Who are resilient business leaders?
Resilient business leaders are entrepreneurs, business owners, and business leaders who are looking at this environment that we are living in right now and see the need to make a pivot or a shift.
Resilient business leaders are interested in leading from a grounded place, a place of calm, a place of clarity. These leaders seek a place where maybe they can forget (even for just a few minutes) everything else that is going on to make the best, most informed decisions for their business.
Resilient leaders are also people who are looking at the chaos in the environment and seeing the opportunities. They are willing to chase opportunities even if it means shifting or changing in their business.
I'm not talking to the people who are comfortable with the way things have always been.
So if you're comfortable inside the box, if you thrive on drama and worry and chaos, this isn't for you. If you're going to sit this one out, if you're waiting for everything to go back to normal, or you're unwilling to change, this is probably not for you either.
I Love Working with Resilient Business Leaders
I love working with resilient leaders who adapt and change to what is going on around us. What I'm going to share is based on 25 years of training, teaching, and executive experience.
I made my bones in my career as a project turnaround artist.
Now throughout my 25-year career, I've gotten things done by looking at things like mindset. What are the obstacles and the barriers that we have, and how do we clear them? What are the quick wins that we can get so that we're no longer feeling frustrated and drained?
How do we find the best ways for you to execute, plan, and finish the most critical initiatives in your business?
I just love doing that kind of work.
What If You Could Pivot With Calm?
What would your business be like if you were able to pivot with calm, decisive action while holding fast to your mission, vision, and goals?
I want to help you understand and see everything that we have going on in our businesses today within this new context. And then leaning into that and making the decisions that are the best for our business right now.
I think that that would feel pretty good. I believe that if we could all do that, our business life would feel better.
We would feel better about what it is that's going on around us.
Brief Look At the Business Economic Landscape
Let's look at the ever-evolving business landscape. It changes every day. We'll look for pieces of gold in the current economy and explore how to expand your mind and reach.
I'll help you focus on the things that you can change while avoiding the pitfalls of busy-ness or ruminating on the minutiae that aren't serving you.
We're going to talk about discerning the top initiatives that you have and then how to promote or market in this strange new world without feeling icky.
First, let's talk about the current business economic landscape. Most assumptions connect the duration of the pandemic to the length of the economic recession. Assuming COVID-19 fades in 2020, we can expect a partially rebounded economy in 2021.
At the same time, Harvard researchers are predicting that we may be experiencing some social distancing into 2022.
What we can learn from all of this is we need to start searching for alternative ways to do business.
So what does all of this mean? It means that there has been a rise in the contact-free economy. It means that distance is the new black and some things may never go back.
We're seeing tremendous rises in eCommerce telehealth, remote working, remote meetings, food delivery, and then some creative entrepreneurs out there. For example, my massage therapist is also offering massage services online.
We need to be creative, and we can all find ways to make some inroads into the contact-free economy. We need to be willing to expand our minds a little bit and consider how we can do that.
We are seeing an increased reliance on local and regional services. It means that we are looking to small businesses to fill a lot of gaps.
Small businesses employ 50% of the workforce. People need us.
What we are seeing is more and more people are looking to local and regional services to help not only local businesses but also help our communities.
People are finding a lot of success right now is through something called human-to-human marketing.
There's a book that I love, called Marketing Rebellion, by Mark Schaefer that explains human-to-human marketing.
Schaefer believes that what most small businesses need to do is target your marketing around the individual. Connect with them and share with them and learn why your services are essential. Then adapt your services accordingly.
Finally, now more than ever, optimism and courage will shape the new normal.
I don't think we're ever going to go back to the way that things were. Some things are never going to go back. We need to be optimistic in the face of so much uncertainty and step into situations that maybe we weren't willing to do before.
Then, the next normal will be even better. But we have to take on the leadership mindset of being part of that change.
Resilient Business Leaders Reset Their Mindset Every Day
One of the things that resilient leaders do is they do a mindset reset every morning or every single day, for resilient business leadership to take hold and just be part of your new normal.
It's also essential to put your oxygen mask on first. Then, put the oxygen mask on your business. After that, focus on others.
If you have some important things going on in your personal life and your business, those things need to be taken care of before focusing on others. A lot of us show up in service. We want to be of service to everyone. The best way we can do that is by practicing self-care.
Go inward and find that inner calm that will put you in the best place, in the best position to make excellent business decisions. Improve your mindset, and it will make you more resilient.
It's also essential to open your heart to joy and laughter. Look for the good, positive things in the world. Seek out joy and laughter in any way you can with your family — with everybody.
The market has contracted dramatically economically. When the market contracts, it's time to expand.
It's an opportunity for you to expand, be expansive in your thinking. It opens doors to possibilities. Maybe you have a partnership available to you that you hadn't seen before.
It's not necessarily time to say yes to everything, but it is a time for you to be discerning and open to the possibilities.
Think bigger so that you don't spend as much time focusing and ruminating on the minutia. Focus on the things that you can change. It's an opportunity for you to review and clarify your mission, vision, and goals. It's also an excellent time to do that so that you can begin to make some shifts to meet the current demands.
Resilient Business Leaders Gain Momentum From What Is
One of the things that I suggest is work on your processes first. It sounds boring, but you can't move something online if it wasn't working offline.
It's an opportunity to fix the things in your business that have always bugged you. If you have some goals that you've just never quite addressed, now is the time, you know, to grease those squeaky wheels because you can't move things into the digital space if it's already broken.
The touch-free economy is where it's at. That means online business growth. Build the foundations that will help you grow your business online. Have conversations with customers, clients, both current and former social media followers.
Get a pulse on what people are feeling and their emotions. Ask people what they need and how and how you can help, from a place of generosity, compassion, and authenticity. Find out their deepest needs are and how you are going to help.
Carefully and deeply. Reflect on what it is that people are telling you.
Give it some air, you know, like maybe like a, a good bottle of wine. Give it some air before you try to figure it out. Often people hear about the problems of someone else, and they set their minds immediately to how to solve it.
In this environment, pausing, at least for a moment, will help you. How can you address the problems that people are presenting to you? Having discernment about how you can address those issues will serve you well.
I can't underscore enough how important it is to listen and pause so that you can gain momentum.
Resilient Business Leaders Pivot Into Market Conditions
If you're resisting what the market is giving you, you, you might be looking a gift horse in the mouth. Go with what the market is giving you. Learn from the past while looking at the data.
Look at key performance indicators, such as web stats, social stats, revenues, anything that is telling you what people are valuing from you right now.
You may have to pivot a couple of times or offer different services here and there before finding what lands best.
Consider embracing a different way of getting through your work. The most important thing right now is to never take your eye off of your business's True North.
You must take aligned action.
Your projects and initiatives still need to be aligned with your core mission, vision, and values.
One of the ways that you can produce quickly and fail often is by embracing agile and lean. These were methodologies for software development, but they are also great ways to handle complexity and uncertainty.
The beauty of agile is you're planning no more than two weeks out.
Given the current circumstances, agile is perfect. You take the project you're working on and break it into small, manageable pieces.
Collaboration and communication with your customers and team are keys to success alongside integrating continuous improvement. Instead of planning out an entire project or initiative as a whole that might take several months, you're just planning out enough to get you through the first two weeks and then a little bit longer.
It doesn't mean you're changing what the huge goal is or how long something may take. It means that you're willing to plan out for two weeks. It builds in that level of flexibility and willingness to shift differently.
Work in bite-sized pieces. If we take on too much at one time, then we're putting all of our eggs in one basket what I'm advising my clients to break things up into small, manageable pieces so that you're more able to navigate and shift and change.
Resilient Business Leaders Promote With Humanity
We need to promote our businesses. We need to do it now with more compassion, heart, and humanity, in part because it will keep us from feeling icky about doing it.
It will also keep people from responding that we're gross marketers. There are people out there continuing to run some of their daily operations and automation. Their branding is not showing up correctly, given the current environment.
I'll give you an example. I added somebody as a contact on LinkedIn, and then I saw that they added me to their email list that I did not ever opt into. Things like that, that are icky in regular times kind of get amplified, in this type of environment because we're all more sensitive.
Although people are sensitive, they also need you. It's important to realize that your services are important even while you digitize behind the scenes. One of the things that's important is to remain visible to your customers and potential customers.
You need to continue to market and show up online.
Send out emails to your list. It could be as simple as, "how's it going? What do you need? How can I help you?" Then, continue showing up, sending out emails, doing check-ins, having virtual one-on-one meetings.
Show up in the public domain. Give podcast interviews, do Facebook lives. Do LinkedIn videos. Even before a COVID-19, video, and podcasts are the trend. In the next couple of years, 80% of all engaging content online is coming from video. Meet customer expectations by also responding to questions and concerns in the public digital domain.
So one of the ways that you can do this is by showing up and answering the questions. Because if you hear the same question over and over again, that's a real sign that there's a gap somewhere, and you can address it by showing up for people.
Hi! I’m Jen! I have over 25 years of training, teaching, and executive experience in leadership, strategic project planning, and digital marketing. Today, I am the founder of Women Conquer Business, a boutique consulting firm dedicated to helping women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community build sustainable businesses. I’m a frequent guest speaker and trainer. Get access to my free business growth accelerator and hang out with me on my weekly women in business podcast, Women Conquer Business.