We are all a bit uneasy, looking to experts for knowledge that they don't have much of at the moment. As humans, we want to come together... and that is the one thing that may cause the most harm. As a marketing and business coach + consultant for entrepreneurs, I am hearing a lot of fear for our businesses, in addition to all the other fears and emotions.
How will I survive if I have to close shop?
How will I make it if people are too scared to spend money?
What do I do to serve my clients but also pay my bills?
Here are some REAL steps that I am taking for my own business, and self. These are tactical tips that will allow you to use this time of severe uncertainty and turn them into times of growth. This is what sets apart a business that survives, and a business that thrives.
1. Make a new schedule for you and your family.
Kids are out of school for a good while in some of the US, and perhaps most of the country. We don't know for how long, and that is a huge disruption for many people. Your business still needs to run. Create a plan that you can stick to that will allow you to work.
Wake up early, get sitters lined up, ask for help. Based on a schedule that friends and family sent me, I created my own schedule for my family so I could get life in order. I still will wake up every day at 5:45am and start my morning and do work. You are welcome to download it for yourself (no email required) if it will help you. I will be home with my kids AND working, with some help here and there. This is not easy, but finding a way to create structure is the only way to get ahead for me.
2. Communicate with your clients.
This may seem so obvious. But, what are you planning on doing for the events you have coming up? Will you be refunding? Are you rescheduling meetings? People just want to know what is going on and the best thing we can do as business owners is just communicate and take that one thing off people's plates.
Email them, call them, text them. Whatever is right for your business, do it and do it before they reach out to you.
3. Focus on what you CAN do right now.
The anxiety in the air is thick. What I have found to be the most productive in a time of chaos is just figuring out what CAN be done. If you are a retail store, you need to focus on going online. If you are a restaurant, how will you make our lives easier with your take out options? A yoga instructor can give us 20 minute flows daily for all package holders.
There are ways you can still make revenue, but you need to get creative and be really focused. It is so easy to get fixated on how things are hard. Yes, they are. But, if you can zero in on what you CAN do, you will set yourself up for success.
4. Serve your client community.
Money is a fabulous thing. I like it a lot, but in a time like this, taking your eye off the prize is more than okay. Put your energy out into the world in a way that may be helpful to others without any other motives. Give your knowledge. Give it away for nothing because someone else may need it and for no other reason at all. When you serve, it will come back to you in time and having faith in that will be far more powerful than you can imagine.
5. Look inward.
This is a very uncomfortable, uncertain moment in time. It will pass and we will all come out stronger. But, there is no doubt that we will have more time alone than normal. We will have to be a bit quieter, slower, and more patient. Take that time to decide to look inward.
Meditate. Read self-help books. Listen to podcasts. Go to bed earlier. Write in a journal. I don't mean pick one, I mean DO ALL OF THEM. You will grow as a person and when you grow as a person, your business thrives because you get things on a different level.
I love Gabby Bernstein's meditations.
Crime Junkie is my favorite non-business podcast for a quick crime story (I am little obsessed).
RISE Podcast is probably my go-to business podcast, but I have a list of about 10 that I rotate being obsessed with. Here is a great list I stumbled upon.
I use my own Productivity + Positivity workbook as a journal every single day. You are welcome to download it and use it to better your own business and life.
6. Get creative.
Standing out in the crowd is going to be easier for those of us business owners that are willing to be flexible, and get creative. Most likely, you are going to have to change things as you go. And be alright with that.
My local meetings are usually in person and I am moving them to online if I must. My events are a big part of my revenue, but I am postponing them for now and offering online webinars (which I have to record) and figuring out what that is going to look like. My point is, this wasn't my plan, but I am listening to the times and moving along a new path that will work. Or, I hope it will. But, if it doesn't, I will pivot. And that is the point.
There are many, many more things we can be doing. But start here.
This is a moment in time and we will push through it with vigilance. Our businesses can thrive. But, you have to direct your energy in the right places now. Stay healthy.