Susan Katz Advantage is all about inspiring individuals to achieve their full potential through a laser-sharp process of business coaching and an accountability framework that’s second to none. CEO, Susan Katz, recently spoke with Pugh and Tiller’s, Megan Bozman, about networking and business coaching throughout the various phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marketing During the Pandemic – Pay It Forward
“To market during the pandemic, businesses need to determine how to add value to others rather than selling their services. How can you help somebody else so they’re doing well? Pay it forward and have people be able to rely on you as a resource. That’s what I’ve seen has been most effective, and that’s how people have built their brand reputation.
Organizations like The Alternative Board (TAB), provider of CEO advisory boards and business coaching, are hosting webinars. They’ve done numerous webinars on topics such as regulations, PPE, HR, and legal issues for a variety of businesses including TAB members and non-members.
Making Virtual Networking More Effective
Many organizations, such as Baltimore’s Center Club, pivoted to make their regularly scheduled networking events virtual. While not the same as being in person, you can leverage your virtual networking for added benefit – for example, setting up individual conversations with people you interact with on the virtual calls.
I’ve been advising my clients to pick a number, even if it’s just two or three, and reach out to check on that many people every day. People appreciate having someone check in on them, not for any particular business purpose. Business sometimes results from the simple act of caring about and checking in with someone.
I’ve also set up networking groups where each participant invites one person, and we bring in an educational speaker, and create conversations around a specific topic. One topic included the impact of the pandemic on real estate and how the office of the future is likely to look. For such groups, smaller is better; about six to eight people.
Magic in Networking
Other networking steps I recommend are to find people you don’t know well and have a virtual coffee and, as you’re talking one on one, share contacts to expand your network and potentially find new referrals. Many people grow their business through networking and some are antsy to get out and do that again.
Get in touch with people, have individual conversations, and find out what’s important to them. The magic in networking comes from those individual conversations.
Business Coaching During a Crisis
I work with business owners/ CEOs, executives, and teams. I’m currently keeping clients focused on how to continue growing their business, and how to manage the changes and uncertainty that come along with a crisis.
At Susan Katz Advantage, we’re dealing with the typical challenges that business owners go through. First, it was just survival as everyone was in a bit of panic at the beginning. Then they became fatigued talking about survival and conversations evolved to focus on getting back to business. While PPP can help businesses survive in 2020, it’s important to be proactive going into 2021 .
Shrinking the Planning Duration
We talk about scenario planning: best, middle, and worst case. We’re also measuring and looking at scenarios in shorter timeframes. Our strategic planning has shrunk from many years to just the next year, 90 days at a time. For example, some business owners and CEOS are still facing challenges in hiring good people, even when there are more people available.
Good Time for Leadership Training
Some businesses aren’t quite as busy, making it a good time to do leadership training and development. I’ve worked with clients on team building, helping management teams to get more strategic, focused and develop team leadership skills and self-awareness. Business owners are focusing more broadly on how to continue working “on” rather than “in” the business and the best way to continue working “on” the business is to develop the next generation of leaders.
Leadership training is best when it’s an ongoing initiative and gives participants a chance to learn new content, discuss that content, and then apply it to the work environment. One program I run, called “Next Generation Leader,” consists of monthly online content and group coaching. It’s affordable and people from different companies participate. Folks up-level their leaders, knowing one day they’ll transition out and need a new base of leadership.
About Susan Katz, CEO, Susan Katz Advantage
Susan Katz is known for helping businesses drive extraordinary growth. As a business growth advisor, Susan helps individuals and organizations align, focus on revenue generating opportunities, and create the strategic changes necessary to achieve unlimited and lasting growth. She has worked with a wide range of individuals and organizations including the Better Business Bureau of Maryland, the Baltimore Ravens, Under Armour, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, Marriott Corporation, Horseshoe Casino and a wide range of service-based businesses. In addition, Susan has taught annually for the Institute of Organization Management, part of the US Chamber of Commerce and is an instructor for Business Learning Institute, an affiliate of the Maryland Association of CPAs.
Prior to starting her business, Susan was in executive management with two major publishing firms, where she was responsible for revenue and profit growth throughout most of her career. Susan is the author of Create Your Dream Job: Change Your Mindset Change Your Future where she shares her secrets and practical tips for creating a fulfilling and meaningful future.
Susan received the Rising Star Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners Baltimore Regional Chapter and was recognized twice as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and the Maryland Top 100 MBEs (Minority Business Enterprise). Susan’s key to success is in believing that everyone has unique strengths and talents, and that anything is possible as long as you align with your strengths and believe in yourself.