When the Coronavirus lockdown first hit, I wasn’t worried at all. I’m very confident that my business can survive anything. It’s been doing that for five years now, so I’m not worried. But after a month, I started to realize the effects of the lockdown in the Netherlands. One of my agency clients went bankrupt and that’s when it started to hit my business. Because obviously I lost a client. And although my company is financially stable, no one likes losing a client. But I’m a true entrepreneur and I always bounce back. It may take me some time to figure it out, but I’m now ready to share five steps to create business opportunities during a crisis. Let’s go!
Step 1: Back to your happy place
So yes, I did get nervous, scared and anxious after some time had passed. My mind started racing and I ferociously tried to come up with solutions. But after talking to a few people I trust, I decided I was just going to let it go. Fear never helped me before, so I took a week and a half to just feel it all. I just let it all out! Then my mind started to relax, and I felt less stressed. I slowly started getting new energy and great ideas for new products I can actually sell.
This is when I realized: You need to go back to your happy place. Go back to that feeling when you first started your business and you saw opportunities in everything. Realize that feeling fear is natural and you have to let it out. Good business ideas usually come when you’re relaxed and ready to go, fear makes you do strange things. Allow yourself to relax your brain and body, save your energy for bigger things to come. Your happy place is where you need to be right now, so you can see all the business opportunities, not the downfalls.
Step 2: Make a list
When I finally felt better because I went back to my happy place: ‘I remembered why I started a business in the first place and how happy that makes me.’ I started making a list of things that are already going super well within my company. To my surprise, there are more strong points than bad things. This gives me an enormous confidence boost. Crisis or not, my company is doing pretty good! I like putting the focus on that, because it shows there’s room for growth and prosperity.
Now it’s your turn: Make a list of all the things that are good. Then make a list of things of things you want to improve. Since you have all the time in the world right now, start improving! There are probably many good ideas and products you’ve never worked out because you were too busy. Maybe your business sells a product or service you can easily sell online. This is the time to let that entrepreneurial brain work for you. I did the same and I came up with three new products I can actually sell anytime and anywhere. How cool is that!?
Step 3: Make a plan
Oh yeah baby, it’s time to make a plan. Because there’s nothing worse than coming up with great ideas, only to let them just be ideas. In order to stay profitable during a crisis you have to plan things and make sure you actually do them. For example, my newest product is an online social media subscription for starting business owners. I had on old website I knew I could revamp quite easily to sell that new product on. I knew it would take me about a day or three, maybe four to get it all up and running.
So I made a plan: Day one was for designing the product. Writing out the product name, details and all the things I need to make it work. Day two was all about the website and creating a showcase for this new product. On day three I was basically ready to launch, but I decided to do a last check before I send out the mail. On day four I put my new product out into the world! I really, really love making plans as it makes it easier to actually get shit done. Which is what you need during a crisis. Waiting it out too long might hurt your business, so make that plan!
Step 4: Execute, execute and execute
Real entrepreneurs don’t just think of great ideas, they actually make them come to life. Because, and let’s be honest here: Customers rarely buy a good idea, they buy the finished product. Even if it isn’t perfect yet, customers want to see results. Which means that after going to your happy place, coming up with an idea for a new product and making a plan, you need to execute it! Stay on track by following your own plan, keep meeting those deadlines. There’s nothing worse than sitting on great ideas when it comes to creating business opportunities.
I’ve put several products on the market that weren’t perfect. Why? Because your product is never really perfect as your customers and your business evolves. I can’t tell you how many times I had to upgrade a service or a product to make it work for the current demand. So no, not having a perfect product is not a reason to not execute. You obviously need to have the basics right, but as long as you keep developing the product after launching, you’ll be fine. Just keep executing your plans and keep the moving your business forward.
Step 5: Show up and never give up
Customers often need to see an offer at least three to five times before they buy. They also like seeing your face and you being consistent. For them, it’s all about trust and feeling safe. Therefore, it’s important to keep showing up and never give up. I often see entrepreneurs put a product out and after the first day complain no one bought it. They just give up after one day, because insecurity and fear hits them hard. I understand that, but as mentioned before you need to keep going. New products rarely sell out on day one, so don’t give up yet.
You can also look at it this way: Would you buy a product that came out today from someone you don’t even know? Most likely you won’t unless the price is ridiculously low, and you have nothing to lose. But you probably do and entrepreneurs often invest with higher amounts of money, so you really need to trust the seller. See where I’m going here? Your clients probably think the same way. So put your product out, keep showing up by for example creating content and don’t give up. Everyone likes a winner, the underdog and people who simply don’t give up.
Be one of those people and create business opportunities that actually help your client and you. Let’s make good stuff happen,