With the current state of the world, small businesses are being asked to find new ways of operating and facing many challenges in unknown territory. Starting a new business is hard, but how you react to the challenges -- especially the big ones -- is what will define your leadership and ability to be resilient in business. These challenges for small business owners should remind them to be grateful, to slow down and to remember why they began this entrepreneurial journey in the first place, and they can also be opportunities to thrive.
At Flagship Bank it is no secret that we believe small businesses are the backbone of our communities. We stand by our promise to be there for you during this crisis and after. We are sharing a few tips on things you can do during challenging times like these to continue to thrive and come out of this better than ever.
Ask for help.
Asking for help as a small business owner or entrepreneur can sometimes make you feel vulnerable. However, it’s amazing what neighbors, friends and strangers on social media will do when you simply and genuinely ask for help.
Whenever you’re experiencing change in your business, not just during hard times, but during any sort of change that leaves you with questions, go to the people around you and ask for advice. Reach out to your trusted mentors and advisors to ask legal and financial questions. Post on social media to encourage connections to return to your storefront or online store. You may be surprised by the support you receive when you ask.
At Flagship Bank We continue to use our social media to promote small businesses across the Metro by tagging them in our Instagram stories and featuring them on our posts. This is our way to help keep their businesses out there even if their doors are temporarily closed to customers.
Provide extra support and encouragement to your staff.
As a business owner, you may feel like you’re the one who is most affected by unforeseen challenges. But remember, your employees run your company. During challenging times, remind them of the vision and the values of your company and why they chose to be there. Constant communication is key. Remind them you are all in this together and be sure to celebrate all of the successes no matter how small.
When morale is low, it’s imperative that you take leadership action, encourage the spirits of others and inspire them to act. These are times when lending an ear, applauding positive behavior and affirming those around you is most impactful both personally and professionally for the individuals you work with.
Brainstorm positive and strategic ideas.
In the midst of hardship, it can be difficult for many people to see the positives. The easier path is a spiral of negativity. But business challenges, especially ones relating to a crisis, present a great opportunity to carry out a brainstorming session with your team. After all, when was the last time you did that?
There are so many examples of businesses using this time to give back and thank all of our front line workers. Businesses are coming up with creative ways to both bring in needed revenue and pay it forward to the essential workers and heroes of this crisis.
Set time aside with your team to write down how to turn a bad situation into a good business opportunity and help others in need. What products or services does your team have to offer that are different from the norm? A brainstorming exercise is not only great for team-building and morale, but may also result in some outside-the-box ideas for your business to thrive.
Christy Macho, Owner Bushel and a Peck in Rosemount, offering curbside pickup
Remember, it's never too late to prepare.
If you’ve been affected in any way by a crisis, don’t be of the mindset that it’s too late to do something about it. Not only are there loan options available for small businesses during and after a crisis, but there will continue to be help from both public and private sources for small businesses in economic recovery.
In addition, it’s important to take note of all the measures you wish you had taken before the crisis and plan ahead for next time. Write down what you wish you had done differently, the resources you wish you had had access to and how you would have better prepared your employees. Use this to develop new crisis protocols and create preventive action items for the future.
Engage and connect with your community.
In an email to its customers, Seth Goldman, the CEO of online florist Urbanstems, acknowledged the hardships the company is facing. But, he also detailed how the company is connecting to the community. After delivering more than 100 free bouquets across New York, it started a weekly, nationwide "Stay Connected with Stems" program. Customers are encouraged to nominate heroes to receive a delivery of flowers. With this campaign, Urbanstems is inviting its customers to partner in its efforts to help the community. This leaves a lasting impression on customers -- and creates new ones.
In times of crisis, think about how your business is uniquely suited to give back to the community. Reach out to your customers and ask them to join you by giving them tangible, simple ways to take action. Not only will your business make positive change, you'll empower your customers to do the same.
Remember Minnesota, we are all in this together.