By Victoria Brodsky, co-founder of Blockchain BTM
Whether your small business or startup has experienced hardship from a crisis or not, it’s important to understand how you can best prepare yourself and your team to not only survive, but thrive during and after challenging times.
1. Remember, it's never too late to prepare.
If you’ve been affected in any way by a crisis, don’t be of the mindset that it’s too late to do something about it. Not only are there loan options available for small businesses during and after a crisis, but there will continue to be help from both public and private sources for small businesses in economic recovery.
In addition, it’s important to take note of all the measures you wish you had taken before the crisis and plan ahead for next time. Write down what you wish you had done differently, the resources you wish you had had access to and how you would have better prepared your employees. Use this to develop new crisis protocols and create preventive action items for the future.
2. Ask for help.
Asking for help as a small business owner or entrepreneur can sometimes make you feel vulnerable. However, it’s amazing what neighbors, friends and strangers on social media will do when you simply and genuinely ask for help.
Whenever you’re experiencing change in your business, not just during hard times, but during any sort of change that leaves you with questions, go to the people around you and ask for advice. Reach out to your trusted mentors and advisors to ask legal and financial questions. Post on social media to encourage connections to return to your storefront or online store. You may be surprised by the support you receive when you ask.
3. Provide extra support and encouragement to your staff.
As a business owner, you may feel like you’re the one who is most affected by unforeseen challenges. But remember, your employees run your company. During times of economic, social and political turmoil, remind them of the vision and the values of your company and why they chose to be there.
When morale is low, it’s imperative that you take leadership action, encourage the spirits of others and inspire them to act. Turn what feels like a painful moment into a teachable moment with your staff. These are times when lending an ear, applauding positive behavior and affirming those around you is most impactful both personally and professionally for the individuals you work with.
4. Brainstorm positive and strategic ideas.
In the midst of hardship, it can be difficult for many people to see the positives. The easier path is a spiral of negativity. But business challenges, especially ones relating to a crisis, present a great opportunity to carry out a brainstorming session with your team. After all, when was the last time you did that?
Set time aside with your team to write down how to turn a bad situation into a good business opportunity and help others in need. What products or services does your team have to offer that are different from the norm? A brainstorming exercise is not only great for team-building and morale, but may also result in some outside-the-box ideas for your business to thrive.
5. Share what you’ve learned.
Every business has its unique challenges, especially during a crisis. These are the times when you will learn a lot, and quickly. But if you don’t record everything you’ve learned, you may forget. Write down all of the lessons, no matter how small or how big. They will serve as tools not only for you and your business, but for others.
That’s why it’s crucial that you share the lessons you learn in adversity as an entrepreneur. It can be tempting to want to forget the pain you and your business experienced during a hard time, but this is what the young entrepreneurs of the world need to know: how those before them conquered hardship.
Your reactions will define you and your business.
Starting a new business is hard, but how we react to the challenges along the way -- especially the big ones -- is what defines our leadership and our ability to be resilient in business. Challenges remind us to be grateful, to slow down and to remember why we began this entrepreneurial journey in the first place, and they can also be opportunities to thrive.
Victoria Brodsky is co-founder of Blockchain BTM.