2nd November 2020

This message went out yesterday from Entrepreneurs Circle, of which I’m a Certified Coach. I thought I would share it with you as you may find it useful and helpful at this very challenging time…

Control the controllables…There’s a saying in nautical circles that ‘a smooth sea never made a good sailor’.
The gist, of course, is that you only get good when you have challenges to deal with
.And that’s the same in every worthwhile walk of life.
Including yours.
Right now.Yes, what’s happening is completely shit.
Yes, it’s natural to feel anger and frustration.
It’s also easy to think of yourself as a victim.
After all, it’s not your fault the country’s in lockdown again.
But the truth is, especially in business, there’s no such thing as victims.Only volunteers.
Think about that if it feels like you’re staring into the abyss.
Despite all the restrictions that Boris announced yesterday you have a lot more say than you realise about what happens next in your story.
And your story is the only one that matters.
Right now, today, this week, this month, is your time.
It might not feel like it – but it is.
This is your moment to control the controllables. To focus on the things that you can do something about and fight with every sinew of your being not to get dragged into the ‘woe-is-me’ pit of misery and despair that is enveloping the country.
The Shipping Forecast for business owners everywhere is “Violent Storm Force Warnings” which means you’re about to find out how good a sailor of your business you are.
I know it won’t be easy.I know that there’ll be dark times ahead. For all of us.
But you can rise to this challenge. You can find a way through; a way that actually strengthens your business.
Here are some steps you could (should!) take this week:
1. Take the money…Think carefully about furlough. Use it if it’s sensible to do so.
2Get on the front foot with your communication…This is not the time to go quiet on your customers. They need to hear from you. And your messages need to be positive. Don’t fuel the misery train. (And don’t put out the ‘We’re now closed due to Lockdown’ bollocks that everyone else will be doing!)
3. Think creatively…For instance the new rules say that ‘Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.’ Now that’s gonna present challenges but it’s also a great opportunity to galvanise your community behind you, to put out a super-positive message about ‘supporting the little guy’. Control the controllables. You don’t have to miss out on all the lost sales in November – and once you start selling online your catchment area could expand massively.
4. Remember marketing is a NOT a non-essential spend…If you shut down your activity here you’re effectively giving in. The lockdown is going to mean more people browsing online, with more time to look, watch and consume. Ad costs will almost certainly drop again as the stupid businesses vacate the field. Great opportunities for those smart enough to see it. And remember, doing business without marketing is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing, but nobody else does… You’ve got to keep the out-reach going. Control the controllables.[I spoke with a long-standing EC member last Thursday who told me that all his instincts had been to stop his £30k per month Google Ads spend when the first lockdown was announced in March. But he resisted, stuck with it, and he’s going to post his biggest year ever for both sales and profits as a result. Big lesson there…
5. Be in front of your customers as often as possible…Many are going to be stuck at home and consumption (of your messages) will lead to sales.
6. Phone your customers…Radical eh! Seriously, reach out. Reassure them. Help them. Their lives are probably full of just as much uncertainty as yours. Be there for them. Get on the front foot. Proactively nurturing a relationship is one of the most valuable things you can do in business. Show them you care.
7. or send them a Bomb Bomb...Miles better than an email to people that know you. Control the controllables.
8. Skill up…Use this time to do the things that you KNOW you need to do. Get your marketing sorted. Properly. Get your Knowledge Centre sorted. Properly. Fix Google My Business. Properly. Sort LinkedIn. And then use it properly. Get Re-marketing set up. Understand your numbers. Properly. Control the controllables. Look, I’m not pretending that the next few weeks are going to be anything other than hard.

And it’s likely that the pain will continue beyond the end of November. That’s just how it is – and you don’t have any say over that.
But you (still) have way more control over what happens to your business than you realise.
And this stormy sea can be the making of you.
Know that your EC family will be here for you throughout. Use us. Lean on us. There’s so much support here for you. You’re not alone – and together you can – and will – prevail.