Wow – we didn’t see that coming. Just when you think you’ve planned for everything, a pandemic hits and packs a major punch to the economy. Everyone is feeling it – like we have been run over by a train we didn’t see coming. So now what? What do you do when your business dries up overnight and the uncertainty is all you can see in your future?! I don’t claim to have all the answers (who could in this crazy scenario??), but I do have some ideas for you.
Take a Minute
First of all, take a minute. Don’t listen to everyone who says you need to learn Greek while you’re waiting for the economy to start back up. The very first thing you need to do is let yourself work through the mental and emotional shifts that are rocking all of us.
You can’t just act as if nothing is happening. You need to face the worry, sadness, fear, and grieving (yes, grieving!) that you are experiencing! I read in the New York Times that we are all going through a collective trauma. And that if we don’t allow ourselves to deal with that – before everything else – then we’re going to hurt ourselves mentally and emotionally. I agree.
I have been taking lots of walks outside. Seeing nature’s beauty has allowed mind mind to take that mental minute I need. So go ahead and give yourself some self care until you feel like you have your feet back under you.
Look for Weaknesses
We do have the luxury right now of not having a million things to do for our businesses. So if you do have the time and you’re feeling up to it, start to look for the weaknesses that you have in your business. Now is the time to get your processes and systems in place, written down, and ready to go. If you need to work on your branding, then get going on it! If you haven’t dug into your finances, you REALLY need to get that under control. Start building your business foundations back to what you always wanted them to be! This will also give you a sense of control in a time that is very much out of our control. That helps you stand back up and face the day.
Look for Solutions
There are a LOT of programs out there now to help your small business, whether it’s with payroll, loans, or other financial help. The US Chamber of Commerce has a great list here that can help you, but also be sure to check what your state is offering, too. And get your applications done ASAP! Some of these programs will be depleted quickly, so get your info in as soon as you can. I would also check with your lawyer, accountant, and personal banker to see if there’s anything else you can do. Be proactive and take the reins on this one. It could save your business.
Don’t stop communicating with your clients! Keep them up to date on anything that you know – from whether the contractors can keep working, to when shipments could leave manufacturing facilities, to what you’re doing to help keep their project moving. And don’t worry about giving them bad – or not-great – news. We’re all in the same boat, so it shouldn’t come as a shock to them that things have ground to a halt. Another way to keep talking is to reach out to your friends and industry peers. It helps to hear that others are struggling with the same feelings and concerns. It makes a BIG difference to have their support, and to support them, too!
But remember, it’s so important to take care of yourself right now. Everything is scary and no one is sure when it will all get back to “normal.” So allow yourself the time to just breathe. Or to enjoy your family. Or to read that book you’ve always meant to read.
I’m thinking about all of you! If you want to share some ideas or just talk, please join my Facebook here!