I built my first business back in 2015 and experienced growth of 800 percent in a single year. It has felt like one grateful experience ever since.
Nevertheless, like many other young entrepreneurs, these past few months have been my first encounter with a major crisis. Sure, growing a business takes a great deal of work and struggle, but a crisis of this magnitude is an entirely different beast. For many, a sense of fear has risen. What will happen to your business? Will your career survive?
Instead of letting this fear consume you, use it to your advantage. Fear is a tool that signals a problem exists well before it arrives. Take advantage of this, and harness these signals to focus on ways to move forward. I began to do this lately and discovered resources I didn't even know I had. Here are the three most powerful resources I found for handling a business crisis.
1. Find your people.
Physical distancing doesn't have to mean becoming socially distant. In fact, finding people to lean on and support you is more important than ever. This isn't the time to be a lone wolf fighting the good fight. Rely on those around you when you feel fearful, scared, anxious, angry, or sad.
Although these are unprecedented times, it doesn't mean events in the past aren't available to learn from. By turning to the people who have gone through something similar, I have been able to make more informed decisions to protect my business. I reached out to mentors and experts who have been in business before seeking advice from their perspective.
Talk to experts on how to handle major shifts in the global economy, how to pivot a business plan, or seek out supply chain experts who can help make adjustments to accommodate your current needs.
Turn to your coaches, mentors and/or therapists for support, and don't shut out your friends and family. Your community is great to have when things are fun, but essential when things are hard.
2. Become proactive with your assets.
When this global crisis began, I sat down and took stock of all my assets to become hyper-aware of what I had. Although you regularly do inventory audits in business, it isn't often enough we do them in life. The truth is, assets are more than tangible goods.
I built out an inventory of my skill sets, my reputation, my relationships (both personal and professional), the work I have done in my community, and the products I have developed. The assets of who you are matter more than the shelves stocked in a warehouse.
Take the time to create this list. Once everything is laid out in front of you, it becomes more clear how to create a plan moving forward. You now have clarity on who to reach out to for various supports, along with a direct understanding of what you do well and where you can step up. This crisis will begin to seem more malleable than originally envisioned.
3. Create the right mental space.
Crisis is encased in making tough decisions. Every day, there is something new and painful to work through. For many entrepreneurs it's making the decision to reduce employee hours, to eliminate projects, or to find ways to gain business funding. None of these decisions can be made lightly.
In order to show up every day ready to make sound choices and navigate the fear of the unknown, you must be in a strong mental space. Make this your number one priority, because, without it, nothing else can succeed.
I made a pact with myself that my morning rituals would not change no matter what was unfolding around me. Starting each day with the ritual of meditation and journaling has not only set my days up for success but have been the moments when solutions and realizations for how to improve the current state organically come to mind. When you allow yourself flexibility in space, creativity falls into your lap. I have walked into each day with a clear mind to face whatever choices come my way.
When you find the space and capacity to show up as your best, even when the world around you is embedded in chaos, then you're grounded in something true.
It isn't in the moments of comfort that we find our strength. Strength is uncovered in crisis.