Forbes: Staying Relevant When Business Isn’t As Usual
As we adjust to a constantly shifting “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic, the best thing we can do is to focus on being adaptable. We have to be creative and think outside the box, figure out how to remain visible and relevant, and find the best ways to effectively reach out to our customers, friends, and colleagues through various online platforms. So, how do you effectively conduct business in a new and unique environment when the rules have changed?
Think of How You Present Yourself on Video
Things are changing rapidly, as businesses have had to figure out ways to support their employees, and employees have had to get used to working from home. More than ever before, appearances are dictating professionalism, which translates into an “I care about you” motif.
Those of us who were a bit shy about being on video have had to get used to Zoom meetings (and figuring out how to look our best without our colleagues noticing we are secretly wearing our cozy lounging-around pajama clothes every day).
I’ve always believed the best way to sparkle on video is to wear jewelry. Earrings, necklaces, and rings that flash whenever you move your hands will help polish your look. Other details such as camera angles and lighting are important—especially when all people have to go on is your face on a computer screen, combined with a confident attitude.
The uncomfortableness of this new landscape can lend itself to stress, but at the same time, allows us to take a deeper dive into our own abilities to cope with this new scenario.
Part of our adjustment to the “new normal” is the realization that we will have to endure a lot of unknowns for an indefinite amount of time. So how does a business adapt and thrive during these challenging times? At my company, Gemological Science International (GSI), we decided we would use this time to focus on updating our online presence. Part of this is developing our Research & Education offerings by finessing our course offerings as well as improving new and existing services, products, methods, facilities, and processes in our industry.
I would recommend taking inventory of all of the “wish list” projects that your company has always wanted to complete but never seems to have time for. Every business has them! Talk to your supervisor about taking on some of those tasks as a way to keep you motivated during downtimes.
Communicate Your Presence Online
GSI decided to take a step back when COVID-19 hit and take a more substantive look at our business model. We asked ourselves how we could still add value to the industry during a turbulent time. We observed how people were communicating with one another, and how increasingly powerful the various social media channels were. We make it a mission to stay relevant, be innovative, and stay ahead of the curve.
We decided to use our social media as the primary means of connecting with people and educating them about GSI’s offerings, gemstone facts, famous historical stones and artifacts, iconic designers, jewelry trends, and industry news. We found that people really respond to this form of communication. We attribute this to the beauty and aesthetics of the visuals we present, as well as informative post content. People have also been asking interesting questions, which we enjoy answering as part of our GSI Education mandate. These interactions have taken us to the next level as a brand.
For any business, KPI’s are important. In addition to finding the most effective way of measuring your social media growth and web analytics, I’d recommend auditing your online content to see how it measures against that of your top competitors. In the digital landscape we all learn from each other. Since social platforms are constantly being updated, research is an excellent way to learn about new features that you can adapt for your business.
Online communication not only connects you to those interested in your business, but allows you to take a deep dive into your industry. Last year, I started a blog at www.InDepthWithDebbie.com as another way to communicate online. This has been an amazing vehicle that’s allowed me to take a more astute look into jewelry trends and industry news through long-form articles.
If you are debating starting a blog, think about what it would look like in terms of content. Map it out on paper. Do you want to focus on a singular theme, or do you want to have different categories that fall under the umbrella of the main theme? Do you want to include video? Remember that once you start a blog, it’s important to keep posting consistently so you attract a loyal base of followers, and always promote new content on your social media platforms. Yes, it takes discipline to be consistent, but if it’s a passion project, you really can’t go wrong.
Hopefully, over time, people’s health fears will continue to be less of a factor in our everyday lives. Business will continue, even though it may not be business as usual. What this will mean in terms of necessary precautions is hard to predict. Resilience involves understanding your strengths and weaknesses so that you can be pragmatic and bounce back stronger from inevitable missteps.
The good news is that as the world slows down, there is more time to set some personal and professional goals for yourself. I find that keeping a journal and working through some of your ideas will really help to clarify your direction and motivate you to reach new goals.
However the world looks, staying relevant when business is anything but normal requires thoughtfulness about how to create an effective work/life balance and sensitivity towards others, whether at home or in the workplace. It’s important to be creative, empathetic, and patient. Companies will need to evolve—mine included—and continue to move forward with what we have learned, adapting to the “new normal.”
Previously Published on Forbes.com
About The Author
Debbie Azar is the Co-Founder and President of Gemological Science International (GSI), one of the largest gemological organizations in the world, and a distinguished leader in the global diamond and jewelry industry. As an executive with extensive knowledge of the jewelry and gem lab industries, her entrepreneurial skills and vision have helped GSI achieve rapid and continuous growth worldwide, establishing 13 leading-edge gemological facilities on four continents. She currently serves on the boards of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Responsible Jewellery Council, and Jewelers for Children, and is a member of the 24 Carat Club of New York. She has been featured in Forbes, Daily Mail, Good Morning America, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fox Business, Fox5, CBS2, BOLDTV, Varney&Co, The Street, and NASDAQ, among others.