Wow, what a year we have had as business owners and entrepreneurs navigating the closing down of the economy, the changes to restart, and the commitment to resilient agility and persistence in the face of a global pandemic. Despite all the upheaval and the reality of major challenges for so many small business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to forge ahead and as bad as the news would have us believe the economy is, the market is coming back to life, there are new market opportunities, and there are also steady market niche’s that have been unaffected by Covid-19. It’s time to lead your business into the last quarter of 2020 for a successful and profitable finish. Are you ready?
Business Leadership to Build Despite Covid-19
Alright small business owners, solo entrepreneurs, and service based business owners, I am speaking to you here with the following question: “Are you stepping into and acting as the role of CEO in your business?” If you hummed and hawed or answered not really to that question or even answered ‘sometimes’, now is the time to think bigger, own the CEO title as a strong leader, and step into the business building mindset because your business and therefore customers are depending on you!
So where do you begin with business leadership in the middle of a pandemic and a recovering economy that may be bracing for a second wave? Business leadership begins with vision, it is grounded in risk preparation, and it plays with innovation while it implements with a well thought out strategy made with consideration to the market and world. Your vision needs to see the reality of today and the big picture while also forecasting to an exciting future, possibly revolutionary, and prosperous. As you carry forward with vision, you will also need to prepare for risks.
Building Your Business Forward with Vision
Let’s start from the beginning because if you build from the circumstances of today not only is that not exciting, it may also be rooted in fear and desperation. You must cast a vision for your future, the growth of your business, where you want to lead it and most importantly, what’s possible! Just recently, I have had a few conversations with a business owner with an incredible startup that has not launched yet, but this individual has cast such a vision of where it is going, it’s potential, and the anticipation around its success, that I want to invest. Now that’s vision!
Your business vision needs to be a grandeur version of where you are today that is grounded in what is realistic while being stretched to what is possible and also the ideal outcomes you are seeking. Vision is not something we just make up, although a lot of entrepreneurs who have been wildly successful say they just knew right from the beginning; your business vision is usually created out of analysis of your industry, current and psychosocial lifestyle factors, world economy growth, and predictions for where growth and demand are leading opportunities.
So here’s an action step for you right now:
- Write out the vision you have for your business or discuss this with your team or partner.
- Prior to writing out your business vision, do a future business vision analysis where you assess the points mentioned above: current industry trends, psychosocial lifestyle factors, world economy, predictions of areas of growth and demand.
Business Planning around Risks for Strong, Stable, Successful Growth
I know many of us business owners have tossed risk assessment to the side because the Covid-19 pandemic is one risk, we really did not see coming and yet there are still a few things we could have done to prepare better for it. Ouch, the last part of the statement is a hard pill to swallow. So why am I taking you from the high’s of business vision planning and forecasting to the lows of looking at risks to be prepared and have a plan? The answer is a successful business is one that is in positive cash flow, growing, sustainable, and scalable. If we plan for risks with our eyes wide open, it sets you up for success!
Your cash flow as a business owner is the first place you need to start. The risk of running out of cash flow is a very true reality for many entrepreneurs at this moment. Here’s what you need to do and if you, like many of us may have been avoiding it like an Ostrich with your head anywhere, but looking at the numbers, then let’s take this moment to put yourself in a power position to make the tough decisions. You need to know how many months you have cash flow to stay operational if sales and current business stayed the same, a red light or cut off number of debt you will not surpass, exactly what sales you need to break even or be in profit, and have complete awareness and action around every expense in your business.
A few more risks you may want to take a look at right now in your business to set you up for success are:
- How to keep your business making sales and operational if there is another shut down
- If you get sick, can your business keep running, do you have systems in place and income protection with insurance or other options
- If you have moved your business online, do you have cyber security protection and firewalls in place to protect your customers personal information?
- Covid-19 protection guidelines in place to protect your employees, business reputation, and delivery of services and product
- If the economy does go into a recession, how will this affect your sales and what can you innovate or change to mitigate these risks
Small Business Innovation for Entrepreneurs to Succeed during Covid-19
Innovation, agility, and adaptability is exactly where small business owners will prevail and succeed despite this pandemic. In order to innovate, you must first be adaptable and your business as well as you need to be agile. If you have been in freeze mode or wait and see or even covers pulled up and let me know when it is all over, right now is the moment you commit to being agile and moving ahead in action with it there all around us. Now that we have had some time to adapt and we are committed to agility, here comes the fun part; innovation!
Here are ideas to begin the innovation process for your business:
- Where has Covid-19 created opportunities for your business? (ie home options, mental health, online, protection, connection, cleaning…)
- What new demands and or gaps have emerged in your industry or line of business?
- With your customer in mind, what do they need most right now and how might it have changed from before? How might you serve them here?
- Review your services and products and reassess price points, packaging or positioning to align with the current situation/circumstances
- Poll your customers and ask them what they need most right now and what would help them during this time
Here are two more question prompts to explore ideas for innovation:
“If you were to create the greatest offer in service or product you ever had that would serve right now, what would that be?”
“If you were to create the most amazing product or service that was also simple for you or your clients, what might that be?”
Business Strategy for Growth Going forward Through Covid-19
There are three main points I want to share around developing your business strategy and here they are:
- You must have a business strategy to grow a sustainable, successful, scalable business
- Don’t go it alone, develop a business strategy with your team, partner or a coach
- Schedule it, Implement it, Assess it, and Adjust it quickly when and where needed.
Every business must create it’s own strategy and it is unique to each industry and type of business. There unfortunately is no cookie cutter templated business strategy; however there are tried and true business building practices that will set your business up to be sustainable and scalable.
The bottom line here after talking about these 4 key points (vision, risk, innovation, strategy) to build and grow your business in the last quarter of 2020 and beyond is that you absolutely can still grow, sustain, and run a successful business! It will not happen on its own without some deliberate thought where you have a strong vision, do an analysis of your industry and the economy, prepare for the risks, and develop a strategy for success.
You got this! We are all in this together and if you believe this is a ‘moment’ in time that shall pass with a bright future on the other side and continue to lead and take action toward your vision with a strategy for success, your business is going to grow despite this pesky virus.
Persevere, Prevail, Proceed! Now, go take action because we are not going to let this invisible bug get the better of us or stop us from serving our customers. Let’s go!