This is an unimaginably difficult time for entrepreneurs and small business owners. It’s a tough time for everyone, to be fair, but when you’re balancing the survival of your organisation with the concern you have for your employees, economic uncertainty, and your own well-being, you have a cocktail of complexity and stress.
Add to that the pressure of government regulation and corporate clients who pay suppliers late (or not at all), and it’s clear we’re going to need radical reform and stimuli to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. The only saving grace is that everyone is in this together, and we need to look for support and encouragement to stay committed to identifying possible innovations and solutions in our own businesses that will make us resilient and effective, not just now but well into the future.
These topics have been top of mind for me since it became clear around the beginning of February that we were plunging headfirst into a once-in-a-lifetime global event that would have a monumental impact on business and society. I run small businesses, invest in, coach, and mentor business owners, and mix in entrepreneurial circles. I have had some time to think about how we, as small business owners can use this time as productively as possible to create the bedrock for future recovery and success.
Exploring the role of your values in a crisis
My first opportunity to explore some of these ideas came thanks to serial entrepreneur and global speaker Richard Mulholland joining me on the One-Eyed Man podcast to discuss values, leadership, and what to do when you don’t know what to do.
You can watch the conversation on YouTube as well.
How SMEs can survive and thrive in a COVID-19 crisis
I was then offered the opportunity to join well-known South African entrepreneur, Shark Tank investor, and SME crusader Marnus Broodryk, in partnership with Sasfin, to share some thoughts on tips for SMEs who are feeling short on hope and resources in this lockdown period. I offered the following thoughts:
- Look after your mental health – entrepreneurship is lonely and tough at the best of times, but it’s lonelier and tougher right now.
- Use the opportunity to work on your business with the simple “Start, Stop, Continue” framework.
- Ask yourself the question, what is the most interesting way to solve the problem I solve for my customers?
- Know the difference between the business you’re in, and the business you think you’re in!
I’ve embedded that video for you in case you’re interested in those, and other practical tips from entrepreneurs in the same position you are:
Exploring impactful leadership
Lastly, I was invited to a conversation about leadership with friend and speaking colleague, and all-round wonderful human being, Juanita Vorster.
This is perhaps not 100% pertinent to the situation right now and takes a far more macro view of leadership and impact, but it might be interesting to you if you need some insight in that regard.
Early in 2019, I presented to promotional goods wholesaler Amrod‘s 2000+ clients at the Sandton Convention Centre on the topic of digital and social marketing for small businesses. This presentation was tailored to their audience but may have some useful nuggets in it for those of you looking for ways to differentiate your small business through social and digital marketing.
I sincerely hope some of this helps.
Stay happy and healthy, friends.