We’re in weird times. The stock market plunged. Families are locking themselves in their homes. And people are wearing masks and goggles on the street.
At a quick glance, this is the worst thing for business. The government is telling companies they have to change the way they do business. To others, they can’t open. Doors shut.
But isn’t this why you got into business? For the challenges? I mean, don’t get me wrong, this flat out sucks— I don’t want this and neither do you – but now is your time to shine.
When it’s easy – everyone does well. And we’ve had it good for about 9 years. Real good.
But now it’s raining and you have somewhere you have to be. You have the choice to slow down, put on your hazards and ease into the shoulder.
Or you can throw on your wipers, grip the steering wheel and get through the storm.
I’m not saying hit the accelerator. I’m saying collect yourself and keep as much momentum as you can.
It’s going to be alright. Things will go back to normal. Panic only lasts so long. This storm will pass.
And it goes without saying, that this isn’t a time to pirate, gouge or take advantage of others.
Nor is this a time to be the victim, to feel you’re entitled or owed.
Rather, this is the time to collaborate, share and show the world how we as a community can come together to help one another.
There are a myriad of groups and resources you can turn to for help.
- The Digital Mastermind. This happens to be my favorite and the group I manage. We’re an intimate group of agency owners that meet once a year, keep in touch via a Slack channel have periodic calls, and we’ve been supporting one another through this. It’s free to join us.
- Bureau of Digital. Also, a great group that has a ton of collaboration. You have to pay to join or attend one of their events, but it’s also a fantastic collection of people.
- Agency Management Institute. Another group I’ve heard great things about.
- Jason Swenk. A former agency owner and coach that helps agencies. He has a group as well.
- Blair Enns. Brilliant guy. He’s an agency consultant and also has a group that he coaches.
- David C. Baker. Another brilliant guy and a consultant for agencies. Tons of great information here.
As you can see, you don’t have to go this alone. There are places to turn to for more information. But at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to you and your ability to adapt to the circumstances.
I recommend “choosing this.” It’s different than wanting it. It’s about being empowered. You’re accepting the situation as is and will have the power to make the changes necessary to navigate the storm.
And I’m sure you’ve done all the following by now, but in case you haven’t here are some things I’ve collected from speaking with others:
- Contact Your Clients – let them know you’re there to help them solve their problems. They have a lot to communicate in this crisis. Help them think differently about their business. For instance, if they’re a restaurant, they should be delivered. If they’re in retail, help them bolster their eCommerce presence. If they’re a recruiting company, help them prepare for the onslaught of unemployed workers that are hitting the market. And if they can’t do anything, just be there for them in any capacity that makes this situation easier. You’re human and so are they. Empathy is a powerful thing.
- Speak with Your Team – be authentic and transparent, but don’t be weak. They need a rock right now, not clay. Work with them on a plan. Come together and share ideas. Granted, you may need to lay some staff off but there are programs being put in place as I speak right now that offer loan forgiveness if you hold on to every employee through this crisis.
- Get Cash – many states are offering programs to get funding. Right now it’s cheap. Here in Florida, we have the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program and the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan COVID-19. Your state most likely has a similar program. Or you can access money through the SBA.
- Think Differently About Your Agency –
- If you’re focused on a niche that’s hit such as hospitality, travel or retail, it’s going to be a little tough. But can you what’s the next closest thing to you that you can sell to?
- Widen your service offering to match your client’s current situation. Whatever they need, help them however you can.
- Look at all expenses that do not generate revenue.
- Offer discounts and do what you have to do to keep or win business.
- Make sure your team has something to work on. If not, consider furloughing or laying off. Keep in mind that some of the government assistance at the time of this writing may stipulate that you need to keep your employees at full pay to receive the full benefit of the loan forgiveness programs.
- Consider merging or being acquired. If you made some risky bets prior to the virus, be real with your outlook. Contact others who may be in a position to acquire you.
- Use the downtime – focus on your position, message and your content. Now may be the time you fire up your podcast, redesign your website or work on your internal processes.
I hope you find this information useful. If you’re concerned and just need someone to talk to, I’m here to help. Reach out to me and schedule a call. I want you to get this through this and succeed.
Lastly, I’ll say it again, this is just a storm. Storms pass. So let’s keep at it.
Thanks for your attention and collaboration.