“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” – Bob Marley
A silver lining is defined as a sign of hope in an unfortunate or gloomy situation. Well, I imagine that there are millions of small business owners today looking all over for their silver linings. They are also finding out just how strong they really are.
Over the past few months, most of us have traveled through some long and dark valleys. But, along the way, we’ve also noticed some silver linings during the pandemic. I recently asked business owners, via email and on social media, what were some bright moments for them since the crisis started. I’m happy to report that I got some great responses.
Several business owners responded that the pandemic made them realize that they needed to update their personal documents, most notably their wills, and advance directives. I couldn’t agree more with this silver lining. Make it a priority to have your personal documents updated. Talk to an attorney about which documents are applicable to you (e.g. guardianship of minor children, trusts, power of attorney). Many respondents wrote that the pandemic made them realize that they needed to create emergency plans for their companies and their personal lives. They now want to create emergency funds to cover business and personal expenses, identify new revenue streams, update technology, and strengthen their social and digital channels.
There were several silver linings that I wanted to highlight from my conversations. The first came from a business owner in NYC. His silver lining is that he no longer needs expensive office space for his 18 employees. Everyone loves working from home and there is a noticeable increase in productivity. The best part of the story is that his lease expired in January and the landlord was planning to substantially increase his rent. They were in negotiations to move into a smaller space and had a month-to-month lease when the pandemic hit.
Ted Parry runs a digital advertising consultancy for ecommerce brands in England. Since the beginning of COVID-19, Ted has hired a remote project manager to help with client communications, started an e-commerce focused podcast called “Purchase Confirmed,” and connected with his strategic partners, and other business owners regularly via Zoom.
Suzanne Moore and Lindsay Bovaird run a company in Canada called The Pretty Feed. They approach health and skincare from a holistic perspective. “COVID-19 has given us all a unique opportunity to focus on our self-care, slow-down, and come out of this with our best face forward. More than ever, it's important that we prioritize our mental and physical wellbeing by taking steps to boost our immune system and reduce stress.” I love the idea of business owners investing time and resources into their mental and physical wellbeing, and it’s something I’ve been doing more of since March. There must be a balance in life if you want to truly succeed in it.
Lastly, I spoke to Carla Johnson, a keynote speaker, and best-selling author on Marketing & Innovation Strategy based in Colorado. She has taken a methodical approach to making the most of the downtime by getting things done on her wish list. In the past two months, Carla has: finished writing her latest book, launched a series of workshops, developed several topics for keynotes that can be delivered virtually or live, began redesigning her brand, working out more, eating healthier and sleeping more. All of this has led to her feeling less frazzled, more present and having more quality time with her husband and kids.
Those are all impressive silver linings. Hopefully, I’ve got you thinking about looking for your own silver linings in 2020. You still have time.