Over the past week, I’ve heard lots of ‘oh, here we go again’, type comments and lots of negativity around businesses with the second wave Covid pandemic upon us. A lot of us are now experiencing the inevitable second lockdown, which I know is a pretty bitter pill to swallow. It’s not only businesses that are suffering, it’s also our mental health; something that seems to be more highlighted this time around…probably due to lessons learned from last time.
So, what can you do to make the most of a bad situation?
Developing a growth mindset for your small business
We all know that our businesses are going through the mill all over the world – it’s one of the most radical changes the world has seen in the history of work. And lots of us are struggling with this new environment; this new ‘normal’. Big companies, and even the NHS, are learning how to work, manage and lead their employees from a distance, whilst they work from home. But what about the small business? How can you cope during these very stressful times? It’s very hard when there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight, despite what we’re being told by our various governments. I think it’s time we took charge and helped ourselves – obviously this isn’t as easy as it sounds and will involve changes, but sometimes change can be good.
One way is to develop a growth mindset and think of other ways to manage your small business. Hopefully this article will give you some ideas. You CAN do it and you WILL still manage some growth in your business.
How can I develop a growth mindset?
I don’t have all the answers, but after thinking about this at length, this is what I have decided on for my business. I’ll share my thoughts and hopefully this will help some of you.
First of all, decide that you are going to welcome the challenge and embrace the changes you have to make. For us small business owners, the most important thing we can do is maintain the relationships we have built with our customers and communities. You already have good relationships with them and they trust you, so effective communication during this time will be key to keeping your business going.
For some businesses, who have physical premises that have had to close down, it will be a matter of working out how best to still reach your customers. It will also be important to plan what you’re going to do when you can reopen – you’ll be more experienced this time, having been through it once.
Most businesses are on social media, so use this to your advantage to regularly update your customers, even if it’s not totally business related. And if you have an email list, or send out a monthly communication or newsletter, now is the time to use it to your advantage. Share funny things, share your thoughts and ideas for the future, so they know you have plans in place for after the lockdown. Make short 30 second videos just to say ‘hello’ and keep in touch. No matter what business you’re in, this is a good idea – people love videos and a short message from you could brighten their day. If your business is suited to gift vouchers, Christmas is coming, so sell vouchers for when the lockdown ends.
Ask Questions or Create Polls
Ask questions or create polls to find out information about what your customers are struggling with in your niche. For example, if you are a beauty consultant or hairdresser, ask if your customers have any problems with their skin or hair. You can then use that data to do social media posts or videos answering their questions.
Offer 1:1 sessions
You could offer 1:1 phone, WhatsApp or FaceTime calls for a small charge, giving personal advice, if they have a problem they’d rather not discuss publicly on social media. For some of your customers, it will be enough to simply be able to speak to you…and this will reinforce how important and valued they are.
Can you offer physical products?
If you have products that you can sell, can you offer special bundles that your customers can buy from you. If I use the beauty or hairdressing scenario again, can you bundle up a few products that you sell into a set? This could be a skincare set, a body care set, a shampoo-conditioner-deep cleansing hair mask combo for example.
If you have a crafting business, give suggestions with photos of your products that would be suitable for Granny, Aunty, Dad or children. Show your customers the end result – what and who are your products aimed at? If you make decorative items, can you adapt them for Christmas? Sell a Christmas tree set or a set of Christmas items for the mantelpiece or Christmas dinner table.
All of these ideas come from thinking about growth and how to grow when you can’t physically be there for your customers.
Social media is huge and we know from previous experience, that during the last lockdown, internet use soared. Orders to online companies grew at an alarming rate, so it makes sense to put your small business out there.
Go ‘to work’
Another way to help with a more positive mindset, is to actually ‘go to work’ every day. Set up an area where you can have your ‘office’, preferably a quiet, private space where you won’t get too distracted or suffer from interruptions.
Set rules with your family, so they know that from, say 10am to 2pm, you are working, so not to be disturbed. I know this could be more difficult if you have small children in the house.
If you are able to work all day, make sure that you take regular breaks to make a coffee, to have lunch or to just sit with other family members for half an hour. I always work from home, so for me this is normal. But I do take breaks and I find I’m much more productive if I have lunch at a certain time, and take a half hour to an hour break mid-afternoon.
During lockdown, it’s good to try and maintain some kind of structure. This is not only good for your business, but also good for your mental health.
I hope some of these ideas have been useful and given you food for thought on how you can manage a growth mindset during this awful time. If you would like to receive my monthly Marketing Tips email, packed with valuable and constructive ideas for marketing your business, please click here to sign up. In the welcome email, you will receive a code to enter a member’s only space on my website, where you will find loads of free resources; checklists, templates, worksheets etc. to help you push your business forward.
If you have any other ideas, which would help other small businesses, or want to ask any questions, please feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org