The past 5 weeks have presented intense challenges to many business owners. Below are some reflections based on personal experiences and those arising from discussions with business owners around the globe. It is hard to get a sense of the scale of these upheavals.
1. Where is your focus
12% unemployed or 88% employed. Businesses closing or businesses starting up, hiring new staff. Confirmation bias is profound. We see things that reinforce our underlying beliefs and attitudes.
Under stress, this is amplified. And do not go blaming the press – bad news always gets more attention. It is people’s survivalist instincts at work.
2. Rise of local
Globalisation will be under retreat, and local search on Google has exploded. However, not all local is physical. It can also be with those that you have common interests, values or attitudes. Participation in LinkedIn groups and online business forums has more than doubled in the past weeks.
3. Now is the time to help
Investing time, energy and offering insight to our existing clients is always a good thing. In marketing, it is called retention. Right now, it is time to over-deliver on that support. Give the best of yourself. It will be remembered, makes you re-markable, and talked about.
4. Relationships are king
As the world becomes more cautious, the importance of personal endorsement will escalate. It is an excellent time to look back into your networks, reconnect in a deeper, more personal way.
5. Ecommerce is an obvious option but…
Ecommerce is not just an online shop; it has its specific logistics, service delivery and technology issues. It's why I have spent as much time talking business owners through that, as creating e-commerce platforms and generating sales.
Still, it has exploded, and there is still plenty of scope for more business.
6. Opportunities are there
For those with that mindset. We have helped:
- A yoga centre launch online delivery and subscription service.
- A local butcher replace 30% of lost turnover with home delivery online sales.
- A business finance broker generate valuable enquiries through social media.
- A medical specialist deliver consults digitally, and his patients love the convenience.
And there are plenty of other examples out there. It's not easy. But it is just work.
7. "Humans are feeling machines that think"
Most human behaviour is driven by emotions and then rationalised, even in business.
It has nothing to do with intelligence or the ability to detach. Over the past weeks, I have experienced top tier accountants, advisors, medical specialists and lawyers drop into profound spaces of fear. Stop. Cut. Develop small closed mindsets and lose sight of the fact that this too will pass.
Understandable. We are all human but it is also, in the long run, debilitating and expensive.
8. Adapt innovate and promote
This is not the first contraction in the business world, but the business studies are clear. Those businesses that adapt, innovate and keep promoting accelerate out of the downturn and win.
Finally, I have personally enjoyed the increased compassion and tolerance of my fellow human beings over the past six weeks. We are capable of profound things. If we want.
I hope that we take that forward into the future.