Right now, as business owners, we need to lean in to survive this!
The market is quieter, and the only way small businesses will survive this craziness is by refusing to allow ourselves to sink into despair and sit on the couch crying. There is work you can do for your business and using this time wisely will make the difference between the businesses who will fail during this time frame, and the businesses who will explode with growth on the other-side.
Currently, small business owners are competing against a LOT fewer competitors for market attention. There is one competitor: The Virus. If you can find a great message to produce & spread, you’ll win an incredible amount of market share that your competition will struggle to take away when this is over.
I’ve heard from too many clients lately who have shared that they are sitting on the couch staring at the wall, chasing kids relentlessly, or (as one client put it) “curled up in the bathtub with a bottle of wine!” It’s easier to let yourself sink into the cloud. And you might need a moment to give yourself space. But it’s imperative to the survival of your business that you step up and step out as soon as possible!
Since I think a lot of business owners are struggling with figuring out what to do since their daily routine has been interrupted, I wanted to give you three things to work on to grow your business in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns.
This cannot be overstated.
In uncertain times, it is challenging to plan for four weeks from today, so trying to think about where you want to be in 10 years can seem strange and delusional. It’s not!
In fact, it may be the one thing that might save you!
Refocusing on the long-term goals for your business will give you the energy boost to see beyond the current situation and help you put a plan together to get to the other side. You may struggle to have a plan for the next 4 weeks, but you can put together a plan for where to be, and how to get there, by the end of the year!
Think about all the things you never have enough time to work on while your business is running full steam: fleshing out your marketing message and long-term strategies, working on streamlining online platforms & SOPs, etc. Make a list & get on it!
#2: Mindfulness and Meditation
Start practicing mindfulness and meditation.
A lot of the business owners that I work with are struggling in their headspace.
Anxiety and depression that has been under control is rearing its ugly head (I should know, I’ve struggled with it too!) and there are a lot of bad mental habits that aren’t helping small business owners maintain the optimism that is their trademark.
Now is the time to take a little extra time and dissect what is going on in your head. To journal and address the stories that are playing in your head that are sabotaging your ability to grow your business.
#3: Market Your Business
Right now, you have a unique opportunity to expand your market share if you do this right. The actions you take and how you market you business will impact you extensively over the next 10 years.
First step is to set up some sort of online sale. It can be a relatively inexpensive purchase, or perhaps just an opt-in to build your mailing list. With people glued to their TVs and Social Media more than ever and unable to go out, they are spending more money online than ever before and this is a great time to get your message out there and let people know that you’re here to continue serving them despite everything.
Maybe you’re one of the essential service workers like a plumber who is still having to go to work. This is a huge opportunity to market your business as one of the few places that can take care of customers like normal. Take advantage of it.
Caveat: Marketing is about more than making social media posts, creating blogs and running ads on Google Adwords.
Marketing is about the message you're portraying.
Take a minute and sit with yourself to get crystal clear on what exactly your message is.
What are the core tenants of your brand?
What do you bring to the table for people that other people need?
What emotional level do you serve your customer at?
What is the benefit of the service or product you provide?
And I get it. Maybe you don’t sell an essential service or a health-related product.
Maybe you sell pens. This process still works.
Think about this: why does that pen matter to somebody?
When you’ve landed on what the benefit is, you can take that core message and apply that to how you’re talking about what we are going through as a country and as a world right now. If you decide that your marketing message for your brand of pens is that “We make you feel special” then work on how you can make people feel special even now! Come up with a compassionate message based on that core message which will resonate with people, and it will still help promote your brand because it’s built into the core of what makes your brand special.
You don't have to sit around and wait for things to be over.
Now's the opportunity to get your message to more people than ever and take advantage of your extra down time. Go after this, because there are amazing opportunities here too. There will be some people who will not make it through this as a business, that’s just a fact of situations like this. But if you are one of the ones who does survive this, it will be proof that you are one of the strongest ones.
You will grow on the other side of this.
I guarantee it, but how you deal with it right now will either get you through it or knock you out of the running completely.
Looking for some free resources while the world is in quarantine and unable to work?
We’re launching a brand new series on Creating Effective Online Marketing that we are able to make available for free through a partnership with the Victoria SBDC (you do NOT need to be in Victoria to take advantage of this).