3 Questions Every Current or Future Business Owner Must Ask Now
How are you, friends? We're all grappling with so much right now, and I hope you are giving yourself plenty of grace.
I know we all have many questions on our minds, and that some of those questions have to do with our work and our businesses. If you already have a business, how do you keep it viable and even move it forward? If you've been dreaming about launching a business, how do the dramatic transformations in the world change your plans?
The short answer is that there's a lot to figure out. A lot. Remember, though, that you don't have to know how everything is going to work out for your business right now. In fact, you can't know this. What you can do is plot out your next steps. To help you do this, we've identified some of the themes we see emerging as a new future for business takes shape.
1. What's Going on With You?
This is an intense time, to say the least. But there's nothing like a crisis to quickly make clear to us what's really important and what isn't. Even as you're feeling anxiety about the pandemic and what's next, you may also be feeling new and powerful clarity about who you are and how you want to make a contribution.
This clarity takes different forms for different people. Maybe you've lost a job or are working less than you were. With the extra space in your life, you're feeling called to a different kind of work.
When you get insights like this about yourself, take them seriously. They're important signs toward a new path. The businesses that will thrive going forward will be those that are fueled by passion and authenticity.
2. What's Going on With Your Audience?
Deeply understanding your audience and tailoring everything you do to serve their needs is always at the heart of a successful business. If you currently own a business, you may have seen big shifts in your audience's needs over the past several weeks. How are you responding to those shifts? What does your audience need now? And how will their needs continue to evolve as our new reality does?
If you have been planning to launch a business, you may need to do a little social media eavesdropping to answer those questions. What are you hearing in the online communities that your target customers or clients frequent?
Whether you're a current or aspiring business owner, you might experience some anxiety that your audience no longer needs what you do. But look deeper. Chances are, your audience still has some or all of the same underlying needs. But you may need to fill those needs in new ways. It's even possible that your audience has brand-new needs that no one else has anticipated yet, which means you can create your own niche.
3. What Do You Need to Update?
One big way that businesses are responding to customers' evolving needs is delivering more of their offerings online vs. in person. This may feel like a change that's happening suddenly, but it's actually just an acceleration of an existing trend. E-commerce is well established, of course. And even before the pandemic we were seeing services like coaching, personal training and continuing education move online.
Digital businesses are well situated to survive and thrive in the new business environment. If you haven't yet thought about how to "virtualize" your current or planned business, now is the time.
This isn't just for the benefit of your customers and your business goals. Shifting toward digital offerings can also help you achieve the personal goals that are important to you. Let's take the example of a speaker/trainer. Her customers now want online programs instead of in-person sessions. Creating those virtual classes is a big project. But it's one that will continue to yield payoffs for her. Even if she plans to resume travel and in-person appearances after the pandemic, she will now be better prepared the next time she needs to come off the road, whether due to another crisis or for personal reasons. She also has the potential to raise her revenue because she's not trading her time for money anymore. There are only so many personal appearances she can make in a year, but there's no limit on how many online courses she could sell.
As you update your business's offerings, don't forget to take a look at your behind-the-scenes processes, too. There are always new tools emerging that can save you money, help you be more efficient and give you more flexibility. In an upcoming blog article, we'll tell you about some of our favorite tools.
Win a 1-Hour Business Clarity Session
Want to talk over these questions (or any others) with me? I'm giving away four, one-hour Business Clarity Sessions. Discover if your business idea is the right one for you, your expertise and your passions. Or, if you have a business and you want to pivot, this session will help you gain valuable insight and clarity on where to head next. Click here to enter.