Three months have past now since Covid-19 impacted the economy, how are small business owners feeling?
On a monthly basis, we track the thoughts of small business, a random poll through our Business Health Check. This consists of 42 questions ranging from Mindset, Business Skills, Confidence and thoughts on Growth.
There is no doubt, April was a shock for all business owners. The revenue achieved by most reflects the economic conditions and the fear that spread across the majority of business owners. There are a few exceptions, sectors that were in their ‘perfect storm for growth’.
Generally, however, everyone tightened their cash belts and those who ran the discipline of a cashflow made some fairly big decisions about how they could adapt to their clients cashflow and how they could defer or cancel orders they had made.
This ‘new war’ affected morale, mental health and income of so many. However, there are green shoots of innovation and attitudes to running a business that gives me the positivity that we will all be stronger for this period of pain and reflection.
The phrase I love in business is “a clever man knows what he wants, and a wise man knows what he doesn’t want’. The great joy in adversity is that we can stand back and appraise life and business and decide “what is the business I really want to lead’. When we work with clients, we always question the word ‘should’ when they use it, too many of us feel we ‘should do something’ and that should might not be coming from the right place to motivate us. Surely now is the time to look at our ’I would love this life” and compare it with “I should do this”.
While there are processes, formulas and skills in business that we all need, I don’t think there is a cookie-cutter for a ‘Business Owner’. We all have different views on how we want to lead our lives, we also have different the ‘primary skills’ that help us to have a great client base that trusts us. What I have observed during this 3 months of working with my clients and running our Business Community online, is that this period has created a pause for us all to appreciate our lives and those we love and decide on the ways we want to deliver and build our businesses going forward.
Despite the advances in technology over recent years, many have resisted remote working, and many have resisted the online delivery of their business. However, the forced ‘new norm’ has seen an uptake in e-learning with e-learning climbing to $325 Billion by 2025 according to research published by Forbes. The thirst for learning applications such as financial awareness with XERO, to lead generation via Facebook Advertising, MS Teams and Zoom for connecting. There has been a really astounding growth in people’s desires for a strong ‘Personal Brand’ that provides the start of trust in potential clients. Personal Brand Expert, Hannah Power has seen a huge demand for her Webinars, Personal Branding Online Programmes and 1:1 Coaching since the start of Covid-19 and lockdown…
One thing that we all know is that entrepreneurs adapt fast. My clients have astounded me with their desire for learning, our Expert Sessions have been devoured, websites adapted, and new methods of delivery have been implemented. Mary Gregory, ’Leadership Coach and Author of EGO, (to be Published this month), has overcome any resistance to providing her online coaching and has gained nine new Senior Leaders as Clients as a result of ‘Lockdown’. She asked her fellow ‘Mastermind’ Colleague, Sharon Gaskin, owner of The Trainers Training Company for some training and then rose to the challenge of learning the technical skills and confidence to adapt her business online so she could continue to support leaders, especially during their own personal crisis in leadership.
So how much of business success is about mindset? It makes me consider whether people, during adversity, have a growth mindset that moves them forward or a ‘fixed’ one that is definitely holding them back at a time when we all have to change and grow.
I have picked out 9 of the 42 questions we ask Business Owners in our Business Health Check.
I wonder what you would answer? Here is a comparison of 3 months, February (pre Covid-19), April – early Covid-!9 and May (the new norm of Covid-19).
April shows a spike in the results, all showing the shock and impact of Covid-19. However, May’s results shows that people are adapting and finding time for self-care once again and coming back to having a sense of control.
Overwhelm and control are very linked, in February (our ‘control month’), 58% felt overwhelmed, rising to 76% in April. During this period the result show that in February only 55% felt in ‘control’ of their time, dropping to 30% in April and now back to 79% in May.
In both cases, the month of May showed great improvement, with even fewer people feeling overwhelmed than they did before this pandemic and a huge 79% feeling in control of their diary and time.
Other results are also encouraging. A vast number of small business owners have reported that they have ‘loved’ implementing processes and working ‘on’ their business rather than ‘in’ it for these 3 months. This has been a time to get on top of the tasks that so many put off. Having a Cashflow that enables forecasting is a hot button for me with my clients, and it has been amazing to see that the May results shows an increase by 12% of people now stating that they have a Cashflow Process in place.
Confidence is rising back up too, the sense of life being tough is decreasing slowly, and belief that we can achieve the results we need is on the up. All good signs.
This has been a very testing time for small business owners, but one thing remains so clear; business owners truly are the backbone of our nation and it is this sector that will rebuild the economy, through their dedication to survival and their shift into thriving, I think this community will be stronger and wiser as we move into 2021 and all the new things we will see being innovated and implemented.