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3 things you can do now that will pay dividends in the future
If there is one constant in life, it is change. There is no denying that the past few weeks have turned many people’s lives upside down. One area that’s been impacted more than most, is for those in business – especially owners and managers of service led, small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
The Challenge for Business
Today, many businesses sit between not having the ability to fully benefit from the Chancellors furlough initiative and those getting support for being self-employed.
In many cases, the only other route is to look for working capital from banks. Sadly, until pushed further to do so by the Government, it is a case of the mind is willing, but the body is weak. Numerous reports in the press recently show this to be the case.
In a few months, this scenario if allowed to continue, will kill off, or at least seriously damage what the UK has been at the forefront of – innovation, start-ups and entrepreneurs. On top of all this, SMEs are massive employers.
According to the investment bank JP Morgan Chase, almost half of all employees in the US are employed by SMEs. Source: JP Morgan Chase
In the UK, SMEs account for 99.9% of the business population (5.9 million businesses) and three fifths of employment as well as around half of turnover in the UK private sector. Total employment in SMEs was 16.6 million (60% of the total), whilst turnover was estimated at £2.2 trillion (52%). Source: FSB
With the clear facts above and as reported by the FT this weekend – businesses deserve better from our government.
This is NOT the new normal
There is no doubt that we will learn (hopefully) from the current status quo and gain many positives – remote working and appreciating our time, are just two of the many positive takeaways from the current hiatus.
I can understand why people would try and justify our current scenario as normal – it’s a coping mechanism. The reality is, it’s temporary and signs are showing globally that though we are not quite out of the woods, there is a need for commerce to flow.
When the current scenario ends, we want to be prepared and ready. But what can we do now? How do we keep going so we can pick up in potentially, 4-6 weeks from now? What’s required to see this through so we have something tangible when the time comes, to go back to something akin to normal?
Many people talk about resilience without fully understanding the meaning of the word.
It is always worth looking at the etymology before looking at how we achieve it.
In most dictionary definitions, resilience refers to recovery. So for example, if one is recovering from an injury or operation, we know this takes time. Recovery is not something that happens overnight. Resilience therefore, needs to be worked on. Like developing a muscle, the focus and effort we put in today will pay dividends in the future.
We must constantly plan to build resilience. How do we achieve this? Where do we start?
1.Understanding what we need
If we look at Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs, we see that he talks about fulfilling the basics before we can move up to achieving our full potential.
This is worth reminding ourselves. Understanding that these fundamental requirements are a start point helps us focus on what’s important.
So, how can we understand and practically do what is needed right now? One way to focus, is to think about Maslow’s bottom tier, the physiological needs.
In our day to day we take so much for granted. In a world where billions have no running water or sanitation, appreciating what we have can help to understand basic needs.
Food, water, warmth and rest. If we can reflect on these core four areas and provide for these, then we will have achieved the bottom rung – the foundation. From here we can build up.
2. Developing our Attitude
We are what we think. All that we are, arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
Having recently finished a sales course with Sandler training, I learnt a lot from two fantastic coaches – Luke Davies and Ben Lange.
Sandler talked about three areas that determined success in sales and life in general. Behaviour, Technique and Attitude.
Our attitude or belief is controlled by us. How we view something is determined by how we approach and think about it.
An important part of resilience is your attitude in an ongoing process of development and management. Some areas that we can work on:
Face your fears
We all notice the powerful urge to avoid fears. We are wired to run toward comfort rather than confront what’s needed. In most situations, it is worse for you and your life to avoid what you are afraid of instead of facing it. Taking small, positive, steady steps to banish your fear will do wonders to calm your brain and your life.
Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway has some good advice here.
The mind, like your body and soul can benefit from meditation. Meditation can help manage anxiety and depression as well as pain. Though historically viewed as a little leftfield, it is widely adopted practice by all leading business people and top performers.
Resources: The Headspace app or Calm are always a good place to start as are numerous podcasts on the subject.
Change your narrative
As mentioned previously, what we think will determine what we believe. Some of the hardest conversations you will have, is with yourself. Learning from the great philosophers and rulers of ancient Rome and Greece are remarkably relevant in today’s world.
Resources: The Daily Stoic is a good resource for thinking about addressing your narrative. Another good podcast is Chris O’Hearne, Strong Within.
There is a great list of some business podcasts available and few favourites here.
3. Keep prospecting
It takes quite a few elements to run a business successfully. From managing cash flow, to hiring a team and managing people.
Even in these challenging times, there are immediate things you can do right now to enhance your business. It is important to keep marketing, even if one feels that no one is buying.
One area that is key is sales. Without sales there is no new business and without prospecting, there are no new sales. Prospecting therefore, is the lifeblood of sales.
There have been numerous books, podcasts and blogs written about prospecting and sales. But here are some fundamentals:
I will be writing another post on how to sell during these difficult times but in the meantime, I have produced a list of some practical and clever ways of keeping your brand out there.
Immediate Things You Should Do For Your Online Business In Line With Covid-19
Marketing Your Business When Nobody’s Buying
How to Adapt Your Digital Marketing Strategy in Uncertain Times
In conclusion, keep the faith and keep your mindset positive. We have a choice. If we are what we think, then let’s think like winners. Best of luck and stay strong.