4 Min ReadBusiness 10 April 2020
In this third week of mass social distancing (with more than 225 million Americans ordered to stay at home), CEOs are beginning to ask not only how to survive the pandemic, but what they will be surviving into. Radical events bring radical change, and the American workplace – and quite possibly the American economy – is in the midst of its most significant disruptive and potentially transformative experience in a century. So how can a business position itself for a post-pandemic world?
Liz Elting, entrepreneur, business leader, and CEO, guided the largest translation company in the world through world-changing events including 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis, both of which radically reshaped both her industry and international business. While nobody can predict the future, you can plan around unpredictability by keeping nimble, identifying new economic opportunities, and recognizing the changes happening to the economy, the country, and the world.
Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is an entrepreneur, business leader, linguaphile, philanthropist, and mother. After living, studying, and working in five countries across the globe, Liz started TransPerfect out of an NYU dorm room. During her tenure as Co-CEO, she grew TransPerfect into the world's largest language solutions company, with over $600 million in revenue, 4,000+ employees, 11,000+ clients, and offices in more than 90 cities worldwide. Liz has been recognized as a NOW "Woman of Power & Influence", an Enterprising Women" Enterprising Woman of the Year," and one of Forbes' "Richest Self-Made Women."
Liz Elting's Post-Pandemic Plan
The Past Is In The Past
"We have to keep moving forward. I don't think this has completely sunk in for a lot of people, but there is no 'back to normal.' Whatever the world looks like on the other side of this, it's not going to look like it did in January. Social distancing is in the process of reinventing how people work, blurring the lines between on and off the clock, while typically undervalued roles (such as supermarket clerks and restaurant workers) have quickly been revealed as essential infrastructure. Everything from the relationship between employer and employee to supply and distribution is going to have to change to account for the new realities we suddenly face."
"Being dynamic beats being efficient. The last fifty years have seen the development of the 'just-in-time' economy, where highly efficient supply lines keep products moving at lightning speed with minimal variances. But the problem with efficiency is that it is dependent on conditions remaining the same, which given enough time, the world rarely does; efficient machines are almost by definition unable to accommodate a changing market. Right now, all of our efficiency engines have ground to a halt, and rather than focusing on getting them up and running, we must instead work on building new, more dynamic business models that can move quickly when conditions change. We need to keep our businesses humming as best we can, even in these uncertain times when international shipping, air travel, and manufacture are all suddenly in limbo."
Identify Your International Vulnerabilities
"I don't want to say that globalization is over, but I do think we're going to see it reinvented. Long supply chains have gone from being an advantage to a crippling weakness, as we're witnessing firsthand in this crisis. Urgently needed ventilators require supplies from a dozen countries including China at a time when those supplies have never been harder to obtain. Retooling your business for a post-pandemic world will mean finding domestic vendors for things we don't even currently manufacture here, which creates a remarkable opportunity for the CEO savvy enough to recognize where they can become that vendor. As long as your business is dependent on overseas supply chains, you're going to be vulnerable to the next disruption – and considering that this pandemic may come in waves, that will not be sustainable."
Understand Emerging Job-security Considerations
"Once we get through this – and we will get through it – businesses that survive will have to navigate a talent pool that has a new outlook on job security. 3.3 million people applied for unemployment in March, making previous highs look like mere blips by comparison. That number is only going to increase the longer this stretches on as employers scale back to deal with lost business or shutter entirely; retail employees are especially vulnerable to this. Any company that wants to thrive in the pandemic and post-pandemic world needs to recognize the financial trauma this event is going to cause and make job security a major focus; can your employees trust that they will not be put on the street? Because they will flock to the businesses that can offer that, and with modern economic and cultural sensibilities placing a lot of stock in a company's values, those same businesses can expect a glut of new business. 'Worker care' (much like 'workplace culture') or something similar is likely going to be a buzzword in the months and years to come."
If you want to hear more from Liz, email her at email@example.com to get the advice you need!
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Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da
If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.
In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.
These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.
After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.
About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.
When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.
Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.
Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.
Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.
This article was originally published September 12, 2019.