How to Make Lemonade Out of Lemons Amid a Crisis

City Wide Facility Solutions
Published on July 17, 2020

City Wide CEO and president, Jeff Oddo, recently shared how the brand has made “lemonade out of lemons” during COVID-19 with the International Franchise Association editorial team. Read the article below or visit IFA’s website.

How to Make Lemonade Out of Lemons Amid a Crisis

By Jeff Oddo

When times are uncertain, sticking to what you know and what you do best can help provide you with a clear path of action. As a business, perhaps you have a strong social media presence and are finding ways to leverage it. Or maybe you are known for creating innovative products and are looking to make a new product in response to what people need most right now. Whatever “your thing” is, it’s imperative to identify it before you can fully provide value.

Here at City Wide, the number one question always on our minds is how can we help our clients, our community members, and each other. Especially as a leader, you have to consider whether you are addressing all the key players in your business and showing them they are important to you.

Jumping into action is key in situations such as a pandemic, even if things are changing on a day to day basis. For us that meant creating a special task force, known as Dominate After COVID-19 is Over (DACO), dedicated to supporting both franchise locations and our clients.

Project Lemonade

The DACO task force was separated into two teams, with the first being referred to as Project Lemonade. During the peak of the pandemic, this team was dedicated to taking lemons and making lemonade out of it. We had to identify what we could do in that very moment to help our franchisees, employees, independent contractors, and clients. It quickly became clear to us that disinfecting services were going to be important for our clients in order to protect their employees, customers, and facilities. In response to that, we quickly pivoted our marketing efforts towards the disinfecting and cleaning services we could manage for clients.

As part of this DACO task force, we also had three town hall meetings per week with franchisees to share new materials available to support them and their clients during this time, and address any questions or concerns they had. The Project Lemonade team served as the point people franchisees could reach out to and share ideas on how City Wide could continue to strengthen its relationships with clients.

Project Tidal Wave 

One of City Wide’s major philosophies is known as the “ripple effect” where we are constantly trying to look for ways to make the largest impact on our local communities. Project Tidal Wave was a play off of that concept, as this team was tasked with taking “ripples” and turning them into a “tidal waves.” The focus here was on setting long-term goals, making updates, and adding efficiencies based on what we as a company learned over the past three months amid COVID-19.

A thought in the back of all our heads was what the plan of action would look like when stay at home orders would inevitably be lifted. This is why one of the long-term goals for the Project Tidal Wave team was creating a strategic framework of action for when our clients would be ready to re-open. As states were beginning to entire its various reopening phases, we had finalized re-opening plans for clients, launched a dedicated resource page on the City Wide website and crafted messaging and signage for clients to share with their employees on how to stay safe and healthy at work.

Making Lemonade and Creating Tidal Waves Inspires Action 

City Wide team members throughout our franchise locations and within the Home Office have represented what it truly means to be a member of the City Wide family. Several franchise locations across the U.S. volunteered their time to provide free electrostatic disinfecting and high-touch sanitization services to local schools, fire departments, nonprofits, and more than 100 frontline workers’ personal vehicles. We had many donate masks and hand sanitizers to the homeless, as well as cleaning supplies to local food banks.

At the Home Office, team members created snack baskets for hospital staff, sewed hundreds of masks for friends and business owners, and made more than 250 cards for patients at a memory care center here in Kansas City.

At this time, we still have no way of predicting what could happen in the next few months. Will everything be able to reopen fully? Will some businesses be forced to temporarily close again? Thinking ahead, planning for various scenarios, being ready to adapt to situations quickly, staying in touch with what’s going on in our communities, and communicating accordingly will remain crucial as we navigate through the rest of this year.

Jeff Oddo is the CEO of City Wide Franchise Company. For more information and franchise opportunities for International Franchise Association (IFA) franchisor member City Wide Franchise Company, click here.