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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
This summer feels like a frenzy of catching up with the life you put on pause in early 2020. And, although many aspects of life are returning to normal, there are some ways in which the world will be permanently changed.
To move forward in a productive way during this period of immense change, it’s important to take the time to reconnect, recharge and reassess. Here are three key ways to prepare for the months ahead and set yourself up for success in the fall.
Take time for yourself
With easing restrictions, there is pressure to make up for lost time and reconnect with family members and friends who you haven’t seen for so long. There’s also universal excitement about returning to favorite restaurants, seeing favorite bands live in concert and hitting up local bars.
The gradual opening up of society is cause to celebrate, but going out anytime the opportunity presents itself will catch up to you in the long run. It’s important to take some time for yourself to recharge and process all that’s happening in the world around you. Set personal boundaries and be patient with yourself as you adjust to a new normal.
It’s also important to keep in mind the wide range of emotions that major life adjustments tend to bring along. The transition people are going through now is just as significant as the transition into lockdown experienced in March 2020. Transitions can be stressful and overwhelming, and it is important to acknowledge how you are handling things. Permit yourself to experience whatever feelings come up for you.
With so much change, keeping some things the same is an important way to stay grounded. Keep up your quarantine hobby, whether it be baking, reading or getting outside. Keeping some consistency in your routine can help you feel centered when the world is changing all around you.
Assess how consumer trends are changing
Just as the past months have changed peoples’ behaviors and attitudes, millions of others are grappling with similar lifestyle shifts. Mass changes in behavior have occurred almost overnight. For example, the number of people going out to bars and traveling has skyrocketed, while food delivery apps are seeing sales plummet.
Look for these underlying trends and think about how you can prepare for them. For example—if you sell printing materials, create sample designs advertising in person events. If you are an online retail company suffering from the return of in person shopping, get creative with new ways you can stay relevant. The key is flexibility.
Because 2020 forced us to rely on virtual forms of interaction, many customers expect to have a consistent experience both online and in person moving forward. Now is the time to collaborate with your team to find the best way to provide a seamless consumer experience on all the platforms you use to interact with your customers. This is also a good time to discuss whether you need to realign your company’s approach and assess what is not working as things open up.
Keeping a keen awareness of these customer expectations and market changes is key to ensuring the success of your business during any transitional period. One way to keep in touch with the changing needs of your customers is to perform customer surveys. A survey can give you the feedback you need to better understand your customers and more precisely prepare for the coming months.
Although responsiveness to customer feedback can give us the best chance to prepare for the future, this past year has taught us that change can come suddenly and without warning. Use the lessons you learned about uncertainty in 2020 and continue to be prepared for whatever obstacles the world might throw at us next.
Welcome all ideas and opinions
All of this change, both personally and professionally, can be too much to tackle on your own. Lean on your support network to help you work through this transition in a healthy way. We are all living through a shared experience, and talking about these changes with your friends, family and employees can improve your own mental state and strengthen your relationships with others.
In your professional life, this transitional period is a valuable opportunity to bond over shared experiences with your employees and provide a space to think creatively about the future of your business. In your personal life, take the opportunity to celebrate, grieve, and transition in the company of loved ones. Processing a transition collectively can help us all begin to move on with life as normal.
Now more than ever is the time to get creative, stay open-minded, and incorporate the ideas of all of those around you. In 2020 we all had time alone to think about the changing world around us. Now is the time to get together, share ideas and boost everyone’s success both personally and professionally.