Yes another post about lockdown
I am going to be another one of those people and write a post for businesses about the lockdown. I have tried to resist but the ranter in me could not hold back any longer. The fact we can’t get away from and has compelled me to write this post is we have all been thrown into the shit. However, in life, there are people who fall in shit and there they stay swimming around not even thinking about coming out of it and there those who always, come out smelling of roses.
If you want to be a shit swimmer then close this down it you want garden full roses then accept the post. There are incredible lessons to be learned from this period. Whether you fear change or you like it, our lives, our businesses the way in which we work have drastically changed over the last few months and we have been forced to change. So as with everything in life, there are learnings to be had from this.
In this post, I am going to give you the 10 most important lessons that I think can help you come out of this in a positive way.
1. Zoom = Sales
Since the dawn of sales, the face to face meeting has been the goto approach. The problem with that is, for a one-hour meeting it can take up so much time. If you don’t get the sale then that is a lot of a day you have taken from your earning potential. You have to have a shower, look presentable from top to bottom. Once you have paid to travel the time it takes to travel and have the meeting, then travel back a lot of that time is not as productive as if you are at home.
During this lockdown, people have been using video conferencing almost constantly. Many people may not even have heard of Zoom before the lockdown. Now you spend days just talking about, organising it and talking into it. (Don’t you wish you had invested in Zoom a few years ago?) You don’t have to travel for two hours to do a one-hour meeting. You could have three discovery and meet and greet calls in the same time period it takes to do one face to face meeting. Best of all you don’t even need to take your PJ bottoms off.
Lesson learnt: You will come out smelling of roses if you are more efficient with your time. there is a value to it, don’t waste it. Consider when the lockdown lifts continuing to do some or all video conferencing sales calls instead of travelling to do face to face.
2. You don’t need to lock the kids and dog in a cupboard
Some times it can be too much about the visuals and not the content and value you bring. Big budgets have created big and perfect productions. Influencers try and make us think their world is perfect. In this lockdown, we have had to be so much more relaxed and real. Jimmy Fallon is a perfect example. He has been doing The Tonight Show from his home. Normally it is a highly produced show, everything is perfect and rehearsed but now his wife is doing all the camera work and his kids are constantly interrupting him and I think it may have turned people around who may have been getting bored with his Tonight Show format.
No one cares, if they can hear the kids in the background, no one cares if Amazon arrive or the dog comes it in the middle of a meeting. We are definitely not living in a perfect world at the moment. We never were and I think we all need to do business a lot more on real terms rather than making it seem something it is not.
Lesson learnt: We can all been a bit a lot more real about life and what goes on. It doesn’t stop what we know, what we offer and it doesn’t diminish from the quality of products or services you offer. So if you have to do a Zoom call and the kids come in, so what. Sometimes it might be worth thinking about whether you want to work with people who actually get upset that things are perfect.
3. Be yoga bendy all the time
This one saddens me. I think there are businesses who are a product of this virus and as a result of what they do, have not been able to survive. However, there are some businesses that have not survived but should have at least be able to keep the doors open or even in certain sectors been able to thrive.
Your business needs as flexible as someone who does yoga five days a week.
Retail is a perfect example. I have gone on and on and on about the failings of small and large retailers and how they were and are putting their businesses at risk. Too many retailers were still trading like it was 1980. Many small retailers still have incredibly poor websites or no website, no social media presence, no email list and therefore wavering loyalty from customers and more importantly, they have no means for customers to buy online. They are not on Etsy, Amazon, Shopify and therefore have no means to sell their products if the doors are locked and the store sign says closed. One particular shop I am thinking about, not only do they not have a website, zero social media when I was last in there they even had an old fashioned credit card machine. This shop has not survived.
Yet there are companies who have downward facing dogged their business and stepped up. They have updated websites, put in place delivery services, kept customers up to date and just supported their community. These businesses are thriving and I would like to hope that coming out of the lockdown people will remember and continue to support them.
Lesson learnt: You have to constantly be aware of how your clients prefer to receive products and services and flex and grow your company to meet those needs. Also, be aware of what is going on in the market. For example, if shops are to open can you take contactless payments? Constantly ask yourself how flexible is your business if problems occur.
4. If you don’t know ask for fucking help (but in the right place)
This is hard, it is unbelievably fucking hard, but don’t just spin around in circles wandering what to do. Ask for help, go into Facebook groups, ask your tribe, see point 10. Don’t think that any question you have is stupid. People want to help so ask.
Word of warning though, ask in the right place. For example, the number of people I see asking for business advice on Mumsnet scares me because if you were to take the advice from some of the answers you will be bankrupt in a minute. Also, don’t use family if they have never run a business, many, in particular, husbands think they know and they don’t. Don’t even get them involved. You need to ask the experts, not armchair advisors.
This is an important time, if you don’t like asking for help, get over it because this is too serious to allow any fears and limit beliefs to stop you from moving forward.
Lessons learnt: It costs your business money to be afraid to raise your hand and ask a question. It takes up your time where it may be something that is easily solved by a quick text, email or post on Facebook.
5. KonMarie the fuck out of everything
This is not about perfect, it is about being organised. If you run a business at any time you have to be organised but especially so now it so important to have everything nailed down.
Your home and routine need to be organised. Who is looking after the kids, when is the shopping is being done, who is doing the housework and who is schooling the kids? You need to schedule like a maniac but this enables you to be yoga bendy when the shit hits the fan.
Your business needs to be uber organised. Make sure your processes are tight, your routine is tight. Your office is organised. This will save you time, money, stress but and it will help to make sure that your customer services are on point.
I will give you a small example. I ordered some food for my father direct from a bakery because Ocado were quite often out of stock and I can’t just popped to a supermarket. I received the Paypal receipt but nothing from the company.
As with everyone I am being a bit more forgiving about how long things are taking to arrive so I left it about a week but I was having to close off my next Ocado delivery and I didn’t want to spend money on products that I had already ordered from a different company but I no idea when my goods from the bakery were going to be delivered.
So I sent an email to the email address that was on the PayPal receipt. I immediately got an auto-reply saying ‘I have been furloughed please send email to this other person’. So I emailed the other person. As I write this I am still waiting for a reply. Strangely a few hours later I received confirmation from a courier company to say they had received my package but there was still no confirmation as to when they would deliver it. So I had to finish my Ocado delivery adding the goods not knowing when the Bakery was going to deliver.
Low and behold the goods arrived the next day and then Ocado delivered.
It takes a minute to change the name PayPal and it is an important step in the process because it seems integral to the orders.
They should have double-checked and streamline processes to make sure there were no gaps as they are running with fewer staff.
They should check in your with clients constantly, you have to make time for this, they are the ones that keep the doors open.
I am forgiving because of the virus, but they pissed me off because they added to my list of things to do, they cost me money and as business coach poor organisation pisses me off.
Lesson learnt: It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are if you have solid processes in place, you are organised and you deal probably if there are process your customers will be happy and will tell other people about you. So KonMarie the fuck out of your life and business.
6. Be supportive but recognise people do shit with free
I have been loving all the support and content that entrepreneurs have been putting out. Not leaving anything on the line they have just provided incredible advice. You too can do that in your industry.
Content, content, content is how you can be supportive. Give your advice freely, post blogs, do videos, create a podcast, a one minute video on Instagram that can help a thousand people. Business and brand wise you are giving something for free but you will get back. People will pass your content on, it will help with views to your website, people will engage and along the line, it will create sales.
As always though be careful of those that are looking for free advice, to pick your brain and with which the will do shit with it.
I actually did a podcast on this, I was reaching my limit because I constantly give free advice and years down the line they had done nothing with it.
Click here to listen to the podcast.
If you read James Altucher, whom I love. He says that you should freely give your ideas away and I have no problem with that but you have to think from the other side. People need to feel invested. They need that conscious convincer to continue to take action. So when they have to give back they have invested. Whether that be money or a testimonial or a case study they have made a commitment.
There are a lot of people in this lockdown feeling like they are swinging in the wind. they want advice but many also feel so ground down by all that is going on their energy is stopping them moving forward. So they need to start to feel positivity invested, in themselves and their business again.
Lesson learnt: Publish content, give away ideas and offer advice but make sure you and the person/business/brand on the other side are invested enough to put the work in.
7. Brand is sooooooooo important
Oh god, I can’t go on enough about this subject. This is just a few short paragraphs about how important your brand is to get people invested. People need to know what your values are, what your business is about you need to be in the mind of people so they choose you, talk about you and buy from you.
I could give you so many examples of strong brands and many, many more examples of shit brands. I give you a good one so you an check it out for yourself. Sorted Food has such a strong brand and culture which they have kept going through the lockdown even though they are all cooking from different places. You still get the sense blokey fun, learning about cooking, the genuineness that they bring to the brand, nothing has been diminished because they can’t deliver their content in its usual way.
There are so many businesses that can’t work, can’t provide their services but some, because they are putting out the content in line with their strong brand’s. People are taking notice and they will be remembered post lockdown.
Lesson Learnt: If you don’t know what a brand is, learn. If you don’t have one, get one. Understand your brand values and stick to your brand, stick to your brand, stick to your brand.
8. Kick the dark mooders to the curb
This is a piece of advice I give constantly. Find your fucking tribe. Spend time with people who are going to lift you higher, people who are going to elevate you, people who are positive and are working towards taking steps forward.
Stay away from those that are living under a dark cloud and don’t seem to want to step away from it. They will bring you down, they will hold you back, they will do everything they can to take you under their dark cloud.
Go to groups, find networking (it is even happening online at the moment) connect and engage with people who seem positive and are motivated. You have to go find them they will not come knocking on your door.
Lesson Learnt: A tribe of the right people can make you feel unstoppable, an incredible boost to your self-esteem and will never knock your dreams.
9. A single income stream does not a strong business make
I always run off the principle of niche to seven streams. I do this because millionaires on average have seven different streams of income. It is always important to create more than one income stream in your business, not just because it creates more money for your business but it enables flexibility if one income stream dips in revenue.
If you are a beauty therapist, for example, you could sell products, create a subscription box, do a partnership with other relevant businesses, such as a hair company, supplement company, advertise on your blog, create merchandise.
In this nightmare of coronavirus so many one income stream businesses have really suffered. There is a lady that comes to our house to care for my Dad’s nails (this is important in the elderly). She is lovely and pretty much all her work involved her treating the elderly in care homes and in people’s private homes. It was her single source of income. If she had sold products or provided monthly care boxes she could have least have created some income during the lockdown.
It comes back to be organised and yoga bendy in your business.
Lessons Learnt: A single income stream limits your business. There are limitless incomes streams which can create limitless money.
10. Learn, learn, learn
I imagine when I say this people rolling their eyes and saying “Yes Angela we know” because I say it so often. but it is amazing to me how many people start a business and think that is it. They never bother to learn another thing. That is how you run a business that doesn’t under customers, doesn’t provide the right products at the right price, does not have a strong brand, only has one stream of income and does not survive a drastic change in their business such as the one we are currently going through.
As I writing this blog, I am listening to Token CEO presented by Erica Nardini CEO of Barstool. It is a masterclass in business. I learn daily, my tribe learns daily. I can guarantee 90% of billionaires are prolific readers. It is not difficult to make time for it in your day. Shove your phone someone safe on your person, stick your headphones in wander around the house listening to a podcast or an audiobook. There you’re done, you’ve learnt for the day.
Lessons learned: I would say this one is obvious but if you don’t learn, your business doesn’t grow and you certainly don’t grow.
To close out
All of these lessons are not just lockdown lessons but solid lessons for anyone starting or growing a business.
If you have any other lessons you have learnt or if there is anything in this blog that particularly resonates with you I would love to hear from you in the comments.