For thousands of small businesses, the current crisis offers an opportunity to review and revisit everything from supply chains and IT infrastructure to brand values and marketing strategy and start to lay the foundations for what could be a seismic shift in the way we do business
SO what now? In a little over two weeks, we’ve gone from business as usual to a state of suspended animation.
Many of us are probably feeling a little lost, insecure, unanchored, adrift. Many of us will be in fear of our jobs or businesses. Some of us may be furloughed. Yet the current hiatus offers a valuable opportunity for deep thinking and creative responses.
The apocalyptic language of lockdown, recession, depression and meltdown only amplifies the all-pervasive sense of doom and spending too much time scouring the news sites and social media to try to make sense of it all is very unlikely to improve your outlook.
Without wanting to sound too preachy and Pollyannish, it’s definitely a good idea to curtail your consumption of ‘crisis porn’ and invest time in more positive pursuits to prepare for better times ahead.
And if you look carefully, there are chinks of light and positivity all around. The UK is probably more united than at any point over the last four years. Pollution levels are plummeting. And despite social distancing guidelines, people are reconnecting with friends, family, colleagues and nature on a more meaningful level. Hitherto hidden seams of creativity and innovative thinking are bubbling up to the surface.
The current situation could be viewed as an opportunity to take a short sabbatical, a chance to rest, renew and reset. Who knows, it might even be the start of a renaissance? A new landscape in which sustainability, wellbeing and balance assume greater priority in a brave new business world.
This list is designed to help all small business owners, marketeers and brand managers stay positive and make the best use of this unforeseen sabbatical.
- Know that we will get through this. It’s going to take time, but things will improve.
- Be prepared to embrace the new normal. It’s highly unlikely to look the same as the old normal
- The rules might be different on the other side, but the sooner you grasp them, the sooner you will learn how operate within them.
- Maintain a dialogue, but spend more time listening. Established values and ways of doing business are in flux. Watch the new rules begin to emerge.
- Turn your ‘To Do’ List upside down. Those things that never get to the top of your in-tray? Now’s the time to revisit those longer term strategic slow-burners.
- Focus on quality. Invest time in creating more considered, thought-provoking content. Make it useful, invite feedback and start some new conversations.
- Hundreds of your clients, suppliers and yes, competitors, are facing the same challenges. Welcome discussion and be open to new ways of doing things
- Review your entire brand, marketing and communications strategy from top to bottom. Do all the elements align? Does your website accurately reflect your core brand values and does your social media effectively drive traffic to your website?
- Nail your Calls to Action and landing pages. Without these working in harmony, all that lovely rich content is unlikely to deliver the ROI it deserves.
- Stress and anxiety are the enemies of creativity. It may seem expedient to push yourself even harder in these uncertain times, but that’s not what’s needed right now. To reap maximum benefit from this unexpected opportunity to devote some quality time to your strategic vision, you need to be relaxed and receptive to new ways of thinking.
And if you want to read some really funny, hopeful and sane advice on how to manage the inevitable anxiety that keeps gate-crashing your calm, happy place, I can’t recommend this piece highly enough: