Let’s be honest: things are changing rapidly, the world is chaotic right now, and struggling entrepreneurs are scrambling to maintain any sense of control during these tough times. I know, because I feel it, too. But with so much up in the air, there’s still a lot of optimism to hold on to. Folks may be divided these days, but what we all have in common is the goal to keep striving for success.
Here are my top 10 tips for keeping yourself focused on your goals while the ground is shifting beneath you. No matter what, you can absolutely do this.
1. Just keep going
This is what I tell myself every day. When things are uncertain, and in the face of great change, your brain wants to tell you to pause. And believe me, a little bit of pause is a good thing. But there’s so much to be said for pushing through difficulties and finding what’s on the other side.
When it comes to my business, I’m not going to allow a handful—or a bucketful—of unknowns to stop me. What’s the most important thing to help you plow through? A solid routine. Surely you had a normal work routine that you were accustomed to when you were in the office, or perhaps you were already an entrepreneur working from home. No matter what, you had some kind of a routine. Try as best as you can to resume a regular work routine—it’s the structure that holds your work life together, and it’s the key to your success.
2. Learn how to “read the room”
This has become one of my favorite sayings during this shifting political and economic climate. No matter what your opinions or views on current events, take a moment to look outside of yourself and realize that we’re all in the same boat. We all want to be healthy, safe, and successful. We want our businesses to thrive.
When serious doubt and dread comes knocking at your door, realize that we as entrepreneurs and human beings are all in this together. There’s a LOT going on in the world right now, and trying to see the big picture will not only help you mentally, it will help your business.
How is your brand responding to the changes that we’re seeing, and is it sympathetic to many different viewpoints and experiences? Keep yourself informed and be conscious of what your brand is saying in this new normal.
3. Finally focus on your to-do list
Whether you’re still stuck at home or not, it’s important to take a look at this rare moment in history and try to find some positives. If business has slowed down lately, one positive could be more time to get things done. Everyone running their own business has an enormous to-do list, and now’s the time to tackle it, both in your personal and professional life.
Mobilize yourself for the future instead of sitting around, lost in doubt and worry. One thing that really helps me tackle my to-do list is to schedule each item so I don’t feel like I have to do everything at once. If there are important things to accomplish in your business, figure out the realistic amount of time it will take to do each, and mark due dates in your calendar. If you can outsource any of your tasks to someone on your team, all the better.
4. Build team morale to help weather tough times
It’s more important than ever to get your team excited about the future. Whether you’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time or are just starting out, you know how important good employee morale is to your company’s success. But these days some businesses are finding it slipping through the cracks.
Since you’re the leader of your team, this starts with you setting a good example. Try not to be in your pajamas on your Zoom calls. Set up your home office so it’s a place that looks professional, uplifting, and speaks to your brand’s vibe.
Stay positive. Avoid sharing negative news you may have read online, and choose your words carefully when talking to your employees. Focus on what you all, as a team, can control. Encourage others to share fresh, new ideas they may have to grow the business.
5. Rethink how you promote yourself—but don’t stop doing it
Just because the world seems to be on the edge of its seat, waiting to see what change is coming, don’t stop promoting your business or yourself. It’s normal for businesses to stop promoting during tough times and periods of uncertainty, but going dark means you will have to do a lot of legwork once things pick up again.
If you were spending a lot of money before on marketing and PR, see if you can get creative and approach it from a different angle. Keep your brand in front of customers and strengthen your online presence by sharing how your company is giving back right now when so many people are struggling.
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This comes back to reading the room. Be very conscious and deliberate about how you’re promoting yourself during difficult times. If your brand is still promoting, responsive, and in the now, you’ll hold the attention of the marketplace.
6. Rethink how your business should operate
This is also the perfect time to assess what has been working for your business and what hasn’t been. Many things we used to do before quarantine have been proven to be unnecessary; for example, going into the office. These strange times have taught us that a lot of the processes that we relied upon before are no longer necessary. Ask yourself what other things you do for your business that no longer make sense to continue. Is there a better way to do things going forward?
Use this an opportunity to engage your team. Brainstorm new ideas together on how the business could be run more efficiently.
7. Bring people together
I’m not just talking about your team. No matter what your views are, you can see that we are a seriously divided country. Today’s hot-button issue and conflicting viewpoints spark many emotions and that’s okay. With feelings running high and so many things pulling us apart, how can your brand bring people together?
Inclusivity is such a vital topic right now, and for your brand to succeed, consider how it’s open to everyone. Is your brand fun, flirty, uplifting, useful, or innovative? Highlight these great qualities and make sure that they appeal to the many instead of the few. Keep your messaging as inclusive as possible to drive more business.
8. Learn how to manage your stress
I’m just as guilty as everyone else of being glued to social media, clocking all the changes that are happening, and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. I can tell you this does nothing positive for my stress levels. There are so many rumors flying around and so much disinformation out there that it can be detrimental to your focus and mental health.
As a hard-working entrepreneur, it’s important to keep your stress levels down. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to a friend on the phone, go for a walk, or play with your kids or your pets. Try to do something that brings you pleasure every day. It will provide a needed boost for your personal and professional well-being. Getting regular exercise is also important, even if it’s just a few minutes a day.
9. Connect with your peers and share advice
Take the time to study other entrepreneurs, whether they are your competitors or simply your peers. What are they doing these days that seems to be working for them? What are they doing that doesn’t seem to be working? Most people are facing the same challenges you are, and we all have a lot to learn from one another.
Since we can’t gather around the office water cooler, find a water cooler online. Consider pursuing new business partnerships. Perhaps you once had a mentor who encouraged you to become an entrepreneur in the first place. Reach out to that person and ask for some advice.
10. Decide what impact you want to have on the world
I’ve saved the best advice for last. In this period of worry and uncertainty, ask yourself, How is my business and brand adding good vibes to the world?
Everyone is looking for reassurance and hope right now. Your brand has the power to contribute to that need—if even just a little. Do some brainstorming on how your brand might be improving people’s lives right now. Brainstorm other ways your company could make a difference. You won’t believe how much this good energy will pay off!
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