How have you been? Since my last email, the COVID-19 situation has escalated very quickly and I wanted to write this email to share with you some very practical advice and thoughts I have after observing the situation for a week.
I’ve also received quite a number of questions from you guys about what I’m doing in my business during this period of time. I know many of you have similar questions!
As it is a little hard to summarize what I am doing or my thoughts to every one of you, I decided to send an email to my entire list because I think everyone can benefit.
Today I’ll share with you my stance and 5 practical things you should do and NOT do in your business. Buckle up!
My Official COVID-19 Stance and Response:
#1 Don’t waste time shaming or judging people
We have a fair amount of people going around shaming people for being opportunistic during this time of crisis. My advice is, it is very energy-consuming to figure out if someone is “right” or “wrong” to leverage COVID-19 to sell their stuff.
While person A may feel that using COVID-19 to sell their products is alright because their products really CAN help someone in such a time, person B may feel that it is opportunistic and taps on fear. Are we really going to play “judge” and decide who is right and who is wrong?
Besides, you never know if that person’s business really needs that extra boost to feed their family or pay their rent. I’m not saying these people are right but aren’t we are all panicking and making changes to our lifestyles? Let us extend some grace to everyone. Why don’t we focus on taking care of your own family and business first rather than waste time pointing at other people?
#2 Keep selling… as usual, if not more
The next thing I want to address is the perspective that it is “bad” for you to keep selling.
Whoever goes around scolding a business for selling doesn’t know anything about how the economy works. Is that even an option? Of course, we have to keep selling! The entire economy centers around businesses (i.e. BUYING and SELLING stuff). If we all stop, the economy collapses.
We are all intelligent humans, we buy things when we want them and we don’t buy things when we don’t want them. I am sure that as adults, we are all still capable of making purchasing decisions.
I don’t know about you but as a consumer, if the things I love are no longer for sale, I don’t benefit in any way whatsoever. Imagine needing a new chair and realizing that they are not selling chairs anymore because they are scared that I will buy out of fear! Now I don’t have a chair to sit on and I lose out as a result.
Let us return the power to consumers and let them decide if they still need our things. Our job is to still make things available for sale for people that need them.
When does it cross the line to being opportunistic? My advice is don’t use COVID-19 as a hook to get people to buy. I’m sure there are plenty of other marketing messages you can use. Aside from that, there should be no significant difference whatsoever to the frequency and intensity of you selling.
#3 Is there REALLY a real problem?
Before you start panicking and saying that your business for the year is ruined, maybe you should ascertain if you REALLY do have a problem. This is especially so if you’re an online business and your shop is technically still “open”.
Do you REALLY have a problem? Is your business REALLY affected? If there is no evidence yet, then maybe you should not panic prematurely or it may just become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If there is a problem, how BIG is the problem? Are you blowing the problem out of proportion as compared to what it actually is?
In fact, for certain niches, there probably is a ton of opportunity now for you such as homeschooling, anything health-related, cleaning supplies, coaching, etc. You may even see business improve.
#4 Accept reality and start planning
Well, if you don’t have a problem, that’s great. If you do have a problem, once you’re all settled in, you will have to create some contingency plans and start moving forward.
What can you do to IMPROVE business during the next month despite the COVID-19?
This could be your downtime to improve your products and services, or adjust your expectations. Do you have low-ticket products that could be more affordable in this time of recession?
Are there any opportunities that are now available to you that weren’t before? For instance, are ads cheaper now because everyone is lowering their ad budget? Are all your potential customers at home now, scrolling and wondering what to do? Could you do a virtual live event so that people can find some like-minded friends online and be encouraged by you?
The thing NOT to do is to panic and then close up and not run your business. That isn’t helpful to your business or life, nor is it helpful to the people that need your services or products.
#5 It is okay to take a break if you really can’t manage your emotions
If you find yourself being really overwhelmed and still panicking, cut yourself some slack.
It’s okay to take breaks, especially when things change in your life.
However, if someone else chooses NOT to take a break, it is important to understand and not throw rocks at the person as well. We all function and deal with things differently and cannot expect everyone else to live as we do.
I know many of us are really stressed, it is alright to take a week or two off your business. It may actually be a good time to take a break (at home of course) since sales will be low in certain niches. Turn the problem into an opportunity to rest!
Then, come back stronger.
That’s all for now!
In a nutshell, it’s business as usual… just be careful not to leverage COVID-19 to sell your stuff.
Instead, adopt the stance: “It’s still business as usual for me because I still want to serve despite what’s happening now for the people that need me.”
Meanwhile, take care of your health!
Founder and CEO, Southside Women’s Network