Recently the Small Business Administration issued new rules and procedures to have Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven. Key changes are as follows:
Consumers have been forced to shop online during stay-at-home mandates, even if they had not previously been much of an online shopper. Derek Thompson recently pointed out in The Atlantic, "Online shopping has gone from a regular habit for a minority of consumers to a crucial part of America's recreational infrastructure.
Health and well-being are top of mind for most of your potential clients and provide a marketing opportunity for designers and showrooms who can demonstrate how their designs and knowledge can contribute to their clients' health and well-being.
Even though most every BKBG showroom has opened to the public, many have team members working remotely at least some of the time. The keys to keeping those who are working from home engaged and productive are as follows:
Many BKBG Shareholders have reopened their showrooms and are following federal, state and local health agency guidelines to protect their teams and clients. Keeping everyone safe and healthy may involve wearing masks, washing hands, checking temperatures and social distancing for the immediate future and most likely beyond. The challenge for most showrooms is to ensure that guidelines in place are consistently followed. And to be successful, you and your team will need to change your behavior.
There's no guide, standard operating procedures or even experiences that showroom owners can turn to for direction. We know of some owners that have had to take a pay cut, furlough great team members and be the bearer of bad news. Plus, working from home is not easy, especially if your role also includes homeschooling and keeping your kids from bouncing off the walls.
There is little doubt that our experience under stay-at-home orders for more than two months will change the nature of work in the future. Expect most every kitchen and bath business to evaluate its showroom space needs, but do not expect that most showrooms will adopt a work from home model for 100% of their employees. The truth is that working at the office works.
Listening is an art form, and there is a sound argument that listening is as important if not more important than presentation abilities. In a recent interview, co-founder and CEO of the private equity firm Blackstone Group Steve Schwartzman was asked what it takes to be an outstanding leader. He responded, “to be a leader you have to be a really good listener. You need to understand what goes on around you.”
In this crazy new environment that we find ourselves in, Zoom, Facetime and other video conferencing tools are go-to tools to communicate and connect. Spending the lion's share of your day staring at a computer screen at colleagues’ faces three feet away can be exhausting. Video meetings force you to focus more intently on conversations to absorb information. During a face-to-face meeting, you can pause or easily ask questions. On a video call, asking a question requires either using the chat feature or unmuting your microphone to interrupt the presenter or speaker.
Regardless of your location in North American, now is the time that you should start planning to reopen your showroom when sheltering in place requirements are lifted. Most certainly, the showroom that you return to will not operate the same way as the showroom you left. There is no precedence for reopening, but you may be able to learn from the experiences of retailers that have remained open during the pandemic, e.g., grocery stores.