Reopening to the World: Let's Create a New Normal
By Andrea Isabelle Lucas
We’ve all got ‘em: the reopening butterflies. They’re a colorful mix of excitement, anticipation, uncertainty, fear, and a whole heap of big questions, most of which won’t get answered right away.
So, what’s a proactive business owner to do in the meantime?
We all know we won’t be returning to “business as usual” by any stretch of the imagination. Our studios, fitness centers, spas, and wellness businesses stand at a major pivot point that has all of us peering at the windows of our locked and dark buildings with anticipation:
It’s time to give some thought to what kind of “New Normal” we want to create.
Reconnect with your core values.
Do you have a strong sense of what core values drive your business? Think back on why you started in the first place: what was it that fueled the hard work it took to get off the ground, from big dream to big reality?
Start there. Just for a minute, strip away everything that has become “business as usual” and start right there.
Now is the time to check if your business offerings align with your core values and if you’ve gotten a little scattered or off-track, to steer them back in. It’s not uncommon for businesses to get a little scatter-shot over the years, especially in times of hardship. Treat this as the time to remedy that.
If that seems counterintuitive (shouldn’t we just do everything we can to get up and running?), think about it this way:
People can rally around a business more powerfully when they grasp what you stand for, and why you do what you do. Staying focused on your mission will help you to stay energized. It will inspire your clients to engage enthusiastically because they understand that you’re passionate about more than just great fitness classes or beauty services.
On top of that, aligning your business with your values means sustainability for you. That also means longevity for your studio for your staff and members. I know some leaders will have trouble hearing this, but you are the most important person in your business. Without you, there would be no studio for the many people who rely on it for employment, community, and well-being.
The recent upheaval in the world may not match what we had planned, but if we can detach from what we were expecting and get realigned with what we are genuinely committed to, we can navigate this new landscape with grace.
Now that’s a membership anyone would want to sign up for.
Take a stand for your business choices, and don’t apologize.
As business owners, managers, and overall decision-makers, we’ve got a lot of choices to make these days—you don’t need me to remind you of that! And of course, we’ll be on the receiving end of a ton of well-meaning advice, client requests and suggestions, staff opinions, and overall public recommendations. It’s a lot to process.
Here’s the thing to remember: we can’t please absolutely everyone. Not before the pandemic, not during, and certainly not now. Our job is to do our best to move forward with the knowledge we have, follow local, state, and national guidelines, and do what we think is best for our business— staff and clients included. As decisions are made, it can be helpful to lean toward the edge of overcommunication and transparency. Share your decision-making process. Let them know you’ve done your research and are continuing to stay informed. Share a little about the challenges, both practical and emotional, of making the tough choices.
The thing is, you are the one thinking about paying the rent, keeping staff employed, liability issues, tax time, and all of the other behind-the-scenes of running a business. Everyone else? They see things from their perspective. They’re looking at your product and offerings through the lens of what it means for them. That means many entirely different perspectives.
So, fully own your decisions. Be kind but firm, and as honest as you can about where you’re coming from. If that means setting firmer boundaries and no longer bending your rules, don’t negotiate your non-negotiables. If that means graciously closing conversations with people who doubt your judgment, protect your energy. If that means focusing more of your attention on the team members who are holding up your core values and supporting the mission, let this be a time of clarity.
All of this will show your clients that you are taking a strong stand for your values because you care. And if there’s one thing that we’ve seen loud and clear, it’s that our clients take notice when we put the good of the whole first in line.
Don’t forget about refreshing your personal “New Normal.”
As a business owner or manager, the workplace momentum can sweep us right along until we suddenly realize we’ve been working 60+ hour weeks, and it’s been ages since we went to a class. New projects, staff management, it can all start to pile up—and the assumption in the Old Normal was that intensity was just a prerequisite for running a business.
Now we have an opportunity to set the new normal. Maybe now is the right time to make changes to pricing, start enforcing policies, or set new ones to help create a business that is sustainable for you in the long term.
Hopefully, you’ve had the opportunity to establish some self-care practices during this crisis that have nourished you and replenished your body, mind, and soul.
Let’s not start with burnout right out of the gate.
Identify a few crucial self-care practices or foundations that have become central to your well-being and hold fast to them. Consider them non-negotiables and establish them as a part of your routine moving forward. If this means you need to practice delegation to get everything done, well, that’s some useful information, isn’t it?
Here’s to a new normal that doesn’t include burnout. To letting your core values inform not only your business decisions but your relationship with your career. And to revitalizing the wellness world with a New Normal that genuinely serves everyone.