Fear. Uncertainty. Stress.
Those are the words being volleyed back and forth to describe the feelings of everyone from high school seniors missing out on their last weeks of school to small business owners being forced to lay off employees because of mandated social distancing.
How do you lead well in times like these? How do you find that elusive balance between loving your neighbor, genuinely trying to help, and doing what needs to be done to fight for your own survival?
Those are some seriously tough questions.
But, even though it may feel that the waves are continuing to rise and overwhelm you, take heart. The uncharted waters ahead can still be parted to lead you on a direct path to a more prosperous future and a newfound hope.
The following considerations will help you get there.
Now, more than ever, people are feeling isolated and are craving connection.
This means that now is not the time to push pause on communication with your print buyers. Rather, this is the time to press in to what you do best: connecting through print! Focus on building relationships by ditching the sanitized corporate-speak. Instead, show your heart a little by adding some humanness to your brand. Let your audience into your world through things such as personal, inspirational messages within your direct mail newsletters or through heartfelt messages and videos on social media.
Even if you face dwindling sales numbers in the near future, the foundation that you build now through connection will lay out a red carpet for your print buyers and lead to exponential growth when things do turn around.
As your connections grow, make listening your secret weapon.
Keep in mind that none of us have faced a situation like we’re facing now, and each of your print buyer’s fears may be different. While one might be bearing the weight of figuring out how to sustain their business, another print buyer might be carrying the burden of trying to care for an infected friend or loved one.
Because of this, don’t assume something like 25% off of all orders will incentivize everyone to coming running to order printing. Money might not be the issue. They may need alternative delivery options, special services you don’t typically offer, or even just a fellow business owner to talk to.
You won’t know until you master the art of listening well.
While the health of your brick-and-mortar store may be feeling the effects of a worldwide quarantine, the health of your CLICK-and-mortar store (a.k.a. your website) is 100% still in your control.
It’s time to put your focus there.
Is social distancing unsettling and inconvenient? Yes. But, consider how your print buyers will combat that inconvenience to keep things feeling as normal as possible:
They’ll order online.
This is your chance to shine! Use this time to focus on bumping up your e-commerce solutions, updating or implementing your online pricing, smoothing out the order and reorder process for your buyers, and even updating the overall look of your website to freshen things up.
Try not to underappreciate the incredible liferaft your website can be during this time. After all, just think for a second how small businesses would be faring if this all happened in 1995 when no one had a website.
Change is hard, and abrupt change is even more difficult.
One minute you’re on schedule with your next great idea that’s going to revolutionize your business, and the next minute you’re trying to decide if you need to lay off some of your workers.
Business and personal priorities are suddenly shifting for everyone, so it’s essential to give and extend some much-needed grace.
Because of how quickly things are changing, you’ll need to be reactionary in much of your actions by:
But even though the urgent is at the forefront of your vision right now, be sure to temper that by being proactive as well.
Have you ever seen a child look to their parent to gauge how to feel about an unfamiliar place or experience?
If mom or dad are still smiling, the child perceives safety and acts accordingly. But, if mom and dad display their own fear, that fear is very quickly realized and transmitted to the child.
The same is true in business. As the leader goes, so goes the team.
Right now, your team and your customers are looking to you to gauge your reaction during this troubling time. Will you project fear, or will you instill a vision for a new beginning? Will you sit paralyzed by the unknown, or will you press on to the victory?
As the late John Wooden once said, “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own example.”
Don’t let fear weigh you or your team down. You are more capable than you think you are.
“When this ends – AND IT WILL – every game will sell out, every restaurant will have a 2-hour wait, every kid will be glad to be in school, everyone will love their job, the stock market will skyrocket, every other house will get TP’d, and we’ll all embrace and shake hands. That’s gonna be a pretty good day. Hang in there, World.”
Is there a way we can specifically help your print business during this time? If so, reach out to us by phone at (800) 736-0688 or email us using the contact form below.