The events in the past months have really demonstrated to us the fragility of everything that we’ve been so dependent on in our day-to-day.
We’ve been thrown into a ‘new norm’ practically overnight. The littlest things that we used to enjoy without a second thought such as having loved ones over for a meal, enjoying a weekend beer at the local, taking the kids out to the beach down to taking public transport to work have all been transformed overnight.
Suddenly, our worlds have shrunk to a level that most of us have never experienced.
Consumer behaviour is now challenged, businesses are required to pivot, the old ways of ‘doing’ and ‘being’ are somewhat obsolete. Our personal, social and professional hard drives are now needing to be re-programmed, and whilst some of us are embracing this new way of being, others are finding it to be a big challenge.
With the world’s economy at stake and consumerism taking a drastic shift, many businesses across industries are feeling the impact in a significant way. Business owners are led to question their ways of thinking and doing, and walking the fine balance of selling vs servicing.
I’ve discovered very quickly being a small business owner myself that there are two distinctive camps; businesses who flick on ‘panic’ mode and businesses who switch on to ‘pivot’ mode.
It’s not easy when you have the universe on your shoulders on all fronts, personal and professional, to make a conscious decision to still show up in your business.
But here’s why you need to demonstrate grit, sheer determination and the passion to serve, instead of retreating to a bunker with a year’s supply of baked beans and dare I say it, toilet paper…
1) Your audience NEEDS you!
Yep, you heard that right. Your audience NEEDS you; RIGHT NOW.
In a time when everything is shaken and not stirred, your audience needs to know that they can still rely on a degree of normality.
Fundamentally, humans are creatures who crave comfort and the familiar. So even if they can’t sit at your café to indulge in a latte, they can still rely on their local barista to conjure up that morning cuppa. You’re still a huge part of their daily routine, even though it’s in takeaway form.
Don’t shy away from marketing and advertising your business but do it in an empathetic way.
Connect with benefits, rather than flaunting the features.
2) Opportunities are in abundance
It’s a natural to switch on the “fight or flight” when we’re put in a situation that’s new and has our knickers in a twist. However, keep those knickers where they are instead of using them as blindfolds.
The way we consume and purchase may have changed, but with change comes new opportunity.
Keep your ears and eyes peeled for emerging trends. Don’t be afraid to pivot away from what your business traditionally offers. I mean there are businesses out there who have pivoted from beer brewing to creating a hand sanitiser, to a live events company making flat pack home office furniture.
Keep your ears and eyes peeled on what consumers are wanting to see if you can capitalise on those trends.
One hand sanitiser company does not a monopoly make.
3) Connect with your audience
This is not the time for duck-lipped selfies on Instagram.
This is a strange time where everyone in the world is affected by the one thing. It’s not something that discriminates.
Celebrities who’re coming forth from their multi-million dollar mansions and in-house chefs, personal trainers and nannies are being shunned for their so-called motivational talk. Easier said than done when you’re getting a manicure and your kids home-schooled by a private tutor.
This is the time to show up in your PJs, a beard that’s been ungroomed and a face that has not seen a glimmer of makeup.
Relate to your audience that will make them feel that you get them, and you’re like one of them.
Be real, be authentic and stop trying to be a brand that’s trying too hard. Goop anyone?
4) Accountability counts
When you made that decision to start a business, you’ve basically signed a lifelong contract with ‘Accountability’.
Whether you decide to show up is not determined by which side of the bed you woke up from, you show up because your business and your audience needs you to.
You’re the mover and the shaker of that universe. You’re now accountable to no, not just you, but your audience, your business partners, your family and everyone else who’s behind you.
Don’t forget that you’re doing this to serve others, and not just your personal bank account. The till will ring once you’ve built that trust.
I’m not saying that showing up is easy to do, but I’m saying that you absolutely have to, regardless of circumstances.
It’s the ones who show grit, see this as an opportunity more than a threat, serve their audience who’ll thrive when it seems to be just darkness all around us.
And to be brutally honest, a challenging time like this isn’t exactly new, it’s simply change but in a different form. With change comes a bounty of opportunity, it’s how you perceive change that determines how you come out of this.
As Dan Millman, author of the ‘Peaceful Warrior’ series of books says,
“Before you see the light, you have to deal with the darkness.”
So, I would encourage you to go out there (figuratively speaking) with your eagerness cap on and see how you can best show up in your business, both for yourself and your people.