You’ve heard me mention that one of my personal “go-to” quotes is, “A Ship In The Harbor Is Safe But That’s Not What Ships Are Built For.” I’ve called up that quote a lot in the past few weeks. As we adjust and readjust to our new circumstances it’s even more important to remember that entrepreneurs, by our very nature, are ships that refuse to sit in a harbor. It’s within our DNA to build, create, provide, assist, support, inspire, improve and change lives for the better. That’s how we make a difference in our communities and the world.
But change is hard, especially with the recent COVID-19 crisis because:
a) we didn’t see it coming, so we didn’t have time to prepare
b) we have zero control over it
c) we’re not sure how long it’ll last
Yet as we deal with all of this, the one thing that we can hold onto is our dedication to our clients and to our businesses.
Down Can Be Up
During the 2008 “Great Recession” dozens of today’s top companies were launched, including WhatsApp (2009), Venmo (2009), Instagram (2009), Uber (2009), Pinterest (2009), and Slack (2009). These businesses kept to their plans — adjusting them for sure — but they didn’t quit. Those that did quit? We don’t know anything about them. That’s the point.
What about waiting until “everything goes back to normal” or “until it gets better? There’s no date on the calendar circled in red when that will be and, honestly, we’re going to be creating a new normal, not going back to the old one. So we have to do what entrepreneurs always do: dig deep, adapt, plan and proceed. Here are four simple ways to remember why we have to stay strong and focused right now:
- COMPETITORS: While you’re putting everything on hold, your competitors are staying visible so it’s important that you don’t disappear from view. Be flexible, collaborative and creative. Develop a partnership with an unlikely business that gets you in front of a new audience or target client. Open the door to exceptional possibilities.
- CLIENTS: You’ve spent too much time identifying, developing, investing in, and nurturing a relationship with your clients. Despite everything that’s going on they still want and expect to hear from you. Think about creating a new, lower-priced option that still provides what they’re looking for. If you’re a business that relies on in-person interactions think of ways you can support your clients virtually. For example: a massage therapist can do a short video on simple muscle tension releases that can be done alone or with a partner. Your clients trust you, so keep helping them.
- CONNECTION: Your clients are looking to you for guidance and information; they want to know that your business is there and will be there when they’re ready, which may be sooner than you think. They also want to know that you’re okay. Remember to check in on your former clients and prospects too, and genuinely ask how they are. Connection is about heartfelt outreach and support.
- CASH: I know we’re not “supposed to” say that, but we’re in business for a reason, and we need revenue to ensure our business’ longevity. We support so many people — our families, staff, vendors, their families and more. It’s imperative that we do what we can to stay viable during challenging times.
Focus on what’s important and what’s in your control.
Life begins outside of your comfort zone.