Global wars, pandemic, financial fears—they’re not signs of the apocalypse. They’re real challenges businesses must overcome to be successful in today’s world. Unexpected challenges arise for business leaders all the time, and these past few years, we have been through a few. How do you handle unforeseen business challenges? How do you overcome them? These are just some of the question we were asked by our friends at Van Meter, as part of the most recent installment of their On The Job podcast airing in March of 2023.
Through Challenges Comes Growth
Nobody wants to encounter unexpected challenges, but challenges often present the greatest opportunity for growth. For a year and a half after the start of the pandemic, Harmony Enterprises has navigated the changing landscape of the waste & recycling industry, coming out on the winning side of it all. This is due in large part to the flexibility, commitment, and communication provided by our employees and vendor partners like Van Meter.
Check out the full podcast featuring Lane Powell, New Business Development Manager at Harmony Enterprises and tips on how to handle unexpected moments in business here.
Or, read the tips in this excerpt from the Van Meter blog post below!
Tips On Handling Unexpected Moments In Business
TIP #1. PUT YOUR PEOPLE FIRST
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, nobody was quite sure what precautions they needed to take. Powell was no different, but he knew he needed to prioritize the health and safety of Harmony’s employees, their families and the communities they serve.
Based in Harmony, MN, Harmony Enterprises is a family-owned business that manufactures trash compactors and recycling balers for B2B sales. Harmony needed to stay up and running to help their customers operate and mitigate trash and recycling during the pandemic. With three quarters of its workforce needed on-site, Harmony needed a plan to stay running.
That plan started with their people.
“You just have to put your best foot forward. As things change, you change your plan and adapt to do the best you can for your people,” he said. “We’ve probably updated and revised our plan 15 times to make sure it meets their needs.”
Remembering your people – the people that help your business succeed – is critical, not just for a pandemic, but any time you encounter the unexpected.
TIP #2. COMMUNICATE & BUILD LASTING RELATIONSHIPS
The global supply chain crisis is affecting businesses in every industry and shows no signs of slowing down in 2023. For small businesses like Harmony, it can be especially difficult, as they may be given lower priority for shipments than larger corporations. In 2021, Powell said they had materials delayed for months, and it was tough to give customers accurate ship dates.
What is the best way to help customers plan for unexpected changes to ship dates and deadlines? For Powell and Harmony, it is about communication and building relationships.
“I think in business, and especially manufacturing, people are starting to understand this supply chain crisis is going to go on for a while. I’m hearing through 2024 or 2025,” he said. “And you have to work with the people and partners you trust.
Powell mentioned that the more you stay in communication with customers, the more they are willing to understand and work with you on finding solutions – especially during unforeseen circumstances.
Whether the supply chain crisis or another unexpected challenge, remember that how you communicate and build relationships also depends on who you communicate with. People from different generations, for example, communicate and prioritize things differently.
“I am working with people my son’s age, who is 27, in decision-making roles, and they always want to know the why,” said Powell. “They’re willing to understand and spend money if you can answer that question.”
And no matter the age – in crisis or out of it – communication is key.
Tip #3. USE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO GROW
Nobody wants to encounter unexpected challenges, but challenges often present the greatest opportunity for growth. For a year and a half after the start of the pandemic, Harmony allowed its employees the flexibility to work from home if their job allowed it.
Powell communicated more while working from home than he did in the office, and when he returned to in-person work, he carried that practice back into the office. He said it made him three times more efficient.
“During the pandemic, I was building relationships and trust with others at Harmony. It was tough to get through, but there was a huge silver lining to it all.”
By communicating more frequently, different departments in the company even grew closer together.
“Pre-pandemic, we might have thought our department was isolated from other departments,” said Powell. “But working through trying times forces you to understand how you work together.”
The challenge with unforeseen circumstances is that they are – unexpected. However, if you put people first, communicate and look for ways to grow, you may just come through the challenge stronger and ready for whatever comes next.
Do you have a story from on the job to tell? Reach out to [email protected] or contact Van Meter here to be featured in a future podcast or blog.
Contact Harmony Today!
Harmony Enterprises appreciates the opportunity to share our story as well as business, industry, and manufacturing insights with our employees, customers, vendors, and community.
How can Harmony help you today? Do you need to invest in recycling equipment to reduce waste and improve workplace cleanliness? Would you like to reduce your overall waste footprint and save on the labor and space related to trash? Do you need service or parts for your baler or compactor? We are here to help! Give us a call at (507) 886-6666 or fill out this simple form today!