We find ourselves in an unsettling and unprecedented situation right now.
Small businesses are having to face obstacles they hadn’t planned for; and the world is reacting to change in every way.
As a business and growth coach I have helped guide and support many businesses through change; enabling businesses to survive and understand the challenges presented to them; whilst preparing for growth on the other side.
There are some key factors that business owners should focus on during periods of change. Here are my top five tips for managing change.
Tip 1: Ensure effective communication
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is; communication is key. Effective communication with your peers, family, clients, staff and audience are essential to ensuring realistic expectations and integrity.
Internally, any employees should be communicated with honestly; whilst ensuring that the information passed on is what is needed. In stressful periods of change no one needs to be overloaded with information; especially if it doesn’t relate to them! Keeping employees up to date with relevant and honest information is the key to ensuring trust and enabling effective communication.
Similarly, your clients need to know what is going on in a company if it impacts on service expectations. With social media, websites, newsletters, video calling technology and more accessible freely at our fingertips, there is no excuse for not keeping our clients and audience up to date. This does not mean scaremongering or revealing every detail of your business to the world; but it does mean ensuring practices are kept up to date and changes affecting the way you work are communicated effectively and honestly.
For instance, with the pressure of home-schooling weighing heavily on many self-employed parents during the school closures, it is important to let any existing client base know of changes to your working pattern. If they know when you are and are not available, delayed replies or missed phone calls will not be criticised. Not knowing what to expect in times of uncertainty will only add to confusion and a reduction in business beyond COVID-19.
Tip 2: Ensure you have a support system in place
Owning a small business can be lonely in its own right. When you add in the current expectations of self-isolation, loneliness and schooling pressures; feeling unsupported is rife in the small business world right now.
People are worried!
But there are many in the same boat as you; and talking through your concerns, goals and general frustrations is not only good for you personally, but amazingly productive for your business too (the best laid plans can come from the most innocent of chats!)
Remember, there are many in the same boat as you. Let people support you!
Your business may have paused, but your support networks and communication doesn’t have to; nor should it!
Tip 3: Try to focus on positives and opportunities
Let’s be honest – times are tough, expectations are high, and for many, income is low!
It is understandable why few are seeing positives and opportunities in such a situation.
But as I watch small businesses fight, I see new and amazing opportunities becoming available. From online offerings expanding audience potential by removing geographical boundaries; to business owners reputations and support being increased due to kind acts, volunteering and more.
Managing change means accentuating the benefits of it as much as possible. We did not ask for this change; but it is up to us to see a way to navigate through it in a way that will benefit us; or at least enable survival.
We are naturally resistant to change; but the more we can accept what is happening; the more we can plan; and the better we will manage it.
Tip 4: Get a plan!
Do you have a plan?
Unsettling times of change are often made easier to manage when there is a plan in place. In our current circumstances knowing what is expected of business owners, and the world, is changing daily; but this doesn’t mean that we need to freefall through it. We can plan for everything we can control.
Do you know what you should be doing during and after change?
Have you got set goals in place?
It is important to determine what has changed, what needs to change and what can/ has remained the same when adapting to periods of uncertainty. This can help us prepare a plan and empower action.
Tip 5: Reflect
Understandably everyone is focusing on the now rather than the future. In order to have a future, for many small businesses, surviving the now is the priority. Having said that, reflection should be a regular process; personally and professionally.
Where were you before COVID-19 and lockdown?
Were you happy with your strategy, business plan and work-life balance?
Are there things you could change now, in order to be ready for the business that is currently paused or slowed down?
Rather than wait for issues to arise once business is back to normal; reflecting on practices and deliberating what you were and weren’t happy with now, is imperative to surviving change.
Overall, the key theme apparent when going through periods of change is to maintain realistic expectations. Communicate effectively, realise the importance of support and contingency planning; whilst accepting COVID-19 will change many business practices. Take control of what you can change, accept what you cannot change and prepare for when normality resumes, because it will.
If you would like to talk in more detail about how you can get your business ready for success after COVID-19, please book a free Business Success Breakthrough Call via https://tiba.clickfunnels.com/business-success-lead
I will also be hosting online training sessions to help you survive business downtime and develop essential entrepreneur skills. For more information…