If your business is struggling and you need to help it survive the crisis, here are 12 tips to turn the crisis into an opportunity.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown, small businesses were set to take a hit for an undefined time. Restaurants, cafes, malls were shut their doors to close down to prevent the spread of the virus. Non-essential stores were not spared and as a result, were not able to sell any more goods. Entrepreneurs, such as my friend whose handmade jewellery store is located in rue du Temple in Paris, saw their businesses with sales down by 100%. Only a few of them have e-commerce stores and can stay in touch with their clients. Luckily, service-based businesses, like mine, can be still run from home. Most of our deliverables can be done from the comfort of our beds but the problem is that clients are putting a hold on all projects as cashflow and revenues are scare.
So how do we, entrepreneurs, use the time we have in our hands to stay afloat and avoid a long crisis?
Usually, I am the one giving advice and tips but this time, I knew I had to reach out to some friends and fellow entrepreneurs for some advice and guidance on how small business owners can turn this crisis into an opportunity. While at it, I thought other people could benefit from what they have to say and invited them to film themselves sharing their best tips.
So, when your phone isn’t ringing anymore, your order book is empty, your clients are confined and stressed out, what do you do to help your business survive the crisis and better prepare for the post-lockdown?
Here are tips from 8 experienced entrepreneurs on how to turn a sanitary and economic crisis into an opportunity:
1. Reconnect with people: Sabirul Islam, entrepreneur and author, whom I have met in London back when he was 17 (more than 10 years ago) at an event where he was a guest speaker, says that he has met a lot of people in the past decade and he never got the chance to reconnect with each one of them. This is the best time, he says, to go back and re-engage with people who can be of value to your business and you can be of value to theirs.
2. Connect to your audience: While Sabirul talks about real people who have met in your life, Elisabeth Kounou, Digital Marketing Coach, explains that you should make the most out of this time by connecting to your online audience: ask them questions, know what their needs are and how you can best help them. Social media is the way to go to be close to your audience and stay in touch with them.
3. Post regularly on social media: As more people are staying home and have more free time to scroll Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, TikTok, you have more chances to get noticed. Kounou says you should post as much as you can to show your customers you care for them and are helping them turning the crisis into an opportunity. Be creative and helpful in your posts!
4. Sell: Kounou says it’s important to sell during these times and sell shamelessly. It is not wrong or unethical. When you sell, you not only help your business but also the economy.
5. Know your essence: A lot of people want to create podcasts, YouTube videos, write books but it doesn’t make them come alive. Connie-Lee Bennett, public speaking coach, says the lockdown is a chance for entrepreneurs to do some introspective work. Ask yourself what brings you joy and what is the best expression of you. And certainly do not copy what others. Know what makes you feel alive and express it in your own unique way.
6. Negotiate with your creditors: The idea is to survive during the crisis and make sure you continue to have cash flow, recommends Prince Tikare, Founder of SmooyPod. Talk to your creditors, negotiate new deadlines and make sure you don’t run out of cash. You may have to reduce some nonessential expenses and stick to the most vital ones. Turning a crisis into an opportunity stars with
7. Re-organize and strategize your business: Since most businesses have time on their hands. This is the best opportunity to restructure, create an updated strategy and re-organize the workings of your business to better prepare for the post-lockdown, Tikare explains.
8. Look out for new opportunities: Where there are problems, there are opportunities. Use this time to see how you can pivot your business or better serve your clients. Keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities that you may not usually be attentive to.
9. Educate your audience: Your regular social media content, as well as blog posts and podcasts, should help your audience learn and grow, says Yasmine Lesire, founder of ILearnFrench. Your content should be on how you can help your clients and how you can solve their problems. Do not focus the content around you (none cares unless you are a Kardashian 😉 ) Make sure to educate your audience with tips in a way that helps them turn the crisis into a business opportunity.
10. Stay connected to your audience and to why you started your business: As entrepreneurs, we are problem-solvers. This is the essence of what we do and who we are. During this crisis, Hanane Benkhalloukh, Founder of Sustain Leadership Consultancy, says you shouldn’t wait for this crisis to go away to back to ‘normal’ because normal is now being redefined. As an entrepreneur, you should stay connected to your audience because their needs may change, new problems may emerge that need solving. You may have to create a new business model accordingly. It’s also important to stay connected with why you started the business as this is what will keep you going during the Coronavirus crisis.
11. Resist the urge to always find the answer: In times of great uncertainty and loss of control, we tend to want to fix and control outcomes and put out more content than needed. Lily Lapenna, CEO of Gleow, recommends not to jump to solutions and answers but rather live the question. Lapenna quotes Rainer Maria Rilke, in his book Letters to Young Poet: “And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
12. Let go completely: As part of letting go teachings, John Purkiss, executive search consultant and author of The Power of Letting Go, says that during the COVID19 season, he’s been dropping all of his goals, action plans, thoughts, ideas, fantasies, dreams, etc. When he lets go, his intuition tells him what to do. This is certainly not the easiest tip to implement because it does require some work. Some practices such as meditation can help you be more connected to your intuition. The beautiful thing about letting go is that you can still be creative and productive (without all the stress). This is a tip I was applying to my personal life after having read The Power of Letting Go by Purkiss and A New Earth by Eckart Tolle. I will now start to implement it onto my business. Try it for yourself and start experiencing magic!
As you can see, to turn the crisis into an opportunity is not just business tactics and strategies to implement. This crisis is giving us the gift of time, a chance to do some inner work, connect with ourselves and our essence and also re-question what we are doing. A lot of us will take different directions, change business activities or even close down their ventures. It is not all bad. Whatever you decide or comes your way, may you stay safe, healthy and peaceful.
To watch the video, click here.
QUESTION: What tips will you start implementing in your business during the COVID19 outbreak?