Seriously?? Does or will my business still exist after this??
I don’t need to tell you just how unsettling it is right now to be a small business owner/sole trader. Covid-19 is changing everything we know to be normal. There is no clear path forward for ANYONE right now, so feeling overwhelmed, panicked, sad, stressed, terrified is how most people will describe their day. These are uncharted waters, there is no masterclass or discovery call that can figure this out. So does that mean my business is doomed?????
For me, as a Business Coach I have felt this huge weight on my shoulders thinking “I should have the answers.”, “I need to put lots of content out there that inspires and motivates other business owners.” But reality is I don’t have some sort of magic bullet that will make all of this easier for you and your business. EVERYONE is in the same boat! I have taken some time this week to think, breathe and make tiny steps forward. So I’m going to share my thoughts (not tips, because I have no proof these things will work!)
It’s ok, I’ll just take my business online….
I’ve seen so many posts online telling business owners to think fast and act quick to take their offerings online, offer a digital version, a downloadable version….. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, because knowing how to pivot when your business needs change is vital as an entrepreneur. However, EVERY business is rushing to online versions of themselves! I don’t know about you but my timeline is full of businesses offering me a group, a zoom call, a downloadable. All of this is relevant, but puts you at risk of blending in to what is becoming a saturated market, noise on social media.
Don’t forget your core values.
Whilst all other businesses rush to offer an online version etc take 5 minutes to remind yourself of what your core values are. What principles does your business live by and how can you still incorporate them with what you diversify into? I’m all about human connections and empowering others, so as a diversification, I’m opening up my facebook group to anyone working from home, juggling their kids being home with them. (link to page). This is my way of continuing to create and encourage connections, to remind people that being part of a community matters and supporting my community when they need encouragement.
But this won’t bring in money…..
I’m going to be incredibly honest here- this is where I feel out of my depth when I’m offering suggestions, because my area of speciality is not cash flow crisis management or indepth financial planning (I have shared a link to a blog written by an expert on this, click here!). I specialise in mindset, beating overwhelm, setting goals and planning effectively for growth in your business. So I’m sticking with what I know and sharing my thoughts on how to shore up your mindset, how to stop procrastinating and make some plans for your business in order to feel productive, relevant and calm. One thing I want you to really think hard about is how your audience/customers will view you after this crisis passes. Are you the business trying to cash in by selling, selling selling and overwhelming them more, or are you the business recognising the crisis, offering value for free in solidarity with them. From my point of view, as a Business Coach, the women I support are desperately trying to cling on to their businesses, they’re not taking much, if any, money in, so how helpful is it for me to offer them a service they have to pay for???? Being the person that offers my skills and knowledge for free, at a time of crisis, will mean they remember what I did for them and hopefully means they will return to me when they have cash to spend. It’s all about boosting that know/like/trust factor. They can trust me not to exploit them in a time of crisis.
Nice airy fairy perfect world thinking wont pay my bills!!!!
I HEAR you!!! However, coming to terms with the fact there is not much money out there to pay for your offering will massively help change your mindset about your business, it’s role in this crisis and how you ensure you stay relevant. Could you introduce a ‘pay what you can’ option or a ‘pay in instalments’? Perhaps offer a skill swap? It’s time for thinking outside the box! However, I am not forgetting the fact that for many people the need for income is non negotiable. Below are some useful links to ways you can gain financial support from the government.
So do I still have a business???
Just because you have no customers/clients right now doesn’t mean you no longer have a business. It means you have time. Time to work ON your business, rather than IN your business. Time to do all of those to-do list items you have been too busy to do or have been putting off! It’s time to update content on websites, take some photo’s (yourself) to update your social media, write blog posts that can be ready on standby, offer to write guest blog posts for other businesses, do some virtual networking (this link will take you to my networking group!) to stay in touch with other business owners and help you feel less alone.