10 strategies to make it through

The Corona Virus is moving through the world like a category 5 hurricane, leaving a swath of human and economic destruction in its path. For many, the “eye” of the storm has not even arrived, leaving many in fear that the worst is yet to come.

The response has been to isolate in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus and hopefully save more lives. This isolation has taken an enormous toll on the economy, leaving many businesses shuttered or barely hanging on.  At the human level, the spread of fear has been much more pervasive than the virus itself. Add the element of isolation and the world truly seems on edge.

As a business / life coach, I would like to suggest 10 strategies to help a small business (and the business owner) survive this unprecedented storm:

  • Protect your cash flow: Cash is the life blood of any business. Income and expense is the circulatory system that supports it. With isolation impacting the income side of the equation, we as business owners need to explore every avenue to bring in additional revenue. We need to be creative and examine all the ways we can add value and serve our target market. We also need to look carefully at our expenses, eliminating all the unnecessary expenses that are not mission critical.
  • Secure avenues for financing and keep creditworthiness intact: Related to cash-flow, credit can be used to bridge over lean periods as we regain profitable footing. Currently, government programs are being rolled out that offer low interest loans with favorable terms to help a business rebuild.
  • Remain visible to your target market: We need to continue our marketing efforts through the outreach methods available.  Blogs, newsletters and social media are certainly powerful ways to stay in touch.  While the stay at home orders are in place, we can also conduct our business via e-mail, tele-conferencing and even an old-fashioned phone call can enhance connection with our key costumers and associates.
  • Work ON your business: An analogy I sometimes use is, “The time to work on an aircraft is when it is in the hangar, not when it is in flight”.  We have an opportunity during this slow period to work on our business to make it better. Review the business plan, tighten up your systems, update your contact list. Brainstorm ways to add more value to your market and thus creating more revenue.  Assess who you have on your team and reposition those who are not in the right role.  Add a coach or mentor to support you.
  • Work on YOU: As entrepreneurs, we are the heart and soul of our business.  We need to continue our knowledge base and personal growth.  Stop bad habits, begin new healthy habits that support physical and emotional growth. Perhaps, sign up for books on tape, take an on-line class, pursue a professional certification.  Get your mind right and feed it what brings a smile to your face and buoys hope.

(The next 5 are about weathering the emotional side of the storm)

  • Focus on what you CAN control: During a crisis, it is easy to go down any number of rabbit holes, each leading into a dark abyss. It is easy to envision the worst, especially those of us with an active imagination.  It’s not productive!  When fear has our mind in its grasp, ask yourself, what is true here? What can I do about it?  What is in my realm of control? Then act in accordance of your locus of control.
  • Keep your mind active and intentionally navigate it toward productive thought: An empty and untended mind is the Gremlin’s playground. Read, meditate, plan, relate, study… do anything that elevates your mind, heart and soul.  Be mindful enough to know when you are being sucked in by herd hysteria and explore what is the truth.  Be aware of the inner Gremlin that plants lies of doubt, fear and hopelessness.
  • Take stock of your assets, blessings and everything good in your life: One sure way to extinguish self-pitty is to account for everything positive in your life. I challenge you to come up with 100 or more things to be thankful for. Did you wake up this morning with adequate breath in your lungs?  There’s one.
  • Widen your view of things: Often, when fear and despair grip us, we are hyper-focused on the scary details, like holding a magnifying glass over a spider.  (That would scare the hell out of me!). If we can take a broader, longer view of our circumstances, what scares us becomes smaller and we often can begin to see a more empowering perspective.
  • Look for ways to give and contribute to another: When we look beyond ourselves and seek to help others less fortunate, we infuse our life with greater purpose and our hearts with greater joy. We also help create a few bright spots in an otherwise dark period. Join a cause you believe in, help a struggling friend or acquaintance… even a simple smile can be a very powerful and effortless way of contribution.