Well this is going to take some getting used to.
I haven’t even picked up my car from the garage I left in for an MOT whilst in Dubai, well because we ain’t going anywhere soon.
As the government tell us to stay home, and the country sits waiting for its next instruction respectfully, many in a state of fear/confusion/panic, it is very easy to drown in the noise and negativity of it all.
I nearly succumbed myself.
Karen off of FB has become an epidemiologist.
Dave off of Twitter has done a 2 week masters in the spread of infectious disease.
Every property FB group is forecasting a depression and a property market crash like never seen in history (usually without any economic support of quantification)
The tone is bleak, and peoples outlooks becoming even worse.
We are in danger of the reaction being more damaging than the very horrible cause.
I snapped out of it.
I recommend it.
So my outlook has changed.
I am thankful for the opportunity this has given me as a business person (I am sad at the way it has come around, I do not want to diminish that at all, but this blog is going to be about looking for positivity). I have never been offered 6 (hopeful) – 12 (probable) weeks to focus purely, and largely uninterrupted, on my business, my health, my mindset and my relationships. I have so much time to create content, and put out value. I have time for clear thinking. This is helped by a realisation of just how sh*t TV is.
We will (thankfully) never have this kind of opportunity again.
In taking the positives from this huge negative situation, do not waste it.
If you have any intention of starting your business up again (I am sadly aware that many will not have the opportunity), then you have, in my opinion, no excuse not to be ready to hit the ground running in EVERY part of your business.
So what are our focuses during this enforced break?
OK, I will tell you then……
– VALUE GIVING –
I have gone into the break with the mindset of “everyone is going to remember exactly how you shown up during this terrible time.” If you are screaming the worlds end, panicking yourselves and others, or trying to take financial advantage of others during this stage, or looking for an excuse not to pay contractors when you KNOW you could, then you will not be forgotten. (Insert Mike Ashley related sentence here)
If you inspire, share and motivate – if you make someone smile or feel self assured – educate or distract – then that too will not be forgotten. In my opinion there are no true selfless acts, even if it makes you feel good (the best kind of act) then you have benefitted in someway. It doesn’t always have to be financial, but in it’s nature it often ends up being in the long term. As Zig Ziglar says, “You can have everything you want in life if you just give enough people what they want.”
– FINANCIAL PLANNING –
one of our first exercises was to highlight our blind spots as soon as we could. Where were we potentially exposed? Red, Amber, Green our tenants, buyers and customers. Communicate early with them, and offer firm reassurances. The world seems to be coming together, and whilst people will naturally try and use this time opportunistically, its important to have the same mindset in business too.
Which staff were important for operations? How do we keep the rest?
What costs do we currently not need in the day to day operations of our businesses?
What are our financial projections and pipeline incomes?
What drop offs in income do we expect to have? Where are our break even and profit points?
What help is being offered to each of our businesses? DO WE NEED IT? (there has been some woeful advice being distributed that I have caught sight of, including telling people to consider defaulting on liabilities). People taking mortgage “holidays” that they don’t need is one of the biggest frustrations for me at the moment. The same people are complaining about the lack of new mortgage products (because understaffed lenders are having to move new business staff to honouring mortgage holidays). An example of the reaction being bigger than the cause in many cases. If you have done your numbers and you need it, take it, if you don’t – don’t.
This applies personally and in business, in equal measure. Luckily the nature of the lockdown has driven down the luxury spending pretty significantly.
– MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA –
Ok in case you hadn’t guessed I am a bit of a social media fan (please follow on Insta, FB pages, Youtube etc if you don’t already). I am that much of a fan that our social media manager is one of the integral staff members for our business that we have kept in their position. In my opinion, it isn’t the time to pull back on marketing, providing you are sending the right message. It isn’t the time to look opportunistic (see above), but it is the time to grow your brand positively. People at home are looking at their phone, considering their next move, thinking about the changes they want to make in their lives. It is a great opportunity to be seen, in a positive way, and to be putting out a positive message. With many of the people I coach and speak to, a common line they say to me on the subject of social media is “I haven’t got the time.” Well, I think that excuse is null and void for most currently. I wrote an earlier blog post on social media use in business. Have a read of that, revisit Crushing It by Gary Vee, build a clear social media strategy driven based on what you want your brand message and offering to be, and GET BUSY.
– BUSINESS PLAN –
I hope that this has been a wake up call for many businesses that have been aimlessly wondering from month to month without a clear plan. Again, I am very sad at how it has come about, but think that the businesses that respond in the right way, and WITH A PLAN, may well use this as a much needed resuscitation.
Again, I have done an earlier blog post on the importance of a business plan
Here she is…..
but now is the time to actually action this.
– BUSINESS PROCESS AND OPERATION MANUALS –
Yep, we have all put this one off because we don’t have time, and well, because its boring. But, as a long term business owner, I can tell you that future you, and future staff, will be thankful. McDonalds lead the way here, with their training and manuals on how to put lettuce on a burger. If you still have staff working, they can help you. Creating an operations manual for your business, and all the actions that you and/or your staff take on a “normal” business day is imperative for the future of your business. It helps with thought process on role allocation, responsibilities, staff clarity and future recruitment. You will hate me whilst you do it, but you may thank me and yourself in the future. (This will form part of your business plan above)
– TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF –
Exercise, eat well, read and try to laugh. I am worried that this disease will have an impact on peoples lives in ways that far outweigh the numbers of the disease. 8 million people die a year through mental health related causes. That is far more than I have seen in even the most scariest of COVID-19 related predictions. So look after your health, stay active and stay positive. This will pass, and it will feel quicker than you think. This is a small part in the history of one of our lives, one that we will never forget. However we have the choice of whether we treat it as fuel for our fire, our water that douses the flame. Choose wisely because life is long and short in equal measure.
Read the content of the post….
– FIND BEAUTY IN THE SMALL THINGS – NORMALITY SEEMS SEXY –
I think for everyone this event has made us appreciate things that we may have taken for granted. Like, going outside. Eating in restaurants, coffee with friends, seeing family, routine and structure, 5 episodes a week of Coronation Street (lol) – whatever it is for you. This has made us stop and take account of the things that matter (and how much they cost). Listen, I love luxury and the lifestyle that we have, but it’s not really that we are craving at the moment. Perhaps, just perhaps we can all see beauty in simplicity now. Will it last, well that is to be seen………but enjoy it while it does…
– AVOID THE HYSTERIA AND PANIC –
I want to leave you with this one……I am flabbergasted by peoples addiction to panic. The consistent sharing of inaccurate and scary data is painful. It is almost like we as a people, take comfort in hysteria, providing that it is shared. I have climbed my way out of that trap during this pandemic.
I want facts only.
If you are going to tell me the market is going to crash, then SHOW ME why.
If you are going to tell me that we are all doomed, then SHOW ME why.
I am not willing to attend a hysteria party without clear detail on the invite.
We are in great danger, like I have said, of the reaction being bigger than the cause. We are sharpening our own guillotines in some cases.
The disease is terrible, what it will do is very sad, but we need to minimise the hangover to make sure we can return to our much craved normality as swiftly as possible, and then who knows, maybe flourish thereafter.
Let us be lead by facts and not fear.
Let us look for the sunshine in the clouds.
You often get what you look for in every part of life.
My decision is that I am going to follow the scientific guidelines, and what the government are telling us to do. I have been social distancing for 4 weeks almost now. The steps seem to be working, and my decisions are based on what the qualified people are telling me to do, not what Karen and Dave are posting.
My right hand man Matt shared this with me, and I found it informative, factually (not fear) based and extremely reassuring in equal measure. It is 50 minutes or so long, but we almost all have the time to watch it, and I think you will thank me if you do. (Or thank Martin Kiernan – a leading infectious disease specialist)
Stay busy, stay healthy (body and mind), stay safe and STAY AT HOME.
Love from Danny x