It’s been an extraordinary few weeks, the like of which none of us has ever experienced. However, although none of us can predict what happens next, that doesn’t mean we should simply sit and wait to see what happens.
We have to start taking proactive steps to plan for when this ends and retain our sanity along the way.
Be selective with the media sources you watch and listen to – is there any point constantly scouring news sites to get the latest information? What can you possibly do with the information they give you in any event?
Do you really think Eammon Holmes views are worth listening to?
Or indeed almost any mainstream journalists opinion you see on the telly – suddenly everybody’s an expert. Hmmmm…
There has always been lies, damn lies and then statistics!
It is very difficult to understand the stats being produced everywhere, as we don’t have any context.
Social media is poisonous at the best of times, and personally I think it is best used to keep in contact with friends and family, not as a source of information to guide you.
Read different sources of information, such as the Economist which carries great in-depth research and informed opinion.
Quality newspapers will have a view, albeit biased towards their political leanings, so maybe view a variety online.
There is only so much information you need and can do anything with, so don’t waste too much time here.
Finally, remember this…
‘It’s what you do that determines how you feel, not the other way round!’.
What Predictions Can You Make?
There’s a great book called ‘Super-forecasting, the art & science of prediction’ which not only is a cracking read, but helps us understand what makes for effective forecasting. It would be wrong of me to precis the book in only a few lines, as I could never do it justice. But some of the key learning points for me include being wary of ‘experts’ who confidently predict outcomes and forecasts – they are referred to in the book as hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs know a lot about a particular subject, and hence are very appealing as they can project certainty and are believable. Two attributes we crave in uncertain times.
However their reliability at accurately predicting outcomes is very poor – chocolate teapot comes to mind!
Rather the book urges us to become foxes, expanding our knowledge, seeking differing views and learning a lot about different subject matters. Foxes do not have certainties but balance probabilities.
That’s what we should be doing right now. Asking ourselves questions such as…
What would happen if….
Using different timelines…
For each of our target markets…
And write these different scenarios down – you know your business and markets better than anyone, and starting to think through what’s likely or could happen is crucial.
You can then start to think through how you respond to each scenario.
What will make you relevant?
At what price point?
What’s missing in your current offering?
What can you do now to prepare?
Anybody you could collaborate with?
Worst Case Business Scenario
During really tough times, it’s perfectly natural to fear the worst. All of us will have lain awake in the small hours of the morning worried sick about our businesses. It’s part of the rollercoaster of business life we signed up to – and it’s truly terrifying.
One thought process I’ve found useful and brings me a sense of perspective, is to think of the worst-case scenario.
Write it down.
Somehow by doing this simple act, I can accept the situation, and start to take whatever proactive steps I can to mitigate the position and ensure the worst case never happens.
Get Creative and Get Busy
Boredom drives creativity!
We know this to be true, and now we must use our time to get creative with our businesses. It’s always been easy to waste time, drifting and spending this precious resource on unnecessary ideas/projects/YouTube/Social Media/Google…
The fabulous book Parkinson’s Law written by Northcote Parkinson in 1958 came up with the famous adage that ‘work fills the time available’ – exactly why if you want anything done, ask a busy person!
Now more than ever you need structure to your day.
Have daily tasks…proper to-do lists of important tasks
Set weekly business plans….and stick to them
Get up at your normal time to start work…don’t drift
Read Business Books
Read a few chapters every day of a relevant business book – not an autobiography of some famous business person, as we can’t replicate their journeys, so what’s the point reading about them? They probably aren’t being honest in any event.
But there are some great business books packed full of helpful tips and guidance which we can follow and act upon. My personal favourites include:
‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson
‘They ask, you answer’ by Marcus Sheridan
‘Traction’ by Gino Wickman
‘The E-Myth revisited’ by Michael Gerber
‘Good to great’ by Jim Collins
‘Parkinson’s Law’ by Northecote Parkinson.
Now is the time to re-visit your website, marketing materials, promotional literature, mail sequences, all of your sales processes (assuming you have one of course, which most people don’t!).
Check your messages are still relevant.
Relevant to your target markets.
What needs updating, changing, amending – the list is endless.
Learn Something New
What a great opportunity to teach yourself new skills, be that a language, music, arts, physical activity – we will probably (even hopefully) never have a time like now to do just that. Get busy.
A perfect time to tackle the Business Growth Club modules – all 19 were created by us for small business owners just like you.
Each module focuses on a particular aspect of growing a business, and are packed full of top tips and advice, all relatively easy to implement too.
These modules are free to access and you can find them here:
It’s a fact that everything does indeed pass – both good things and bad.
And this crisis with Covid is no different.
So breathe deeply.
Reflect on the good things in life.
And get busy!