Business As (Un)Usual – How Should We Keep Things Going During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

It's an unprecedented and uncertain time for all of us right now, with the covid-19 pandemic happening around the world, so how should we navigate it? Here are my thoughts.

Things are very up in the air right now and, as business owners, I know a lot of us are worried about our livelihoods as well as the health of ourselves and our fellow humans.

(I know it feels a bit weird talking business when this is about so much more than business. But let’s not beat ourselves up for worrying about our businesses. We can care about that AND everything else. In fact, it’s just another layer of anxiety. Let’s be kind to ourselves.)

So what should we do?

Clearly, I don’t have an answer. But I wanted to share a few things from my heart, in case it helps (and know I might say the wrong thing because I don’t know what to say, I just feel called to say something). It's a long one, so get comfortable!

Side note: If you could use some gentle support in figuring out the right thing to do right now, then sign up to my new, free audio series. ‘5 Daily Moments of Clarity' is designed to cut through all of the noise and figure out what you need to do right now. It's not business as usual, but it's important that we all keep going in the way we personally need…

Click here to receive my 5 daily moments of clarity audios & gentle business prompts

Each audio is deliberately very short, for those of you who have less time to work on this stuff. I recommend you take at least 10 minutes out of your day to focus on that day's prompt.

7 Things I Am Doing in My Online Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic

(1) I am talking about the business impact of all this because this is what I do. I believe we all have a unique contribution to make, now and always, so let’s lead and support our communities in the way we do best. If you feel called to say something, I encourage you to share it. It won’t be perfect, it won’t be “right”. There is no right.

(2) I won’t pretend I haven’t freaked out or had days of endlessly refreshing news when I should have been working. We need space to freak out and to keep up to date, I’m not saying we should ignore it by any means. And I’m not ignoring the real effects of all this either (both physically and mentally).

But what I do know is that endlessly “what if…”-ing about what could happen benefits precisely nobody. As a person with (mostly low-level, but very real) anxiety, I know that you can’t just tell yourself to stop worrying. But you can create less space for the worry by taking control of what you can control, and making a plan.

(3) So what’s the plan? Right now, it’s to continue as normal for as long as possible. I am fortunate that my business is 100% online already. If it weren’t, I’d be looking to move as many activities online as possible. Or I’d be working on behind the scenes stuff that I would never get around to otherwise. But as it stands, with my business, I’m going ahead with my plans until I have a reason to do otherwise.

And that includes selling. I need to talk about this, because I know you care. I know you worry about what people think. I know you deeply want to do the right thing. And it is my personal opinion that it is still ok to sell what we do. In fact, I feel it’s necessary. The question I keep coming back to is: who benefits if I don’t do this?

Just before I wrote this I saw an ad for hand sanitiser at 1100% its original price. That is not the kind of selling I’m talking about. Nor am I talking about using fear as a sales tool. I’m talking about selling what I was selling already. That is my personal choice, and if you are in a position where you don’t need to then I am absolutely not judging you if you choose differently. As long as we understand that choosing not to sell/work may be a privilege that some others don't have.

(4) I am also managing my expectations around how much I sell. I know that the collective fear may lead to people being more cautious with what they’re buying. I will admit that for a minute I wondered whether to stop selling altogether, until I realised that the worst that can happen is that nothing will sell, which will certainly be true if I sell nothing. So I am selling because it is the most logical choice, and because I am the breadwinner for my family so it’s not really even a choice, though I do know sales may be affected. And, for this reason, I’m ready and willing to change what I’m launching and when, based on my intuition of what is most needed right now.

(5) I'm also preparing for a lack of childcare. This is the big one that I know will massively affect our ability to “keep going”. I simply cannot get work done when looking after my two year old, besides a small amount of time when he's in front of the TV. So my husband and I will have to come up with a childcare rota as and when things change.

(6) I've set the intention to support small business owners wherever possible. That means sharing what they do, being more mindful of where I'm spending my money, and hopefully putting out some free content to help people move some of what they do online (I'm on holiday this week, though, so that'll have to wait).

(7) I'm taking care of my mental health. I have dealt with anxiety for many years and I have a number of tools to draw on in times like this. Journalling. Sitting down with a book. Banning myself from reading the news. Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol. Getting more sleep (easier said than done with a toddler who loves waking at 5am). Above all it's important for me to prioritise my mental and physical health.

My Advice for Communicating With Your Audience During This Time

If you are able to take a break and hide away for a bit then that's totally fine – you don't have to say anything. But you may, like me, feel very called to show up for your community right now. Maybe you'd prefer to hide away but you've just got to keep the money coming in. Maybe business is a welcome distraction from what's going on.

But what do you say?

There is no “right” thing to say. We are being bombarded left, right and centre with what to do, how to act, what to share… but the truth is nobody knows.

My best advice? Tune into your heart. Now, more than ever, speak to your audience as the human beings they are. Feel into what they need, but don't put pressure on yourself to say everything perfectly, or to have the “answer”, because nobody does.

  • Sometimes it's enough to say “this is hard for me too”, if that's what you feel called to share.
  • It's enough to continue sharing funny content if that's what you normally do, because we still need to laugh.
  • It's enough to share the stuff you have for sale, because people still want and need it.
  • It's enough to preface anything you're sharing with a “this feels a bit frivolous but…”.
  • It's enough to acknowledge what's happening and then continue with whatever you already had planned.
  • AND it's enough to do the bare minimum you want and need to do.

There is no right or wrong.

What I Need You To Know…

The last thing I need you to know is that recession was reason I started my first business in 2008. Freshly graduated from university, I just couldn't find a job. So I got creative and found work online. Looking back, I'm so grateful that's what happened for me. I wanted to share because I know things are hugely uncertain, in so many ways, but there are and will be new opportunities as a result of this.

Above all I just want to say stay safe and take care of yourself, whatever that means for you.

 

If you could use some gentle support in figuring out the right thing to do right now, then sign up to my new, free audio series. ‘5 Daily Moments of Clarity' is designed to cut through all of the noise and figure out what you need to do right now. It's not business as usual, but it's important that we all keep going in the way we personally need…

Click here to receive my 5 daily moments of clarity audios & gentle business prompts

Each audio is deliberately very short, for those of you who have less time to work on this stuff. I recommend you take at least 10 minutes out of your day to focus on that day's prompt.

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