COVID-19 is having its moment in the spotlight. If this virus were a celebrity, I would say it’s kicking the other contestants square in the keester and looking like a “sure win”. The judges are saying it will be “one for the record book”; it’s the “Michael Jordan” of viruses… excuse the humor but you get the point. As a small business owner, the real question on your mind must be, how will it affect me? How much of an impact will it have on my small business? And, what can I do to mitigate the pain?
The truth is you’re at a fork in the road. We all are. How you metabolize the stress and worry about your business has a direct impact on what you will need to recover from. Dig your head in the sand? You’ll face the backlash of becoming relevant and visible when you decide tor re-emerge. Panic and overly sell or push your products on others? You’ll have to do damage control on your reputation when this is done.
It’s a delicate balance between doing too much and doing too little.
Ideally, you need to find a healthy spot in the middle to take the “best next step”. As you consider your strategy for maintaining and ultimately, growing your business back to some semblance of normal, there are some moves that are wiser than others. One of the most unnecessary things to waste time on is inventing the wheel. Strategies are abundant and there are countless people who manage businesses far larger than your own who have laid out some impressive groundwork. You can use this as a starting point.
As you look into the future, it’s important to set some goals for yourself. Yes, you will put on your adult clothes once more and you will wear shoes again. Your car will start, gas prices will go up, you’ll complain about traffic and school busses littering the road on your way to work. The world will go back to normal again. The question is, how will your business weather the storm?
These are important questions to consider. Without a plan, however fluid, it’s hard to get to the goal. Runners never finish a marathon on sheer determination or will. They have to train. For all of us, COVID-19 is a restart. Those who work on their plan will see dramatically different results than those who sit back and let fate take the wheel.
So, whatever you believe about the future, there will be one. Will it be different from the past, yes it will. But, that may be one of the greatest gifts any of us ever receive.
Contemplating this idea of a plan, here are 5 things that high-performance businesses are doing to stay in-control that you can apply to your small business right now.
Warren Buffett offers this gem: make a wish list for cash
What this means is that when the tides turn, don’t mess it up by spending money on unnecessary things or misfires. Sit with yourself and make a plan for things you need to invest in when the time is right. Then, watch for sales, discounts, and offers (they are coming) so you can make purchases at the right moment. Some things need to be onhand now so you can do your business (like Zoom or Doxy), others are less essential. But, you don’t want to overpay for something because you miss the sale.
Listen as you do this exercise for other big ideas that show up. Things like a Ted-Talk, writing a book, developing your funnel, creating a course… these are all wonderful ideas that come out of a brainstorm like this one.
Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank fame offers this: know what you can and cannot control
This simple attitude shift can really be a litmus test for where it makes sense to invest your time and energy. There are pieces of COVID-19 that rob us of our critical thinking, peace of mind and even our precious time.
The anxiety and fears people are feeling are very real and not something that can be ignored. Finding a way to separate the worries from where you can take actionable steps is key. And, psychologically, by reducing your fears, you gain clarity in return. From that place, good decisions can be made.
Look at what you have control over in your business. Where you can cut out extraneous things you don’t need or use? What additions would increase your value to clients? What training would increase your confidence and skills? In reality, the only thing you truly have control over is yourself, but when you exercise that control wisely, you can get a heck of a lot accomplished.
Chief Executive offers this small business advice: Don’t just think about the short term or this very moment
Expand your focus to include both this moment AND the mid-term. What this means practically is that the exact crisis is evolving in its impact on people’s minds, hearts, and bank accounts. The pause in spending we’re seeing across almost all sectors will not last forever. Everyone is talking about how we restart the economy and you want to think about this too. Where will your clients be in 2 weeks, 6 weeks, at the end of the summer? The timing for services, pricing, products, discounts, etc needs to be thought through with the next phase of the virus in mind.
Consider it this way, if we go through something similar to the shut down in the fall, do you imagine that people will be as affected by it? Will the panic of masks, quarantine, or kids at home be as disorienting the next time? Or will it be more familiar and therefore something people step into with greater ease and less disruption? I imagine it will be easier for everyone the second time around.
From our Starve The Fear group on Facebook, I offer this: Get super clear about what you actually need now
One of the byproducts of this pandemic is the awareness that’s being laid out our feet that we need less than we have to manage our lives. In your planning think about what you need in this current moment to get by. Is it cash through the door? Is it some assistance to cover your rent or mortgage? Maybe it’s a mental health break to calm your fears.
Take care of the short term needs each day so you can clear your mind up to focus on the bigger picture. This will remind you why you’re in business and it will be easier to brainstorm, create, and imagine your future possibilities with a clearer head.
Finally, as a small business owner, great insights can be found closer to home. Take a good look at your colleagues to see who is weathering the storm in the most elegant, classy ways.
Are there things they are doing that seem to put them in an easier situation or light than what you’re experiencing? Often exploring how others are managing their stress can help you find ways to manage your own.
Use services like LinkedIn and Facebook to find communities of professionals and then take the BIG step to reach out. Schedule chats and informational calls with people to simply talk over how they’re doing. Your goal can be comradery but also, mutual sharing to see what they’re doing to find clients and revive their business.
Nothing about this pandemic is easy. People who find their calm in the middle of this storm are the ones who will rise above it healthier and wiser. Take advantage of people who have strategized about business challenges to learn how it’s done. Reinventing the wheel will not only rob you of your energy but provide a steeper learning curve than you have time for now.
Keep your #smallbusinessstrong one step at a time. Feeling anxious, here are a few pick-me-up quotes to help. Need something more practical? Follow us on Facebook or reach out for a consultation today.