Business was cruising along.
You had a full roster of active clients. A few potential new clients. A system for getting their projects done.
Accounts receivable flowing. Accounts payable manageable. Money in, money out. Business bank account respectable.
And boom. Out of the blue, there’s a pandemic. (Did you have to Google the word? I did.) Quarantine. Shut downs. Coronavirus.
Say what? Maybe your first thought was danger to your health, and that of your loved ones.
Second thought may have been “How will this affect my business? My income? My security?”
Now we realize that though this circumstance is “temporary”, it is also longer term than anyone would like to adjust to. But you can emerge stronger from COVID-19.
How can you benefit from the New Normal?
If you’re a business owner, you probably have a to-do list a mile long. Many of those items are urgent tasks and need to be handled as soon as possible. And now many of them may not even be relevant – Cross them off the list!
But what about the important, but not urgent items? You know, the list of actions you’d like to do to get you and your business from where you are now to where you’d like to be – in say one year or five years or even 10 years?
Maybe you’ve been wanting to develop a new product or offer a new service. Or maybe it’s trying a new approach to market an existing service to find new clients. Maybe your website has become outdated and no longer truly expresses your business as a whole.
The current Stay Home mandate is the perfect time to revisit your long-range ideas and make a new plan to reach those goals.
Too much chaos right now is a good thing.
That’s right. And from the chaos you can create and ultimately emerge even stronger from COVID-19.
The whole family’s at home all day, every day? This felt awesome at first, right? Forced quality time with loved ones is a mixed blessing for a business owner – the question becomes how to juggle family and business in close quarters.
But you didn’t get to where you are without creatively setting boundaries for your business time and your family time. You can do it again, just differently. Need some suggestions? Check out this article on setting personal boundaries.
Your business feels upside down.
The team isn’t used to working remotely and need constant supervision and assistance. Or if you have a remote team, now they, too, have the distraction of their whole family at home.
The clients are emailing, saying they’re adjusting their budgets – downward.
New prospects are putting new projects on hold.
Cash flow for next month looks dramatically different than it did last month.
Take a deep breath. This truly is the right time to readjust and recognize that “change” is a constant in business. Use the change productively – for your greater good, for your family, and for your business.
Embracing the Change
Start by releasing the worry. You got this. You own and manage a successful business and you will figure out how to get through this current climate and thrive. Every situation is temporary.
Your role in your business is multi-layered. Your main function is to be sure the clients are receiving the best products and services you can deliver.
Ultimately you want to exceed their expectations, so they remain loyal to you and send referrals.
How is the current climate affecting this core? First, figure out how to make your customers’ experiences as seamless as possible to the normal they are used to. And in doing this, you’ll revise existing systems, create new ones, and get your team back on track.
Then you can look at using this time for future planning. That’s your other main role – Chief Visionary.
What are those big business ideas you have that you just can’t seem to get to?
Time for Thinking
Schedule an hour for yourself. Tell your family in advance that this time is off-limits (excepting emergency). Get your partner’s buy-in to assist with the kids.
Go to a comfortable private space. Turn off your phone. Grab a notebook and pen. Use your computer if you prefer, but there is something that frees you when you write this stuff down on paper.
If you have an ongoing list of long-term business ideas and projects, have it with you.
You’re going to start with that list and recreate it. Start by eliminating anything that no longer excites you or seems unnecessary.
Rewrite the list to your fresh notebook, but reframe each item in a way that holds you accountable to taking action.
For example, if you have been thinking about creating an online course, the original item might say “Create an online course”. The new item could say “Online course – find 5 websites offering online courses that would attract me”.
If you need help with reframing your ideas into more tangible action items, shoot me a message.
Now title this list Emerge Strong with today’s date and start a new page.
Tackling big projects to emerge stronger from COVID-19
This is an ongoing exercise – what comes to mind during this hour may not be comprehensive. Look at this exercise as a start and plan right now to revisit this in a few days to see what else your brain has visualized once you give it this jump-start.
- Picture yourself five years from now. What can you define that you would like to be feeling? What would you like your business to look like? Why are these important to you?
- Consider today as Day 1 of your new year. What is your one major goal for the next 12 months? This is the goal that if achieved, would truly launch you toward what you just visualized for your 5-year goal. Check your Emerge Strong list – have you already identified this #1 immediate goal?
- What steps will you need to take to reach that goal? This should be a long list. If you don’t know, the first step may be research, then the more you learn, new steps will present themselves.
For example, you may determine that the online course is the item to focus on for the coming year.
Action 1: Find 5 websites offering online courses that would attract me. Then ask yourself – Why do you find these attractive – Content? Presentation? Promise of results? Document these websites and your thoughts for future reference.
Action 2: Research competitors – Who is doing this now? How are they doing it? How will your approach be unique?
Action 3: What kinds of technology is being used? What will you need to learn? What resources do you have who can help you?
More actions will become obvious once you start this process. The hard part is starting the process – once you start, you’ll figure out what needs to happen next. Commit one hour each week to accomplish the next action item.
Then it’s simply updating your list each week with the next tangible action. When you break a big project down into step-by-step actions, you’ll see progress each time you complete one of them.
Need help deciphering what action will have the most impact in moving you forward? Send me a message. The form comes directly to me and I answer each message.
New territory calls for a future-focused approach
This may be new territory for you. But the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be continuing for a while. It may be draining on you, your family, and your business.
Positivity about the future, and excitement about new vision and goals enables you to dream of better days ahead and not dwell in the present coronavirus circumstance.
Taking a future-focused approach now will put you in position to emerge stronger from COVID-19.