We are living in unprecedented times. Coronavirus, Covid-19, lockdown, self-isolation: these are words most of us have never even heard of, never mind articulated before.
There are no words to properly express the devastation, confusion and general nightmare of what’s happening around us now – businesses folding, people losing their jobs, educations halted, a shortage of food and essentials, entertainment as we know it curtailed. Our way of life literally stopped in its tracks.
And of course, far, far worse than anything just mentioned above, the absolute horror of people losing their lives; people losing their loved ones. Our hearts and prayers go out to them.
But people need positives. And the one thing that sets us apart from the rest of the ‘animal kingdom’ is the human ability to have hope.
And so, if there are any positives to be drawn from all the negativity around us, it has to be this: That unprecedented times can also be a time for reflection and transformation; a time to unleash our inherent optimism; an opportunity to re-evaluate and prepare (and hope) for better times ahead.
Yes, it’s easy to focus on negatives. For many, there currently seems to be very little else. But it never ceases to amaze me how much, as humans, we are able to endure. No matter how bad it gets, we do have the most amazing ability to pick ourselves up, recover, soldier on, reinvent, blossom and grow again.
And certainly, for SMEs like us, if you can weather the financial hit, there are certainly some beneficial things you can be doing:
Get Your House In Order
- Review your messaging: Is it really on point? What are you saying? What do you actually want to say? And to whom? And why? And for what outcome?
- How do you present yourself? And how do you think you are perceived? How do people hear from you? And are you consistent, relevant even?
- Once you’ve got your house in order, update your brand accordingly – across all collateral, your website, your social media, etc.
Don’t Just Hunker Down (And Do Nothing)
There is a propensity to just shut down – but now, more than ever, others are needing inspiration and role models, and craving direction, content, and advice. So, if you have it in you, now is the time for:
- Thought leadership
- Impactful, meaningful content which can be shared with broadcast and print media for the benefit of others
- Stakeholder outreach
Use this time to give your business a ‘health and tech’ check. For SMEs in particular, just running the day-to-day business is an all-consuming priority and there is very little time for anything else. But now there is time. So use it to ask yourself some in-depth questions about your business. How efficiently do you really operate? Are you taking advantage of and incorporating all the latest tech advancements which could make a huge difference to your day-to-day workings? There is a raft of amazing tech out there, much of it free. So look at:
- Business process optimisation: What changes could be implemented internally so that, going forwards, you operate in a more effective way?
- Communications tools: There is a huge range of online webinar tools through to employee engagement resources to help interactions with your remote team now and for your future operation
- Marketing tools: What could you be using to automate getting your message out there?
More than anything, this is about giving ourselves focus to proceed in such challenging times. But it’s also about pushing our brain cells to do something positive and proactive – and it’s also a great way of engaging your teams who, while remote working, may be feeling, at the very least, isolated.
With job security also under threat, this is additionally about using your time positively while the normal workload has temporarily changed. And it will ensure that you’re all in a more positive, forward-looking space. Actively turning a negative into a positive in the absence of anything else is going to benefit everyone.
Of course, you can’t do all of this in one go. So why not focus on achieving one of these goals a month for the next three months?
You will feel stronger. You will get stronger. And you will become stronger.
And remember: Money and time wisely invested now will manifest in the future.