Nunzio Presta is an ex-pro hockey player turned entrepreneur! He is also the Founder & CEO of BizON, an online marketplace with over 10,000 active users looking to buy, sell, and grow businesses or franchises every day.
1. How can businesses smooth the transition of reopening their business in the coming weeks or months?
Patience and readiness, especially as a business owner, are the order of the day. Also, being a good citizen who respects rules and suggestions for the betterment of the community, especially for those who are vulnerable, should be taken seriously. The goal is to do good, survive, and not tarnish any relationships on the path to reopening. Over the last month I’ve had many insightful conversations with business leaders and users of our marketplace, and being in a crouching ready position and prepared from the moment the lockdown began is how most were thinking. As business owners, we need to be very agile and open with our thinking, acknowledging that life at the moment with coronavirus can’t be risk-free, but we can minimize harm – mentally, physically & economically by implementing the right things. This requires thorough and diligent thinking on multiple facets of your business when reopening. For example, remote working, flex work, and working from home may no longer be a perk, but rather something that is essential to attracting and retaining top talent. We’re humans, we always find a way, we always evolve and we will always survive. As a business leader, manager, or owner you need to be optimistic and embrace change and digital transformation. People are not motivated or energized by pessimists.
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?
Physical distancing, the importance of mental wellness, and digital transformation have accelerated and heightened. For most businesses, this type of acceleration was probably on their 18 to the 24-month roadmap, but COVID snapped that into 2 months. But to be totally transparent with everyone, things won’t go back to normal 100%. There will be a new normal, and that new normal is a work in progress that is evolving every day as we battle to contain this brutal virus. However, the new normal won’t be as drastic as people think. One of my mentors said it the best – “every time I’ve thought there’s going to be massive change as a result of some hardship we’re going through it always falls short of the change that people have predicted.” So, my advice is, audit your business environment (social, economic, technology trends) and adapt! For example, the hardest hit spaces like restaurants and retail should be thinking about a model that is “pandemic proof” in away. They should be digging deep on floor layouts, the elimination of buffets, and scheduling one-on-one retail experiences. Many businesses also have to acknowledge the uptick in services such as personal shopping (clothing/home decor), grocery/fresh produce delivery, and meal kit services. If you looked at these players as a threat, I implore you to look at them now as partners.