How to Show Up as a Business Owner & Leader During a Crisis from Leah McCarthy
Apr 30, 2020 | By: Fusion Photography
Leah McCarthy is a female business owner with so much love and energy for her community and employees that she refuses to give up and quit – even during a crisis such as the one we are experiencing now with the Coronavirus. Leah owns and manages Downtown Catering Company in Bluffton, South Carolina. Pulled from their tremendous website, here’s a description of Downtown Catering Company:
“Downtown Catering Company is an award-winning catering service that has been servicing Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Beaufort, SC as well as Savannah, GA and Augusta, GA for over 15 years. Husband and wife team, Ryan and Leah McCarthy, have a large staff of dedicated professionals to tend to your every event need. We cater any special occasion as well as large corporate functions. We are also proud owners of award-winning restaurant in Old Town Bluffton, The Downtown Deli. We provide the residents and visitors to Historic Bluffton with the freshest, most delicious food imaginable. That is why we have been voted “Best Deli” “Best Caterer” and “Best Place for Lunch” each year since 2003!”
Lisa Staff, of Lisa Staff Photo, and I did an Instagram program with her company last year, and when we caught wind of all the amazing things Leah and her husband were doing to stay alive during the current crisis, we knew we had to have her on the Mind, Body, Business Livecast. On the show, she talked about how to show up in life as a business owner and a leader in the community during a crisis, including how her and her husband set up a relief fund for the restaurant community - find more info here: https://www.lowcountrystrong.com/. Leah explained the topic with her COVID Five C’s which were just as impressive as they sound. Keep reading to see Leah’s Five C’s and gather some ideas about how you too can show up as a business owner and leader during a time of crisis.
1. Collaborate with others. What are other people in your industry doing to respond? Are there ways to collaborate, utilize resources, to survive? Be the person who brings others in your industry together to brainstorm and share. They might have been your competition yesterday, but today they are your community.
2. Communicate.Communicate to your employees and be honest. Offer support and information where you can. We set up a private resource page on our website where our staff can go and find links to resources and funding that may be available to them. Communicate within your community of consumers. It’s okay to be humble on social. They want to see YOU as the owner talk about what you are offering and how you are pivoting in the business space. As a restaurant owner it is imperative to our consumer that they feel safe buying from us. We share images of hand washing, sanitizing, etc.
3. Continuity. Now is not the time to reinvent your business entirely. Now is the time to think of ways you can adapt your model to the new way of serving. For us it wasn’t about being a different restaurant. It was about being true to what we do and what we do well and adapting the model.
4. Compassion. Give yourself permission to be human. It’s okay to have all the “feels” around this crisis, ie. Confusion, stress, anxiety, fear and worry. It is an unknown space for all of us and things are changing by the moment. The best thing to do is not to push the uncomfortable feelings away. The less thinking on our mind, the clearer our head space will be to make decisions and act in the moment. If you show compassion to ourself and then you will have more space to show compassion to others. And another “c” word will be realized on its own and that is your innate creativity. And now it is about being creative! Creating your own “temporary normal.” I don’t like saying new, but I feel as though this is temporary and we will go back to socially NOT distancing ourselves. It is also our innate wisdom to be close to each other.
5. Caring. When this crisis came upon us I knew so many in our restaurant industry would be affected. We had to lay off 11 of our own workers. I was crushed. I knew I couldn’t allow that to happen without providing an additional resource for them. So in caring for my team, I created “Hungry Heart Restaurant Worker Relief Fund.” This fund has raised just over $13,000 in the last 40 hours. This money will provide 1625 free meals from participating restaurants in our area. We will essentially be spending the money at the restaurants, and they will not charge the worker who has lost their job or found themselves with less hours and/or tips from their restaurant jobs.
Is Leah not absolutely brilliant?? Ever since she presented these on the Mind, Body, Business Livecast, they have stuck with me. I’m happy to spread the word even more on her amazing Five C’s because they need to be heard. I’ll close with saying – we need more people like Leah in the world - agree?