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  • Jim Schroeder

Navigating the Rough Waters of a Crisis as a Small Businessperson

The past few weeks have brought us all life changes.  Some small businesspeople are going into a real dead zone. I am seeing it with my business. I am not sitting still, however.  Those that do nothing right now will see their downturn likely see their downturn extended by the number of weeks the do nothing to advance their business.  While some might find there is not enough to do for “full-time work” and it is important to take this time to take care of family and health, any businessperson will tell you there is always something to do to move the business forward.

What I am trying to do is work 3-4 hours a day on client work as it comes in and then a few more hours on ways to improve my overall business. Here are a few ideas:

  • Go through your Credit Card receipts. What recurring charges are on there that you don’t need anymore. Is there a better, cheaper option?

  • Call credit card companies and ask for reduced interest rates.

  • Write content for social media and websites.

  • Review your Profit &Loss reports. Look for trends.

  • Review your vendors and contracts. What are you still paying for that you don’t use anymore?  What did you think you cancelled and didn’t or what free trial did you forget to cancel and now they are charging your credit card every month?

  • Review your insurance policies.

  • Look at your technology, do you need to update software or upgrade hardware What apps and software are you using? Are there better options? Work on a skill to become the expert on something involving your core business or a service that will bring additional revenue. Teach yourself Zoom or Skype so you can participate in virtual meetings.

  • Become an Ohio Notary or Online Notary

  • Check-in on clients. Not in a sleazy sales sort of way. Ask if there is something you can do for them. Are you a realtor who sold a house to someone who lives out of the area? Drive by and call them. Tell them that things look good or that you secured their garbage cans blowing across the lawn. Call your best customers and just ask how they are doing? Ask them what they are looking to do coming out of this time? How can you help them kick start their business or personal plans?

  • Find a new product or service. Right now, real estate is slowing down.  Estate planning is ramping up.  Find some area of your business that has something to offer in these uncertain times and perfect your plan to serve.

  • Call and check on your employees and other business owners. We all crave connection, especially under the current circumstances.  Now is a great time to build and strengthen relationships.

  • Take out a big piece of paper and write down columns for Monday through Sunday. Then write down what your ideal week would look like balancing work-social-health-fun-worship. Start working toward that best plan for your week.

Everyone is upended in this crisis. I pray you are not dealing with being infected or caring for someone who is. The rest of us owe it to ourselves, community and country to come out of this with a plan to do better and more importantly be better.

This week I read Willie Robinson from Duck Dynasty’s book, American Entrepreneur.  It advances the point that America has always been a country of small business people who have survived and even thrived in hard times.

A crisis is an opportunity to emerge differently, hopefully better.  This is certainly not the first or the last crisis our country has faced.  We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and our nation to use this time to work toward our best lives and best businesses so looking back we can say we did our part to help return to a normal way of life together.

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