You’d be forgiven for thinking that all small businesses are doomed given what we’ve been through over the past 2 years and what’s looming just around the corner for us.
We’ve worked with hundreds of small service-based businesses over 10 years, including helping many to navigate the more recent choppy seas. What I’m sharing here is not anecdotal, it’s from real-world experience and it’s presented to inspire you to step up and face the challenges ahead.
1. Know that everything passes
Despite this being one of the worst recessions in a long time, nothing lasts forever. Keep your mind focused on the business you want to build and keep moving forward. You will have days when you feel like you’re getting nowhere. This is common for small business owners in normal times, but just keep taking steps.
2. Pause and regroup but don’t stop
Many business owners stopped dead in their tracks in March 2020 and many never recovered. We encouraged all our members to keep going, finding things they could focus on and steps they could take to move things forward. When no-one was buying, we all turned our attention inwards, developing stronger relationships with our clients, reaching out to people who needed help and looking at improvements we could make to our delivery, systems, processes and technology. A large proportion of our members made losses back quickly just three months later, simply because they didn’t stop.
3. Focus on where the money is
It’s very easy to get drawn into economic challenges and see only lack, difficulty and what’s unavailable to us. Shifting your perspective to look at where the money is will help you immensely. Despite a reduction in overall opportunity during a recession, there is still plenty out there. You just have to work a bit harder to find it and shifting your perspective is critical.
4. Let go of your rigidity
The businesses who not only survive but thrive in a downturn are the ones that adapt. Being responsive is a super-power of a small business. They are much more agile than bigger businesses. Don’t stick too rigidly to something that was working. Be prepared to create change.
5. Surround yourself with the right people
This is a game changer. Running a small business can be a pretty lonely place at the best of times. Being in an environment where you can get help and support, share ideas, resources and knowledge but, mostly importantly, get your head in the right space, can be the difference between being a victim and thriving. Regular sanity checks are essential for any small business owner. Don’t try to do this on your own.
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