What a difference a fortnight makes...

 

Like most of you. I feel like my feet haven't touched the ground.

It's hard to think that just three weeks ago, I was planning a trip down to the South Coast with my family for camping and doing nothing time at a beautiful house by the beach.

A well-earned break and some time off for our first family holiday in a little while.

Here we are just a few short weeks later, staring down the barrel of who knows what.

At least five times a day, I find myself wondering what the hell is going on, and then I catch myself...

It's easy to focus on the things I can't do, wonder what's ahead and for how long, and worry about how the hell it's all going to pan out?

Meanwhile, depending on which medium you read, all sorts of experts are "predicting" what will happen and how long it will be. Doom and gloom on one side, a scientific fact on the other, tempered by mixed messages from the government in between.

I have friends who, two to three weeks ago, had great businesses - top of their trade in hospitality,  personal training and all those other industries that have been deeply impacted - scrambling to catch hold.

 

In that context, I have nothing to lament.

What I do and have the opportunity to do whilst impacted is relatively unscathed.

I have the opportunity to continue to work with businesses and much of what we're working on is not just doable but actually, hugely relevant and important. 

Over the next few weeks, I'm focusing down on six areas I think are vital to get a handle on.

  • Running remote meetings like a pro,
  • Frequent, high-quality client communication quickly and easily,
  • Getting into the right team rhythm for working well even when you're separated,
  • Ensuring you continue to work with strategic partnerships better than ever.
  • Working out how to proceed with pricing - stick or twist?
  • Being able to communicate your value clearly.

That's one part of it, but I wanted to share a couple of other things that matter to me right now beyond the coaching.

 

Maintain the status quo (if you can)

The lady who cleans our house called to confirm what time she'd be around. I could hear the worry in her voice.

She's one of those impacted.

The truth is we're following the rules to the letter, and that means nobody comes into the house, so we made a choice, collectively, as a family.

 
As long as our situation stays relatively unimpacted, anyone we pay a regular amount to for services provided continues to get paid, whether they can deliver the services or not.

 

The way I see it when I emerge from all this, I want to see all those small businesses, freelancers and sole traders who I relied on before step into the sunlight with me, and I'm going to do my part to make that happen.

Same goes when I look at it from a business perspective. If we still have the ability to continue to run our businesses, we take it with both hands and keep the chain intact even when others can't.

By the way, this isn't intending to be self-serving. If you're in a position where you've done your cash flow and you're staring down the precipice, that's a different kettle of fish.

But if you're one of the lucky ones who, for the most part, can continue working albeit in different ways, we should continue to do it.

 

Step forward

Most of the businesses I've spoken to about this are getting on with it, getting on the front foot, doing what they do best and helping clients, and choosing to view this as work-to-be-done.

There is an enhanced need out there right now. 

Clients are realising that it is good to have someone in that corner. Who knows? Maybe others who haven't been so supportive will notice too.

The mistrust of "expertise" that has characterised recent years - demonstrated by Trump and Brexit - may now have been flipped.

Maybe it's made more of us realise that certain things we saw as possible someday, such as remote meetings with clients,  are actually very viable ways of doing business both for existing clients and new ones.

The future may be uncertain, but it's also been delivered right now and lightspeed.

 

Get focused

We made the decision to take our kids out of school last week.

I understand the rationale for keeping the schools open for those who don't have the ability to juggle work and caring for kids such as doctors and nurses, but that's not us.

It may be a juggling act, but it's not impossible.

I have friends who are teachers and hearing their fear about what they were being exposed to made me realise that if I had the power not to contribute to that, I shouldn't.

We're in a situation with my wife full-time, me doing what I do and two free radicals (kids) under 6 bouncing around the system like firecrackers.

But we're gonna rise to it. Currently, we're trialing a shift system - one of us works the early shift, the other the arvo.

It's going to make us better parents, time managers, and partners. 

 

Make the decision

There's a decision every business needs to make right now, and it's the most important one.

We're at the beginning of something, or is it the middle? Who knows?

The decision is whether you're going to endure and get through this, or not.

Once that call is made, and assuming you decide the former, then it's simply about what you do next.

The small business ecosystem is, in my opinion, the most important thing to protect.  Without small businesses, there can be no economy.

The flip side is it's required me to become very clear on: 

  • What are the things I need to focus on?
  • What are the things I need to improve?
  • What doesn't matter any more?
  • What can I not be wasting time on?
  • How to be more efficient myself?

Sometimes you need a catalyst to do things differently, adopt new practices and elicit change.

 

These are weird, weird times, but it's times like these that often bring out the best in people.

If we're going to come out the other side with a world that is as similar as it was, it's the small business that will make it happen.

And we can do it because we have to.

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