When there’s a storm you need to dance in the rain!
This week I have spoken to lots of a4c’s clients and have been really encouraged by the positivity around. There’s some creative thinking going on, which I love!
The reality is that we can’t change the situation we are faced with but we can change how we react to it. I thought I would jot down a few notes, which could help if you’re feeling low or uncertain at this time and if you want to talk through your action plan, then the team at a4c are here for YOU.
It’s important right now to be aware of who you’re talking to and the messages you’re hearing, if you watch the news channels 24/7 you’ll be consumed with the Armageddon storyline. This becomes so overwhelming that you won’t just be focusing on the problems in front of you now, you’ll be focusing on ALL the problems you could have FOREVER MORE. This isn’t helpful. You can’t deal with problems you don’t know about yet.
Preserve your energy by only focussing on the next three months. If we look to other countries there’s a pattern that in three months we may be coming out the other side. That’s not long in business. 12 weeks is one quarter of the year. Think how quickly your VAT return comes around each time!
The key is to look at the situation in front of you through a different lens. Positive thinking is not just about thinking good things because if you are in a position of fear it will make you worse as you feel that you have to compensate for the people around you not taking it seriously. Instead you have to break things down into manageable chunks.
The process to change your mindset includes a number of steps:
1. Embrace the melt down
Talk through the fears and worries you are harbouring. Don’t indulge in the feelings but realistically list the worries you have and identify those that you have control over. Dump the rest.
If you need to, embrace the melt down. Think of yourself as a caterpillar. To metamorphize the caterpillar fully liquifies before the cells reform to become a butterfly!
2. Buy into a better vision of the future
To rebuild you need to look for a vision of the future which is different from the one you are currently blinded with, so scenario plan. Where are the opportunities in this situation?
In the film Forrest Gump there’s a scene where the storm hits. Their shrimp fishing boat is being thrown around in the waves and rain. Forrest is scared but Lieutenant Dan is angry, he yells “YOU CALL THIS A STORM?!”. Cut to the morning after and a news reporter shows the devastation amongst the fishing community with boats smashed to pieces. There’s only one boat remaining, which sails into port loaded with shrimp. The Bubba Gump Shrimp empire is born!
The message is that those who did nothing and thought they would be safe in the harbour didn’t survive. You need to embrace the storm and dance in the rain!
3. Practical forecasting and scenario planning
What’s the worst-case scenario over the next three months? It could be that you’ll have no money. If this were to happen what can you do? Is there cash in the bank? Do you have an overdraft? Can you secure finance? Do you need to make cuts? Should you defer tax payments? Can you take a mortgage payment holiday? You have options.
4. Galvanise your team and get everyone feeling loved and motivated
What do you have to do to get through the next three months? If you’ve got a valued team it’s vital that you keep them. Have honest conversations with them to avoid their worry. The government said this week “Employers, stand by your team and we will stand by you”. Give them certainty that they’ll have a job at the end of this and that they will continue to be paid so that together you can get through this.
Remember that behaviour breads behaviour. If you are loyal to your team you will be rewarded with loyalty when we come out the other side.
5. Build foundations
Use this time to get the things done that you’ve been putting off. Strengthen the foundations of your business. Review and improve your systems and processes. Explore opportunities you’ve not had time to do before. Work out how you can digitise your offering.
6. Start to look-up and consider the opportunities
People still have money. They are still spending but today they buy loo roll instead of iphones. How can you tap into their needs over the next 12 weeks?
Think outside the box.
- Parents are home schooling their kids can you do an online lesson plan or offer a mail order arts & crafts product?
- People are stuck indoors and missing their fitness routine, can you run a workout they can follow online?
- The focus is on cleanliness, can you build a cleaning offering into your list of services?
- Bars and restaurants are closed but the supermarkets have no food, can you switch your restaurant to a high end take-away?
7. Long-term marketing, investing in your customers and supporting your community
It might be that you can’t make money in the current situation so work on keeping your customers engaged, and then in 12 weeks’ time you can start to sell again. Your audience will remember and stick by you.
Create blogs, videos, help sheets. Give your time for free, support others with your experience and advice. Invest in long term relationship building rather than direct sales.
Where the attention goes the energy flows…
We didn’t choose for this to happen but as business owners and entrepreneurs this is what we’re good at. Covid-19 is an obstacle in our business and we are experts in overcoming obstacles. You already have the skill-set to cope. So ask yourself;
- What am I going to focus on?
- What does it mean?
- What am I going to do about it?
We are facing a storm, but we are facing it together. A4C will continue to stand by your side and give you the support you need as we look forward to a time when things return to normal!
We wish you and your family good health and good fortune in the weeks & months ahead.