Launching In The Midst Of A Crisis: 5 Lessons To Live By Sally McDonald

COVID-19 has changed the business landscape irrevocably. While some industries have fared better than others, millions have been made redundant and that means a great many talented people are now pondering their next move. In the same breath, the pandemic has provided a valuable perspective – perhaps even a catalyst – for people to make meaningful career changes. 

As the pandemic passes, many of those who find themselves out of work will be prompted to set up their own business. It’s one of the few positives to come out of this crisis – and it’s likely to build greater autonomy and purpose into people’s working lives. 

Of course, launching a new business in the current climate is no mean feat. Here are 5 lessons to live by when launching a business in the midst of a crisis by Sally McDonald, the founder of Onboard PR, a specialist PR firm for aspiring HR tech companies. 

Keep calm and carry on connecting

If you’re about to set up a new business – or plan to do so in the coming months – you’ll need to build up your resilience reserves. Setting up a business in normal times is tough so doing so in a recession is sure to throw you it’s a fair share of curveballs. Be prepared for this, control what you can, and keep pushing forward. This means reaching out to new business prospects (even if it doesn’t feel like the right time), making yourself known within your industry, and engaging with fellow founders and industry influencers.

Customers come first

No business will survive without customers – and in the current environment, you’ll need to work extra hard to win and retain their business. In the B2B arena, where the customer-supplier relationship has a very direct impact on revenue retention, it’s essential to show your appreciation by rewarding customer loyalty with excellent service and stand out results. Make this your number one priority.  It will set you in good stead for winning more new business and it will generate positive word of mouth – the marketing jackpot.

Boost your support network

Embarking on a new business, particularly if it’s your first entrepreneurial journey, can be a lonely experience. This will be especially true if you’re a one-woman band or have a remote workforce. Because of this, it’s even more important to stay connected with colleagues and industry contacts. Attend as many events as you can (there are some great ones designed specifically for women in business), champion people in your network, and offer reciprocal help and support.

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can also be extremely valuable in terms of nurturing professional relationships. Whether it’s joining a relevant group, reaching out to former colleagues, or connecting with fellow business owners, make sure you start building your support network from day one. Collaboration beats the competition every time.

Don’t listen to your inner critic

Inevitably, starting a new business comes with it a certain degree of change and uncertainty. This creates the perfect scenario for imposter syndrome – and first-time business owners are particularly susceptible. Add to this a global pandemic and it’s easy to see why anxiety levels can rise to problematic heights.

The thing to remember here is that you’re not alone. As many as 70% of people struggle with imposter syndrome at some stage in their career. The ironic part? Those included in this statistic are often the highest performing amongst us. They tend to be perfectionists and while that can be beneficial to an extent, it’s essential to consciously manage this so that it doesn’t impede performance output.

Adopt a growth mindset 

Most people who set up their own business are self-starters and, by their very nature, possess a growth mindset. It’s a concept developed by psychologist Dr Carol Dweck, and it’s a key determining factor in whether people grow and improve in their abilities. Crucially, adopting a growth mindset means failure is viewed as an opportunity to learn, rather than a permanent stain on performance – and because of this, it’s especially important when launching a business in difficult economic times. Those with a growth mindset are also more likely to embrace challenging tasks and seek out L&D opportunities in order to close knowledge gaps. The end result? Increased competitive advantage, better customer experiences, and improved business outcomes.

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