10 things you must do this winter as a small business owner
It’s always a bit of a roller coaster. And the highs and lows of business and indeed personal plot twists along the way, are simply part of the ride.
But you CAN get through them with the right mindset and by up-leveling how you show up in your business.
I’ve ridden through the last big recession – where I just about lost everything when my London bootcamps business nearly went under at the back of it in 2010. It didn’t though. I kept it going AND set up a new one on the side!
I’ve been a single parent for the last 13 years, have been through a horrific divorce, had my daughter by myself in 2016 who she has a lot of additional needs (she’s autistic with sensory processing disorder) and I have my kids 100% of the time . So behind the scenes, life has been a little crazy to say the least! But I’m still here with a strong business, dedicated passion and loving it.
I also pivoted my business in the first lockdown and had one of my most successful years of business in 2020.
So with the news the way it is at the moment; doom and gloom, inflation, rising costs, a recession. A lot of small business owners (many stressed and stretched from the pandemic and juggling modern life), might be thinking OMG, HOW, WHY, NOT AGAIN, I CAN’T DO THIS!
But I’m treating this up and coming period of uncertainty with calm, inner strength and a can-do attitude. A strong business owner looks at challenges dead in the eye and gives them a wink, right?!
So here are 10 essential things I’d recommend small business owners do as we head into this autumn and winter. So that you can shine bright, serve your customers AND create a super successful small business – whilst being calm and relaxed!
- Don’t panic! When you panic, you think quickly, act quickly, your thoughts get out of control, you can feel anxious, you kick off your fight and flight, your ability to respond to things objectively shuts down and all the what ifs take over your inner dialogue. Everything will feel heavy and stressful. You’ll talk about all your problems and potential nightmares to everyone. You will go over and over things on your head and this panic will build and build and make things worse. Instead, keep calm! Breathe. Take your business and any potential issues seriously, but also with an empowering mindset. Even if your business is going to be affected and maybe you will need to make some changes, panic and stress and worry does not help ANYTHING or ANYONE. Park the panic, make yourself mentally strong and focus on the facts.
- Don’t make up stuff in your head & let out of control thoughts take over! My big tip is to keep pushing back on yourself as to ‘what is fact and what is fiction?’. I remember back in April 2020, I was telling myself “no one will buy from me right now”. If that’s what I’m telling myself and that’s the energy I have about showing up in my business then that will become the narrative, so I squashed it. I went on to have a truly great year of business. I did a 121 with someone last week who was literally convincing herself that her business would go under this winter. The stuff she was telling herself and incorrectly predicting was completely shutting her down. Our brains can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary, so she was feeling AND acting like her business was sinking. It wasn’t. Her thoughts were sinking. Her business has huge potential this winter – she just needs to up-level, simplify a few things, get right behind herself, avoid feeding the fears and get a flexible plan – that includes mindset as much as doing!
- Get clear on who you are, what you do & how you provide value to people! This is SO important. Business owners forget that there are always clients and customers that need or want their product or service. If you have any kind of confusion of who you are and what you do, that can 1) impact the confidence you have in your business which could mean you either lay low (which you definitely don’t want to do right now!) and/or 2) confuse customers – you’ll be making more problems for yoursefl. I’ve done a lot of what I call business base work this summer as I realised some of my messaging needed to be clearer. I needed to connect more with my ideal client, how I help them and the journey I want them to go on with me. Before you plan anything you’re doing this winter, you need to do this base work as it really is the foundation for SO much. Getting clear on the value you provide is SO important – this can be help, support, solutions, freedom, peace of mind and things like joy! My free Business Basecamp masterclass will explain more on how to do this – see below.
- Get super dedicated & positively obsessed about your product or service! If you are not fired up about your service and offering then it will show. Small business owners are often so busy comparing themselves and criticising themselves, that they have this lacklustre energy about what they do, sell or provide. This winter more than ever it’s the CUSTOMERS that matter. So get connected to what you do, why people need it and sing it from the roof tops with a sense of pride. If you aren’t singing your product and service from the roof top, what are the reasons? Is it you that is the block (as in your mindset)? Is it because you need to slightly upgrade your service / website / offering / marketing etc. to become more confident and proud to bring people in? If you’re not fired up about your offering, what makes you think clients and customers will be? Negative energy and low vibes I believe translate everywhere. If you’re feeling wobbly, it’s likely they will too!
- Get a proper plan but remember you might need to adapt it! Planning is crucial in a business; partly to keep you out of urgent mode so you don’t miss out on opportunities by being a last minute-dot-commer. And also so you can align your marketing plan. I would say right now you want to get a strong, but flexible plan. The “keep calm and carry on” concept can be useful in times like these BUT carrying on with stuff that isn’t working or doing things just because they were on your plan, when actually your clients might not need or want that right now is insanity. I know many business owners that have switched things up recently, to address what they think their clients are more likely to want, need and buy right now. Being flexible, looking out for different opportunities or ways of doing things and living through this autumn and winter with the growth mindset is crucial. You may need to adjust your messaging, you may need to adjust your pricing, but this can all be done with flexibility and the happily doing mindset!
- Get yourself in a good place! If you are not in a good place mentally and indeed physically this might impact how you see yourself and your business, your energy and productivity, your focus and motivation. I’m not saying you all need to be super happy clappy positive and mighty fit! But looking after your mental and physical wellbeing will help you SO much. Morning and evening routines, sleep, nutrition, exercise / activity, enough ME time, enough FUN! Your yes/no choices and boundaries, taking in the right information, a little daily mindset / confidence boosting practice all adds up. How do you want to show up? What sort of entrepreneur do you want to be? Business is affected SO much my mental and physical health challenges. I always put a LOT of focus on ME and what I need to be able to be the best small business owner and coach.
- Shine bright, be bold and sell authentically! Small businesses that do well (and especially those that do well in difficult / challenging times) don’t walk around like a black cab with the lights off. They shine bright so people know they are there! They are also bold. This means that they get that clarity I mentioned above, they put themselves and their fears to one side and they find the courage to take bold steps; whether that’s finding the courage to change tactics, pushing themselves to be more visible, doing things that are out of their comfort zones or things they don’t like. And oh my goodness, to sell from the heart. Authentic selling is where you are truly connected to your product and service, you are completely passionate about your clients and customers and you know that what you do is of value to them. When this all comes together, you don’t see selling as selling, you see it as serving your customers and this changes everything! I love bringing women who need me into my programs and there is no block to asking them to pay for the value they get as a result.
- Organise your time and money! This is quite possibly the most important thing you can do in your business, especially right now. You have to be on your money management AND time block like a little ninja! Be familiar with all your costs and your base income needs to cover those. You might want to think of setting a target to cover these – and even your ideal income (more than your base income; what you’d really love to earn). You can absolutely reach for the stars right now. You could either create a financial target if that helps motivate you and / or you can break down the units you would need to sell to make that happen, or people you can help. If you’re in more of a project or planning stage of your business, then think of your non-negotiable accomplishments over the next 6 months. The momentum you’d like to get going. Time blocking has been my time management game changer and a weekly money management session for my personal and business finances is one of my weekly non-negotiables. Make sure you’re looking at all your offerings too with the “dollar V effort” graph, so you are doing more things that take less time and bring in more revenue. Many businesses waste a lot of time on things that bring in the least money with the highest effort and stress. You must switch that around if you want to have a successful and enjoyable business and specifically to get through the next 6 months.
- Know any potential roadblocks & own them! Instead of shying away from roadblocks (or making them bigger with the stories you create / build), simply own them. I have some great plans for my business this autumn and winter, but I also have a few roadblocks. From my 6 yo daughter with additional needs that takes a LOT of my time and energy, not having enough childcare in place, not having my own office (did you know my current back drop is in the corner of my lounge?!)… But I’m not letting them dominate my thoughts. I’m just getting on with it. I create as many solutions for any problems I have. I create as much time and energy as I can without complaining and creating stories. I compartmentalise extremely well. And I do as much as I can as well as I can and let the rest go. If it helps, list any roadblocks and list next to them solutions there might be, the mindset that will help you deal with them if there aren’t obvious solutions and maybe get support….
- Remember everyone has different maps of the world when it comes to money! Small business owners forget that not everyone is in the same financial position as themselves. Which is crucial with pricing and business confidence. You need to also remember that everyone has different spending preferences in times of a downturn. What some people will give up, for others it will be a non-negotiable to keep. Some people might give up their daily latte habit (£100-£200 a month), but not their gym membership. Others might stop eating out and choose to travel, others might cut back on holidays but a weekly meal out is what they love and want to look forward to. You may need to adjust your offering and pricing slighty but do not fall prey to the discount everything / scarcity mindset. It’s all about that value and what people need! I have a couple of fab new 121 clients that I’ve taken on this month. One has over £150k of savings and the other is one is on low income with benefits and has taken out a loan to work with me because she is determined to turn her life around. Both are careful with money, but both are investing in themselves. It’s a great example of money mindset and why a lot of people DO invest and/or treat themselves with the things they really love or need. Don’t forget this!
If you need help to keep calm and make some great things happen in your business this winter, especially if you struggle with motivation, compartmentalising, mindset, fear, imposter syndrome, not having enough time BUT you really want to push through this, check out my BEST:Business BOOSTER program, starting 3rd October.
Any questions, please let me know,