I wanted to personally reach out in the midst of this crazy time to share what I hope is a voice of calm, reason, and encouragement.
In my 21+ years of business, I’ve never seen anything like what we’re going through right now. Amid great chaos, we have two choices (and they are choices): freak out or focus in. I’m choosing to focus in, and I want to share how I’ve gotten to this place in hopes that it will help you too.
Uncertainty creates great fear, and fear puts people in a position to make decisions that are not wise. Don’t fall into that trap of deciding based on fear.
7 key things have helped me find perspective and a path forward among all of the noise and craziness right now.
#1 STEP BACK
Seriously, take a step back. Turn off the news and social media, and get outside for some fresh air. I know that sounds basic, but sometimes basic is exactly what we need. Take a minute to write down 5 things or people you are most thankful for and why — even in the midst of chaos.
#2 KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
Evaluate the numbers and put together a clear plan. Once you have a clear head, look at your numbers individually and as a business. It’s smart to have a plan for all scenarios — this thing could clear up in a few weeks, and it’s business as usual, or the virus could drag on, creating a major drain on our economy. What are you going to do in both cases? Decide that when you’re calm, not when you’re in a mental space of panic and fear.
#3 GET IN COMMUNITY
Get in community (probably digitally at this point). Find some other business leaders or people in similar positions to you and spend some time talking through things over a video call. Don’t make decisions in isolation. Having good people around you will change everything.
#4 BE OPEN & TRANSPARENT
Now is not the time to hide in your office and not communicate because you’re scared. If you’re scared, your team is likely scared too. Be open about that, but lead from transparency, not fear. Let your team know where you are as a company and what your plan is moving forward.
#5 LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY
We are incredibly blessed to live in a time where technology can allow vast amounts of communication and work to continue. Tools like ZOOM for video conferencing and Slack for instant messaging are incredibly powerful when it comes to staying connected and getting work done. Use these tools to keep meetings on track and communication moving forward.
#6 ASK: WHAT DOES THIS MAKE POSSIBLE?
You can use your time in isolation for worry or for good. Great changes in environments, workspaces, and economies create opportunities that may not have existed before. For example, this necessary period of remote work might help you reevaluate the way your team communicates. What could you change in your life or business that might not have been possible before? Instead of looking at the negative, ask the question “What does this make possible?” You may be surprised by what you find.
#7 STAY THE COURSE WITH MARKETING (or improve it!)
Henry Ford is attributed with the quote, “Those who stop marketing to save money are like those who stop a clock to save time.” As a marketing agency, I realize it sounds a little biased for me to talk about this, but the truth is, you need a plan to get through this crisis AND one for the return to normal business.
At some point, this mess will be over, and the market will turn around quickly. You need to be in a position to capture customers as they flood back into the market. It’s more important than ever to make sure your messaging is exceptionally clear and that you have a plan in place to get attention and acquire customers. Your marketing engine could be the thing that helps keep your business afloat through this season and many others.
At Design Extensions, we are fortunate to have spent 16+ years working remotely (we only built our physical office 4 years ago), so moving to a fully remote environment is very smooth for us. We are 100% operational in this time and thankful to have the ability to still serve our clients through the storm. Our job is to provide stability in messaging, accessibility in technology, and a plan to help them grow through and out of this crisis. That’s exactly what we are doing.
As has been said before, “This too shall pass.” Trying times are the times where the best businesses and the best leaders rise up. It will be tough, but if we band together, stay focused, and lead from a plan instead of fear, we will make it through it!