For the first 34 years of my life, I’ll openly admit that I always saw the negative first in things. I saw the flaws, the challenges and the obstacles before anything else. It took me making the biggest leap of faith in my life to finally flip those views on their back in favor of positivity. Ultimately, it took me realizing that things weren’t what they were. They just appeared to me in a certain matter based on my perception of them. Little did I know, my perception of everything in my life was 100% within my control. It was completely a choice as to how I wanted and chose to see things.
We are suddenly thrust into tough times with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through our lives and businesses like a wildfire. No doubt it is and will be a challenging time for weeks and months to come, but know that it is not permanent. We WILL return to a more normal way of life. I encourage you to stay positive, optimistic and see the challenge in front of all of us as an opportunity instead. One that presents a chance to hone and sharpen the blade of your business further. One that will only make you stronger and more resilient as an individual.
As a business owner myself, I have personally been hit with the challenges this virus presents as well. Just as my business was beginning to take off it came to a screeching halt in the last week because of uncertainty. With that, It’d like to share a list of items to think about and consider as you move forward through the obstacles of the next few weeks and months.
15 Ways To Keep Your Business Afloat
1-Know This Is Only Temporary – Like all ups and downs in business, this too shall pass. If you’ve been in business long enough, you realize that every up eventually leads to a down and vice versa. Business WILL bounce back. The stock market WILL bounce back. Embrace the idea of things eventually returning to normal and save yourself the stress of worrying about it.
2- Focus On What You Can Control & Do Now – In business, there’s little to nothing outside of your own actions that you have control over. Continue to put time, energy and resources into what you directly have control over – your attitude, mood, product, services, communication, etc. – because that’s all you can currently do. Everything else is outside your sphere of influence.
3-Communicate With Your Past, Current & Prospective Clients – No matter what business you’re in, communication is key. Take this time to connect with your past, present and future clients to see how they’re doing and ask how you can possibly help. They’ll not only appreciate you showing you care, but you’ll also be likely to drum up some business because of it.
4-Offer Virtual Services – Would your business be able to emphasize or transition to more of an online format? Get creative in offering your services over a teleconference call, the phone or other online platforms.
5-Collect What You Can – If you have outstanding invoices and accounts receivable, now is the time to collect them as soon as possible. Let this be a lesson learned also to not let those rack up and accumulate in the future. Get systems in place to always collect your money ASAP.
6-Cut Unnecessary Expenses – Are there items in your business you’ve been meaning to drop, cancel or cut to save costs? Now is the time to tighten the belt, but be careful when considering the people within your business as being on the chopping block. They’re your most valuable resource and have the ability to help get your business through tough times.
7-Get Vulnerable With Your Team – Not quite sure exactly how to navigate items within your business? Don’t worry, as this is a first for most. Get vulnerable and open with your team. Ask them their thoughts and pay attention to their worries. Reinforce the idea of doing what’s best for the greater good of the organization and those that are able will hopefully step up to the plate to help in whatever way possible.
8-Pay Minimums – If there are bills you’re currently ahead on or paying more than you currently need to, now is the time to think about pulling back to those minimum payments necessary in order to free up more cash. Be careful, however, that the interest of paying minimums won’t crush you and add to the chaos.
9-Get Creative With Your Marketing – No matter what product you have, there’s always an audience for it, and this is a time when many businesses go black or quiet. Take advantage and get creative with how you’re getting your product or service out into the market and be seen. Maybe you’ll have to pull back to an old school method of dialing the phone to contact potential clients or customers. Use the power of your team to brainstorm ideas as to how you can stay afloat and push your brand further.
10- Offer Value First – When you offer people something for free, you create a psychological effect which urges the receiver of that value to reciprocate it back to you. In other words, you create the want for somebody to work with you. Now, it might not be in the present or the next few weeks because of what is going on, but clients and customers ALWAYS remember who was there for them when they needed it most and will come back when the time is right. In other words, karma!
11-Book Into The Future – Instead of not booking anything, stress with clients and customers the need to get something on the books for the future and then see how things play out. Both parties will be glad they did this when business and the market take off again like a rocket ship and people are swamped in catch-up mode.
12-Look to Collaborate – In times of need, nothing works better than coming together for a greater cause. Are there other businesses you can collaborate with, share services or offer each other services in exchange? As one business sinks in a time like this, there are also those that excel. Use each other as best as possible to help each other out. If you’re a business currently doing well, look to help others. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
13-Think Ahead to Quarters 3 & 4 – Let’s not lie to ourselves. The first two quarters of this year are more than likely going to be pretty shot. However, that DOES provide an opportunity to maybe kill it later this year in quarters 3 and 4. Brainstorm with your team how you can best prepare to move ahead and stay on top of things when business does finally turn around. Think about how you can make up for lost ground later this year with new marketing, deals, products, etc.
14-Partner With A Trusted Resource – When times get tough, don’t try and go it alone. Find a trusted partner or resource that will help you get through the challenges and obstacles. An outside and unbiased resource that can enter the danger zone and walk you through those tough conversations and situations to help your business pull through this will be worth their weight in gold to you.
15-Take Time To Work On Your Business – Finally, the most underrated item in this list is to take the slowdown to finally work ON your business and address the items and tasks within it you’ve been meaning to do forever. Clean up and lay out missing processes. Revamp your marketing and messaging. Get back to the basics and solidify your framework to get operating as efficiently as possible. Connect with past customers you haven’t spoken with recently. In other words, solidify and reinforce the foundation of your business.
Remember that we WILL get through this and that we’ll find a new normal. Do what you can. Prepare what you can. Look to the future and keep after it!
If there is anything I can do to help you with your business during these tougher times please reach out to me personally. I’d love to connect over the phone, through Zoom, email or other online messaging to help you navigate some tougher waters here and come out on the other side a stronger and better business and individual!