There’s a lot of uncertainty in this season. You feel it, we feel it…things have shifted and will continue to shift as the reality of this global pandemic evolves.
So if you’re a small biz owner and are feeling the pressure, know you’re not alone!
And even though it may be tempting to remind idle and bask in the “down time” that many of us have been presented with, I encourage you to use this time wisely and stay productive.
I’ve thought a lot about what we, as entrepreneurs, can be doing in this uneasy period to protect what we’ve built and continue to grow.
When business takes an unexpected turn (like a global pandemic), it’s normal to feel isolated and overwhelmed. This is why it’s important to find safe spaces to connect with those who can relate to what you’re going through. This could be an online community – like a Facebook or Slack group – or a weekly coffee date with a fellow entrepreneur. Don’t underestimate the power of surrounding yourself with like-minded people.
2. Stay visible
If your first instinct is to shrink away, fight the urge! Make an effort to start conversation in your community. Continue to share, post and engage. Let people in on what you’re going through, everyone likes a peak behind-the-scenes! Your presence will keep your business top of mind and, who knows, someone might really need to hear what you have to say. Vulnerability is invaluable. Be open!
3. Update all the things
Let’s be productive in this time! If “regular” business is slower than usual, it’s the perfect opportunity to turn your attention to the aspects of the business that may not be the star of the show. Update your website, CRM, contracts, email templates, copy…all the things. When it’s back to business as usual, your future self will thank you.
4. Build workflows
Most of the time, we’re surviving on plans we’ve piecemealed together along the way. But what if you used this time to streamline your plan? What if you created SOPs (standard operating procedures) for you and your team to make your workflow the most efficient it could be? Even if you just focus on one area of the business and put together a simple plan, it’s a start!
5. Engage with your audience
It can feel weird showing up on social media in a time with such extreme anxiety and change around the globe. But amidst the chaos, small business like yours stills need to function. And they can’t function without the audience. So it’s important to keep your customers in the loop! Give them real-time updates and honesty over social media. It will go a long way.
Here’s some ideas on what you can post:
A raw update on how you and the business are doing
What changes have been made as a result of the pandemic – how your products and services are going to be available for your customers
Behind-the-scenes looks at what you’re doing to keep things up and running
How you’re planning to show up for your audience amidst all the change
A request for support – telling your audience how they can show up for you during this time
Words of sympathy, support and encouragement
Free value – what you’ve learned from this, how it will affect you moving forward
Here’s an example:
As a small business owner, it’s no surprise that the happenings of this world will deeply impact my ability to (share how your business serves the world.) This time can be devastating to many small business owners. (Share how you are personally impacted by the shut down.) Many of you have asked and the best way to support us through this period is by (share how others can tangibly support your business.) In this difficult time, it’s hard to know what to share here on these channels and what is appropriate. Do you still want to hear about (your product/service)? Or is there something else you’d like us to share about? Feel free to let me know. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones in this time.
6. Support other small biz owners
One thing we love about small biz owners is the love and respect for others on the same quest. It’s amazing to see everyone rally and support others who are also experiencing the uncertainty of their income and wellbeing!
Showing up for your fellow biz owners – even in small ways – is huge. Whether it’s simply sending them a note to check in and see how they’re doing, offering a listening ear, featuring them on your channel to up their exposure, purchasing gift cards from them, donating.
I truly believe that entrepreneurs are the most resilient kinds of humans. While this crisis affects everyone, I have full faith in those who are widely passionate about what they do and who they serve. Their grit and tenacity will get them through this and before we know it, we’ll find ourselves in the busyness of business yet again.
Until then, create value in the downtime by improving. Improving your mindset, improving your systems, improving your skills, improving your offering.
And don’t forget that you’re not alone. We’re rooting for you every step of the way.
You will survive, and then you will thrive.