. If I don’t and it is what am I grateful for? Who do I need to contact that is close to my family and me? I write down, I’d talk to my kids and my wife, make sure every day in her day. I have a laundry list of all the things that I need to do for the day and prioritize. You go systems and we’ve talked about this in the previous episode. If you’re overwhelmed, take in 5 and 15-minute increments. Do one call, stand up, celebrate, you got to call done to go, “Reset. I do another one.” If you keep doing those things, then you wake up the end of the week and go, “I’ve got a lot done.”
The thing is that because people are working remotely, they are visiting social media more. If I said I was on LinkedIn and I got connections with people, I was looking for outreach for potential new salespeople for me, account managers. I would run into people that seemed interesting to me from a potential business perspective in the future. I reached out to some of them and they had nice titles and nice companies and they accepted my invitation. One said, “I’d love to talk to you.” Several weeks ago, would they have said that? I don’t think so.
There’s a perceptible shift. It’s like in the cartoons I used to watch with my kids, there was one little old lady says, “We’re all going to die.” You go, “We’re not all going to die.” You look at it and some of it’s the media. If you find yourself getting sucked in, quit watching TV. For sure, feed your mind with something positive, take a step back and execute on your business, and be one foot in front of the other. If you can’t figure it out, do one thing after the other and you’ll much get there. Not to belabor the point. Danette is successful, she’s going to take, and as she keeps the momentum going, she’ll come out at this particular problem stronger and faster. We’ll all have a different perspective and perhaps an appreciation for the collective behavior of humans when they get scared and when they decide not to be scared anymore.
Danette, I appreciate you being on the show. For you people out there and the business of all credit to you to run in your business, staying at it and contributing to the country. Clearly, the country needs the small business owner because 2/3 of all new jobs after the recession in 2008 was created by small business owners. We need you guys out there and we need you hiring these people back. I appreciate everything that you are doing. We do appreciate that it’s challenging out there, but the people that stay at it will certainly do better than the people who give up. On that note, Danette, do you have anything further you’d like to say?Because people are working remotely, they are also visiting social media more. Click To Tweet
The same thing. Make sure you’re showing appreciation to your employees. If it’s one employee, if it’s yourself, even if you have 1 or 1,000 employees, you need to be showing them some appreciation even if it’s just a phone call every day to say, “How are you doing?” Sending them a care package saying, “Have you thought about taking up yoga or resistance bands?” Something that you can send them to help them get that movement going. That making a plan for when it’s time for them to come back to the office. How are you going to make sure that they feel comfortable coming back to the office, safe to be coming back to the office? Ultimately, the teamwork is going to pay off in the long run.
On those words of wisdom, we’ll call it good for this session. Danette, I appreciate your time.
Thank you. Have a good one.