LIVING BEYOND EXPECTATIONS
From the Desk of Sarah Nadler Troutdale, Oregon
Today, after six weeks of quarantine and social distancing...along with an economic dip that is turning into a real recession, I think it's time for us to talk.
When I was 26 I was thrown into a leadership position with very little experience. Trial by fire has always been a forge for me - a place where I can step to the plate and hone myself into a sword that cuts through BS and makes my dreams happen.
In times like these - you as a business owner or entrepreneur are going to feel that heat, too.
Right now, you're sitting on the brink of your own forge - and it is up to YOU whether that trial by fire will burn you up...or weld you into a stronger, mightier you who conquers your fears, rides out to meet the upcoming battle head-on, and emerges the victor in your own game of life.
For those who are new to the blog, Sarah Nadler is a Life Coach & inspirational speaker with twelve years of experience helping clients reach relationship, career and Big Hairy Audacious life goals. Her work has been featured on Enterprise Podcast Network, The Sierra Leone Times, and her latest book Walking Past Expectations was rated #6 on Lifney's list of Best Books to Read On The Beach This Summer 2019.
The first step any executive, whether the owner of your own business or not, should take in times of crisis is to name exactly what you need. This means taking a step back, and setting a make/break point financially.
It also means - decide what your priorities are. At the beginning of COVID, I saw the opportunity to make the switch to a completely remote business. Although I've always loved public speaking, and live one-on-one team-building sessions inside a business, I knew my priority had to be the safety of my clients and my family.
So the next step was to lay out what my day-to-day would look like, what my overhead would look like, and what our team meetings would look like if we went 100% remote.
This even went as far as setting exact revenue targets, and breaking that down further into the smaller targets that would add up to that revenue.
Visualizing exactly what outcome you hope for is the first step toward making it actually happen.
Next, you have to look at the mindset of your team, yourself and your customers.
But it starts with yourself. If you can't manage to feel a fire of commitment to seeing this crisis through, there is little chance of you inspiring customers to want your services, or motivating your team to produce it.
Look internally. What is the purpose of my business, or activity? If that seems like a worthwhile purpose to you, you will find the motivation to keep going. If not, speak to a certified coach or consultant about reasons why you may not be feeling inspired:
All the same reasons why you may not feel motivated to persist in growing your business or pursuing your goal through a crisis will also affect your team. Even more so, because they lack the level of necessity you have.
Inspiring a team to commit their all really starts at the very beginning of employment, or even prior to it in the hiring process. If your team were wishy-washy, noncommittal or unmotivated before COVID, it's likely you'll have a hard time changing that now. But if I were given this challenge, here is what I would do:
Taking my written out plan from Step One, I would hold a staff meeting, either in person or over Zoom. Make sure ALL of your team members are there.
First, start by addressing the elephant in the room. The current crisis is likely on everyone's mind anyway, and the sooner you acknowledge that, and reassure your team that your role as leader has not been dropped, the more likely they are to snap out of shock or any other attitude of low-morale.
There is a trick to public speaking - you 'read' the room. Use observation, questions and your familiarity with the people involved to assess whether they are listening, attentive, overwhelmed, fearful, trusting, distrusting, hopeless, encouraged, etc. The more you can correct read their emotional state, and respond appropriately with your message - the more you will achieve.
The end result of your staff meeting should be a) the team feels reassured that YOU have a direction and are still steering this ship, b) they are on the same page about the priorities the company is focusing on right now, and c) they feel a sense of hope and dedication to their own duties to accomplish it.
Just as employees (and we as owners) get distracted, shell-shocked and fearful in times of crisis, so too are your customers feeling as though the bottom fell out of the world.
As a small business owner, or anyone in a leadership role, you are looked to by others for direction and guidance. This not only applies to your team, but also surprisingly to customers and even people outside your normal sphere of influence.
You would be amazed to know how much a little positive control and direction can help strangers who come into contact with you. Encouragement, clear instruction, and keeping your ears and eyes open for their needs and problems is the best way to serve your audience in a crisis.
This extends to ensuring you are sending a comprehensible and unmuddled message to your customers.
As I write this during the coronavirus season in the summer of 2020, the most common mistake I am seeing small business owners make is failing to mention COVID at all. Their website is not updated, their social media pages make no mention of whether they are open or not. Even businesses that are essential workers are not giving clear-cut direction to customers on what to do if they have an emergency or need services!
It takes a special skill to look at your ads, your website, voicemail and social media accounts from the eyes of a potential customer. Learn this one - it has the ability to make you tens of thousands of dollars.
Are you ready to put some 'lifestyle' back in your business? I help business owners find work/life balance, so you can remember your kids' names, rediscover passion with your partner, and start running a business that energizes your dreams...not detracts from them.
A PASSION FOR ABLE PEOPLE
I'm Sarah Nadler and I help small business owners take back control of their lives, so you can put 'lifestyle' back in your business.