The world was just turned upside down and the world of small business and even big business will be different from here on out. As we all set our sights on taking our business online, never forget that the online business world is so powerful that it was able to take down one of the most historical brands to ever exist—Sears. Sears used to be the largest retailer in the world and at one point, they were the retailer. Their catalog was the catalog for everything. While they may not be officially gone yet, they filed for bankruptcy in 2018, and I doubt their 400 stores can survive the economic downturn of the COVID-19 shutdown.
We also watched the video rental business tank out entirely, from the small town video store to the big player Blockbuster. The world of streaming, mobile devices, and a lack of evolution and growth left them behind.
So why do I talk about these big brands? To show that no matter how solid our business is, it’s not foolproof or economy proof. This quarantine situation may not have affected you the way it has affected most, but I sure hope it has opened your eyes to the future and where you fit in.
So if you aren’t scrambling right now to make ends meet, what should you be doing? Well, while you may not be scrambling, very rarely does a successful entrepreneur find themselves in a spot where they don’t have something to work on.
Step 1: Audit and evaluate your business
These are the things you should be looking at closely: revenue, leads, closing, retention, average lifetime value, average lifetime, lead source, referrals. Make notes on how you’ve been doing over the last year, and even better if you can compare it month by month. If you haven’t read our article on how to fix your marketing funnel, check it out here.
Step 2: Audit and evaluate your soft skills
What interpersonal skills do you need to improve? I’m talking about mindset, stress management, small talk skills, eye for business, public speaking, organization, systems, etc. Just knowing how to train clients and create strong programming isn’t enough. The soft skills are what really come in handy and give you an edge on your opponents.
Step 3: Start reading! If you are not reading, start.
I was never a reader, but it’s always something I liked the idea of. I became a big audiobook person while driving. I started listening to a lot of books on personal development. It started off super casual, just when driving, and my commute has been short. But over the course of the last year, I racked up 22 books; the next year, I upped my cadence to 44 books. A lot of the audiobooks I have listened to I just exchanged them for music. Even if I am not necessarily always listening at my highest capacity, I would rather fill my head, even if sub-consciously, with words that empower me to push forward and get better. Now I have started reading hard copy books and even re-reading books, taking notes as I go.
Use your free time to fill your head with new information. Even if you can’t recognize in the moment how it’s going to help your business, it will all pay off in the long run. If you are looking for a reading inspiration, please check out my reading list.
Step 4: Brainstorm for the future
Plan time to plan. Just like me, I’m sure most of you have a million Google notes or notebooks or cocktail napkins with ideas and thoughts that have popped into your brain. The problem is that those thoughts are not easy to access so you aren’t able to draw upon them fast enough.
One of the best things I have ever done for time management and productivity is setting aside a four-hour chunk to plan time to plan. I compiled every note, idea or thought from any place I might have stored it and consolidated them all onto a giant poster board I have hung around my house (which is where I work from a lot). I like to know that I have all my thoughts for that particular idea or product or business in one spot, so If I have another thought I can go jot it down on that board, recognizing that I have thought about it and stored it appropriately. Storing ideas electronically isn’t a good solution for me because if it’s out of sight it’s out of mind.
Step 5: Set clear goals
When we are forced to take a step back, not only are our blind spots revealed but we get a chance to step out of the trenches and fight the good fight to look at the map again. Where is it you want to go? What do you want to see? Are you even on the right path or are you fighting a war you don’t actually even want to be in?
By this point in the article, you hopefully have revealed and rediscovered what your true north is and are reorienting yourself that way. It’s important to have clear goals set for yourself. You can’t get where you want to go if you don’t have a map set up. Use this time to make some short-term goals (what you want to accomplish before COVID shutdown is over) as well as long term goals (what you want your life to look like in five years).
Step 6: Find the linchpin of dysfunction
For many coaches, sales and marketing are the elements that seem to be holding us back. We get angry that we even have to pay attention to it because all we want to do is coach and program, but unless you work for someone else and they do all of the sales and marketing for you, it is going to be the thing you need to figure out and spend time learning. There is no way around it. There is no magical day that you will wake up and have a full schedule and not have to do sales and marketing because that’s 50 percent of the job you signed up for.
Now what element of sales and marketing do you need to improve? Written communication? Verbal communication? Developing content? Just like if we’re assessing and coaching our client’s poor squat form, figure out what the best bang for your buck is. Is it a mobility thing? Is it a stability thing? Is it a motor learning thing? Identify your lynchpin and go work on it. There is no magic world where you don’t have to.
It’s time to take responsibility for your own outcome and future. If you want to see your business look differently, then you can’t expect to keep doing the same bullshit you have been doing day in day out and expect different results.
- Set up regular calls with a mentor
- Read a book (you should always be doing this)
- Listen to a podcast
- Take an online course
Do something. Don’t just throw blanket questions into a Facebook group and say “I need help with marketing” and think that’s the right amount of effort you needed to actually make a difference in your businesses. Until you’re open to actually search for the answer, you better develop an iron jaw, because you are going to take some hits.