At times like these, I didn’t know whether to keep my head up and try to power through it as if everything would be fine, or lock myself in my home office and bang my head on the desk while, of course, letting out long sighs of stress and anxiety. I needed a way to calm down. Most of all, I needed a way to fix the mess that COVID put me in.
COVID has killed the revenue of a lot of businesses. Depending on what industry your business is in, you may have had to lay off employees, adjust to thousands of dollars in revenue loss, and possibly even adapt by having employees work from home.
If it’s the case that your business is taking a hit from COVID, this article is for you. Businesses fail for two reasons: they grow too fast or they grow too slow. The first thing we need to do to avoid losing your business to COVID is make sure your business can continue growing so your revenue can cover your expenses.
To do that, analyze your business to find ways you can generate more revenue so your business can continue growing. There are only three ways to grow a business:
- Get more customers/clients
- Increase your average order value (AOV)
- Increase your customers’ lifetime value (LTV)
The first, getting more customers, is pretty self-explanatory. However, it’s not the most efficient way of growing your business because most people focus so much on this that they miss out on the other opportunities the other two ways have to offer.
Increasing your AOV as a business simply means increasing your rates. Your business makes money based on its ability to provide value to the marketplace that solves a problem. When consumers see and want that value (for example, toilet paper has become a big form of value that people are buying these days), they exchange money for that value and your business grows. If your business is providing value that, due to the pandemic, people really want or need, you can justify raising your rates a bit if it will keep your business afloat.
Increasing your LTV is the process of increasing the average revenue that a customer will generate throughout their lifespan as a customer. As a business builder, you can do this by adding more products that your existing customers will want to buy. You can also do this by getting your existing customers to refer other people to your business.
Now, as you strategize and work toward figuring out ways to leverage these three ways to grow your business, you should also be analyzing your business for ways that you can adapt to how the world has changed. Are you beginning to follow the telecommuting trend where employees work from home? Does the type of business your run make it a good idea to look into COVID-19 liability protection? Start looking for ways to make your business run more smoothly in our new normal.
Last, you want to remember that when it comes to your business you’re only as strong as your team. Use your circle of influence to adapt and push forward. What is your circle of influence? It’s your Support, Peers, and Mentors.
Your Support is the people you hold day-to-day interactions with. Do these people leave you feeling like you can overcome the hiccups that your business is facing, or are they telling you to give up? The people you engage with every day, including friends and family, need to be people who believe that you will make it to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Your Peers are the people you work with. Are these people that you can brainstorm and exchange ideas with, or are these a bunch of “yes men” that wait for you to come up with a good idea and just say, “Yeah, let’s go with that.” You need Peers who help you strategize a way forward.
Your Mentors are people who can provide you with wisdom and guidance because you’re not going to have all of the answers all of the time. They may have creative, innovative ideas you hadn’t thought of on how to increase your LTV or get more customers. You need Mentors and they’re good for you as well as your business, especially in times like these.
Since you’re only as strong as your team, to get the most out of your team, you need to make sure you’re able to communicate and collaborate with them from a position of health and wellness, not a position of tiredness, stress, and anxiety. You should be monitoring your stress levels, exercising regularly to manage your stress (and boost immunity), and you should be leveraging technology to stay as healthy as possible. A good fitness tracking app can go a long way.
For the best results from your team, help them help you. Work to create a happy and productive work culture by being a mentor to others to help build their circle of influence. You can adopt wellness initiatives such as having a ten minute guided meditation session at the start of your hour long meetings with them. You can find creative ways to reward your employees for doing good work and brainstorm ways to make them feel more included in the team as well as the goals of the business.
Most of all, you want to communicate with your employees. For example, some of your employees may be working from home with kids. If that’s the case, you can set up a call with them where you let them know that you’re supportive of them and understanding that because we’re all adjusting and adapting to this new normal, there will be times where their children may need them.
What I recommend is having a session where you help your team set a schedule for their family that they can stick to. Using the time-blocking system, you can have them block out sections of time throughout each day where they may need to make lunch for their kids, go run errands, or whatever other tasks they need to take care of.
You can even have a free miscellaneous block of time that they can use in case something comes up. That way, they can be more productive and take control of their days instead of feeling like they’re being jerked around by pressing matters that seem to just “come up”. This stability in scheduling will help you, as a business owner, reduce the stress and duties of your employees since they’re likely to share that schedule with their significant other. That means a stronger team, better leadership, and a work culture that promotes healthy productivity.
Decide today that the only things standing between you and anything you want to accomplish are time and a skillset. Decide today that you’ll do whatever is necessary to develop the skill sets you need to keep your business alive until you reach the light at the end of this tunnel. Those skill sets may be communicating with your team or maybe developing a new pricing strategy. Whatever it is, decide that you’ll do whatever it takes.
I plan out my goals for my career and business each year. When the pandemic came this year, it wiped out all of my plans. By following this strategy of masterminding with others, getting my stress under control, and adapting to the new normal, I’ve been able to grow and create new, profitable opportunities in this pandemic while my competition continues to stress themselves out.
Be the leader. Be the driving force. Be the person that your employees and competition look at and say, “I don’t know how he does it.”