While the world re-writes the rules to combat COVID-19, businesses everywhere wonder what the "new normal" will look like post crisis. We all will change how we are living in every conceivable way and chances are, our restrictions will remain longer than we would have anticipated at the beginning. How you choose to pivot your business will establish your success moving forward and your necessity amongst your clients, peers and community. Here are a few proven strategies of successful small businesses that found their way to continue moving forward in the midst of the unforeseen: 1. #shoplocal- In the world of small business, business to business support is an absolute necessity. Nothing says I believe in your product, vision and/or practice like a purchase or referral. A great rule of thumb when shopping locally is to try everything once. The old adage is true, people do business with people they like. Building consistent relationships of support among your small business peers is an investment in your own success that is proven to stand the test of time. 2. Support local teams, events and organizations - You have decided to hang out your shingle and brave going into business, chances are you have heard those statistics like, "80% of new businesses will close the first year" and "It will take you a minimum of 7 years to see any profits from the work you are doing now." Before discouragement sets in, take a moment to run a mental list of all of the ways you can consider yourself connected within your community or amongst your peers. Focus on the needs of those connections and how you/your business might be able to fill the need. Businesses that do not fill a need do not have a purpose and will be forced into extinction. Broaden your view of what the needs of others are and begin to show up as both a human and a business owner and watch your business reach and loyalty expand. 3. Establish Partnerships - Which businesses/organizations have an offer, product or mission that is in line with yours? Who are these groups that would be able to see a mutual benefit in a connection with you and what you offer? Building partnerships through mutually beneficial relationships lead to long lasting support for the life of the mutual benefit, as well as opportunities through referral that you otherwise may not have had access to. 4. Support Essentials - During the COVID-19 crisis a clear line has been drawn to establish essential workers and non essential workers. When lines like this are drawn in the sand it's typical that those categorized as decidedly essential have been placed in that category due to their ability to serve in a capacity that will allow the greater population a higher degree of security, health or longevity. While you natural inclination may be to look inward and focus on what you can do to work daily on the success of your own business, deciding to become a business in support of those declared essential not only establishes you as a business who cares about the greater good, establishes your business as a force multiplier in partnership with others, but will even get you some customers. During the pandemic, whether your support role includes making masks or protective gear, providing childcare for those on the front lines or offering meals to those unable to leave their posts, identifying an opportunity to serve during tough times allows you and your business essential status in the eyes of those you impact. 5. Creative necessities that could become mainstays - Necessity is the mother of invention. When COVID-19 began to shut down the way of life we have all been accustomed to, forcing business owners, school districts and corporations to come up with creative solutions to continue operations our initial reaction was panic. Small businesses that were already operating on a lean budget were terrified of the possibility of immediate closure and the death of a dream they have worked so hard to create. Then something magical happened. Companies and organizations began offering solutions. Family pack take out dinners and deliveries from typically sit down restaurants became available. The birth of niche boutique websites situated in rural areas used to cater to a specific clientele became prominent. In the beginning, these methods seemed forced and scrambled but what if the implementation of these necessities become the thing that sets your business apart in the coming years and raises your revenue beyond all projections? The classic blessing in disguise. 6. Relationships with staff - There is nothing more important than the people who you hire to assist you in representing your business and accomplishing your mission. As a business owner it is mandatory to fulfill the mission of your business, but the added bonus of having the opportunity to create a job and purpose for another is a valiant necessity. Building relationships with your staff has the potential to double your reach when staff members identify themselves as part of the company's success and mission. That same identification with your business will find your most loyal employees assisting you to identify solutions in the midst of crises and following through with to-do's necessary to maintain a following while your business pivots.
So while it might seem as though all has come to a stand still, you have options of kindness and support that have become the currency of the times. The time you spend sowing only has the option to produce a later harvest.