Erica Hakonson, Principal of Maven Collective Marketing and CMO of Orchestry, is an award-winning entrepreneur, named Female Entrepreneur of the Year (Silver Winner) from the Stevie Awards and Female Executive & Rising Star of the Year (2X Bronze Winner) from the Databird Business Journal. She has also lead Maven Collective Marketing agency to multi-award winning success, including MarCom Gold Award, 2X dotComm Gold Awards, Standard of Excellence WebAward, Summit Creative Bronze International Award, and PRDaily Category Winner.
1. How can businesses smooth the transition of reopening their business in the coming weeks or months?[EH]: For businesses reopening amidst all the changing variables of this pandemic, I continue to encourage you to keep communicating. Keep sharing with your customers/clients your plans, the changes you have made, what you need from them, and what the reality of the ‘new norm’ means for you. One of the positives that have come out of these last few months is that individuals recognize the need to support the local SMBs they love. The more you can empower these customer champions to help you through these transitions, with the right information, the better support you will see. Having both a strong internal communication plan & strategy for employees as well as a strong external communication plan & strategy for clients, partners, suppliers, and the public will serve you well in these uncertain times.
2. What are the differences between business operations pre and post-COVID and what is your advice to small businesses adapting to the new normal?[EH]: The differences for small business pre- COVID and I’d say now, in COVID, are monumental. Working in the technology sector through this pandemic has been a wild journey. So many of our clients have scrambled to meet the demands of the market, launching new products, delivering virtual events, building educational content, and partnering with innovative viable technical solutions to new problems. It feels as though we are rocketing at warp speed to meet these surmounting demands in this everchanging landscape.
To this end, it is critically important for businesses at this time to be highly malleable, adaptive, and creative. These turbulent times call for untested, untraditional, and unpredictable solutions. Our advice to our clients these days has been to be agile, open, authentic, innovative, and maniacally client-focused. We also advise looking for uncommon solutions to challenges, such as partnerships. Working with some tirelessly dedicated entrepreneurs and leaders, we of course like to remind clients, to remember to take care of themselves and their families first, as when there is an imbalance in health, security, and support at home, that usually shows up in the business too.