So the next few months…
This virus is gonna affect us in some way. I didn’t want to believe it. I’ve been ignoring it – it’s not gonna make a difference, things will continue .. but there’s no cure. It’s spreading and whilst there are infographics and stats flying around all over the place about other illnesses, this one just keeps on coming and it’s not going away, not yet. Look what’s happening around the world.. how quickly advice keeps changing..
I’ve certainly experienced disruption in my business, not terrible end-of-the-world stuff, but missing out on events due to avoidance, changing a meeting to a call, being asked if I’ve been to China.. I look at my diary and see in person meetings becoming Zoom calls, networking being cancelled, one project being delayed and another cancelled. I’m hoping for the best of course, I can’t help it. I’m naturally positive – but things could get worse than not being able to buy toilet roll – and we need to be ready.
Ready incase we do have to go into lockdown mode and work in a different way. For if we suddenly have children to entertain because the schools have closed. For some people this will feel like a bigger change than for others. For some people this will be more challenging.
You can look at this as an opportunity for your business or as a threat. Draw yourself a grid and do a SWOT analysis. I did this and it was very interesting.
The threats as I see it are fear – fear of others and fear for myself. I have asthma, I’m in that at risk group (lucky me…) This might prevent in-person meetings. That’s OK, Zoom is a great tool! This might prevent people from working with me NOW because they want to make sure they have enough money – especially if they’re concerned that their income will drop. This might mean that people re-evaluate and choose to spend on a different priority. And there’s the worst outcomes too..
The opportunities are that more people could be away from work work. Perhaps this will be their opportunity to work ON their businesses? To get to work on their side hustle, to think about how they could make home working for themselves a reality. So those people might have more need for my services and more time available at an unexpected point to devote to the process. The same goes for those people who run face to face businesses and either don’t want to or haven’t prepared or can’t work over video instead. More time to work on their businesses. If I can help those people then that would be great. We could use the opportunity together and briefly forget about the stuff going on in the world.
Let’s look on the bright side… 😕
Weaknesses are when people prefer to meet in real life, technology is not always very helpful and of course if we do end up in isolation with the schools closed the challenges of working from home WITH my kids around when I have no real dedicated office space at home… doing calls and lives and making stuff happen could be hard.. but it’ll just have to be possible. There are rooms.
Strengths are that I have the sort of business where working remotely is pretty much the norm anyway. I can use Zoom. I can network online. We have the internet. I have everything I need here. I’ll save money on petrol. I won’t be confined by the school run. I can change my sleeping patterns to take advantage of the times when the kids are asleep without impacting the running of their lives. I can work in my pyjamas. I’d better stock up on tea..
We all have different businesses so I think it would be really interesting to have a discussion about your SWOT analysis. Is there anything you need to do NOW so that your business can continue to run if you need to stay at home? Or so you can still make money without leaving the house? What can you do with your kids if the schools close? How are you gonna stay calm?
There are some things that we can all do which will help.
1. My favourite word… consistency.
Get out there, show up, take action. Show people you exist. Be there everyday. Consistent branding isn’t just about looking the part, it’s about adding to the content you’re writing so that people stop and pay attention. Making sure that you’re remembered, recognised and referred. It’s about saying STOP! This is me and you want to look at this.
Be the person who people see is there. Showing up. Consistently.
You won‘t annoy them. Honest. They aren’t seeing everything you put out. Only you are.
I made sales with my emails last week. Actual sales! I was so surprised! I don’ t think my email list has been very well taken care of recently and I wasn’t expecting it – but it worked.
That email list is important. That’s a list of people who have some sort of interest in you and what you do enough that they have given you permission to contact them. Woah…! 😮 what an opportunity! So be consistent here too.
Offer people something. Grow your list. Keep them informed. Give them more value. Expect sales. Do surveys. Get to know them. Build a relationship.
3. Share what you have!
It’s so easy to just not mention what you have for sale. To skirt around the issue – I’ve been doing x, I’ve been helping such and such with y.. but maybe people are still hazy on what you do. Make sure you mention that. Let them know what else you have available that complements what they need, they might buy more from you.
4. If your business is face to face then you might need to work out a different way to make this work if we end up on lockdown. Right now, we’re ahead. What could you do?
Can you offer a subscription? Something where people can sign up now and get something every month in exchange. This is great because it means you can plan a bit more. Perhaps they pay each month and receive a bespoke card every month, or they pay a monthly fee to get a massage each month. Or they pay over three months and get consultancy. Or they get a new seasonal accessory each month. It’s your business – what could you offer?
Could you make an in person service into a Zoom call or create an ebook to sell? Could you create an online programme? Could you sell remote support? Could you create an online shop? Could you teach others how to do what you do *normally?*
The coronavirus sucks. There’s a lot about this that isn’t in our control. But there are other things – aside from washing your hands – that you CAN take control of.
So do that.
Take control where you can.
Seek out the opportunities that exist. This isn’t about profiting from something awful, it’s about protecting yourself and your business.
What are you gonna do?