ASK ALAN: What Can Help Your Business During Disruption & Beyond?
Business Advice for Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners
Is outside-the-box thinking enough?
Virtually all business owners have faced disruption during this crisis. I have been giving a lot of thought to changing how I look at situations and how it can help my business and yours.
I wrote about this topic in my column published last August titled, The Importance of Outside the Box Thinking. And, while the topic is still relevant, I believe we need to do more than this. We need to change our perspective to help ourselves and our businesses!
What the experts suggest we change
Listen to understand
Business Psychologist Tim Hoiseth believes that “productivity almost always suffers in times of great change, because our stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. In these times, communication becomes more important than ever.” Tim suggests that the biggest problem is that we listen to reply rather than to understand.
In my listening skills course, I teach how to overcome this difficult problem. After all, our brains are multitasking, so it requires a mindful effort. Changing enables you to hear things you never heard before. You are also showing respect for the person who is talking with you. And that, makes them feel important! Think about what a difference this could make with your customers and employees.
Perform acts of generosity
Simon Sineck of the Civic & Social Organization believes, “the most impactful thing we can do for ourselves and others is to perform acts of generosity.” We can guess what it does for others. Sineck goes on to point out that, “acts of generosity, without any expectation of payback, releases oxytocin. This is the chemical in our bodies that make us feel good.”
Make a phone call
Call every current and former customer/client/patient, you can. Also, call employees and suppliers. Ask them how they and their family are doing. Do not use this as a sales call. Do not text or email this. Talking with them, hearing their voice and them hearing yours, is key. You may also call people you have not spoken within a long time. The value of having people know you care enough to call is remarkable. To both you and the person you call!
Some additional changes to make
Recent disruptions have caused a dramatic shift in buyer behaviors. What are your surging or falling product categories?
Rise above the “noise”
Differentiation from your competitors is vital if you want your business to be noticed.
Secure and maintain customer loyalty
Pay attention to the new technologies or product innovations among startups in eCommerce, competition, and the agencies that work with them.
Consider the agenda behind posts on social media BEFORE you comment. You don’t want to give an impression that you will be sorry for later.
Demonstrate positive behaviors
Character and responsibility are positive behaviors. Being fearful is negative.
Remember that life is a journey, not a destination!