NEGATIVE SPIRAL OR NEW OUTLOOK?

Have you found yourself going down the dark COVID-19 business owner spiral? I sure have. Last week I was ALL doom and gloom.

“This virus is taking down my business day by day.”
“There’s no cash flow, I’m going to lose everything.”
“No one is going to come on board as a client for the foreseeable future.”
“All this hard work for nothing.”
“The phone doesn’t ring.”
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay my mortgage.”
“My business is over.”

And on, and on, and on. I know I’m not alone. Our new reality really started to weigh on me last week, wondering if I’ll be able to keep my staff employed, wondering if I’ll have a business at all in a couple of months. As small business owners, most of us aren’t prepared for sudden, significant disruptions to cash flow, we just aren’t. So, where does it leave us? Do we head down the dark, negative spiral and feel sorry for ourselves? Do we panic, and cut anything and everything to try and stay afloat? How are we supposed to react?

I had a great conversation with one of my fellow small business entrepreneurs this morning. We jumped on Zoom and had a meaningful, productive conversation about our current state of affairs. We swapped stories about our visits and calls with the bank, mortgage deferrals, dealing with a serious lack of cash flow, and for her, a complete shut down of her storefront location.

But, as the conversation went on, we forged a new path. We both acknowledged that the past week has been pretty shitty, and then we decided to move past it. We used our hour with each other to talk about the opportunity we had in front of us as business owners. We chose to change our mindset as entrepreneurs and realize that we had the chance to start from scratch.

Do you remember what it was like when you started your business? I bet you had little to no cash flow. I bet you didn’t have many customers and you were hungry; I bet you were hustling every day. Do you remember what that felt like? It was exciting, it was an opportunity to break away from the ‘man’; to break away from a ‘job’ and forge your own way. Was it hard? You’re damn right it was. Were you broke? You’re damn right you were. But, were you spiralling in negativity? Maybe briefly, but you snapped out of it, I know you did, otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten to where you were before this crisis hit.

So, here’s a crazy thought. I implore you to change your mindset. I encourage you to focus on what you can control within your business. How can you support your existing customers? How can you provide help and value for them during this time? Everything is upside down for everyone right now, but think about how can you look inside your business and use this as an opportunity to get hungry again. I urge you to reinvent the way you do business; this is not a temporary change, the change we are experiencing will influence consumerism even when this crisis is over.

We’re weeks into this whirlwind so far (in Canada at least). It’s not ending tomorrow, but it’s also not yet time to throw your business and strategy down the drain. It’s time to reinvent, it’s time to get innovative and reignite the creativity you build the foundations of your business on. It’s time to outshine your competitors in new ways.

So, you decide … how hungry are you?

SHOUT is offering complimentary 20-minute strategy chats during the COVID-19 crisis. You do not need to be an existing client and there is absolutely no obligation to purchase. We are here to do our part and support our community and fellow business owners at this time.

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