Pivoting to Stay Afloat

Romance is the love affair with the happy outcome. How it can blind the small business owner! During the uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic, my colleagues who own small businesses have been forced to wipe the stardust from their eyes.

How do you make up for the absent business lunch rush, or the missing tourists rife with cash– or even the preoccupied parents who had free time to shop during the school day? What can business owners do to stay afloat when services can’t be accessed? How can you pivot to become innovative?

As an entrepreneur, I have my ear to the ground, and I’m hearing some strategies that are working for small business owners in my circle during COVID:

Downsize. Noooo!… but, maybe? It’s flipping painful to close a location of your business that can’t keep up. But cutting labor costs, overhead and insurance, utilities and associated costs with a location that’s become ghosted can help the overall health of a business. Better to be sleek and mobile than bloated and sunk.

Focus on alternatives. A friend who owns a liquor store in a ski town has found that manning a take-out window has allowed him to lower staff costs and maintain social distancing. He’s wondering if he’ll ever go back to the way things were.

Assess what’s working. A restauranteur upped her pre-packaged take-out inventory, adding new cold shelves so customers could take home more prepared foods– because that’s what’s working during COVID. That new innovation is creating a new revenue stream. It’s also targeted a new clientele, and it’s a keeper. Strengthen what’s working, and then communicate to your clientele what’s new.

If you have time to lean… you have time to clean. Anyone who’s worked in the restaurant industry has heard this. Now is the time to do the deep dive. Get rid of stuff that’s not serving your business (the old files that can be shredded or archived– both physical and digital: inventory can be donated to needy causes). Spruce up the office or the warehouse. Get to know what you have got and release what isn’t working, so you can be prepared for whatever is coming.

Tackle your business plan. If you haven’t written a business plan– now is the time! What better way to assess the past and envision your future.

Re-imagine your image and brand. This is a Joly Herman Creative specialty. Contact me for a strategic message package. Let’s deep dive into what works, and ask questions about what might need to be cast off. I’d love to hear what you’re up to!

Why We LOVE Small Businesses

The American dream looks like this.

Two women– whose backgrounds intersect enough to begin a conversation– share a dream. They both have expertise in a field: one is an RN and yogi with extensive knowledge of the body, and the other is a licensed therapist whose specialty is the mind and spirit. They realize that their idea of movement therapy goes beyond what is found in the community. So they develop a completely new methodology of movement “work-out” that brings consciousness, exuberance, aliveness, and healing into their classes.

I had a fantastic time working with Wendy Zoog and Julia Harkleroad, founders of KALOS Experience. They came to Joly Herman Creative bubbling with ideas, and I was able to be a pragmatic sounding board, consulting about marketing plans, business plans, and their ultimate goals. They left deeply engaged in conversation about how to apply these tools to grow their business. And they are growing. Check out how their community is thriving now, and how you can get involved in a movement.

In my mind, it’s the risk takers, visionaries, and innovators that make the U.S.A. the best place to be an entrepreneur. Contact me today to put your dream into motion.

The Great Refresh

I’ve come to crave the siren song of the deadline. My adrenaline starts pumping, my thoughts race, I feel like a machine that is focused, churning, and fully alive. When the work gets done and I’ve checked it, I’ll step back. Sometimes I’ll finish a day ahead of a deadline so that I can wake up with a fresh perspective. A hot cup of black tea in hand, the door shut to the world, I put on my editor’s cap and take another look.

When the process is all over and the deadline has been met, I’ll re-visit what’s gone out over time, but I think it’s important not to obsess. In fact, I think it’s important to step back completely from a project and look at something else. Or look at nothing at all.

I like to purposely refresh my creative mind. Whether I take a walk and really look at the trees, hear the crickets and birds, or take a weekend road trip where I can listen to someone else’s story, try new foods, and watch the skies change throughout the day, the reset is crucial to preventing burnout in my work and personal life.

Are you taking time to refresh and reset? Is it something that comes naturally to you? Or do you need to schedule it? Get to know your patterns of productivity– are you a streak shooter, or a steady cruncher? By learning to respect your personal work cycle, you may find yourself becoming happier and healthier in your business life.

You now officially have permission take a breather, put the work aside, and trust that you will be just as good– if not better– when you come back. Drop me a line if you want to look at how your productivity cycles are working for you– because small business owners need to avoid burnout, no matter how driven we are.