Entrepreneurs

Council Post: Two Overlooked Business Tactics For Navigating Pandemic-Related Challenges

By Libby Rothschild, CEO of Dietitian Boss; follow on LinkedIn

Once the pandemic began, business owners had to quarantine employees while simultaneously becoming more vulnerable and connected online. Now, instead of water coolers and boardrooms, many workers have designated Slack channels and Zoom meetings. Ironically, despite the physical isolation, it’s simpler than ever to identify who someone is behind the corporate facade.

Turn on the headlines any day, and you’ll hear about another Zoom faux pas where someone had their children come into the home office screaming, or wore improper attire during a Zoom conference, assuming the camera was off. 

Vulnerabilities have been shown on all levels, whether we are aware of them or not. While this may appear to be a scary prospect for many, entrepreneurial-minded business owners are capitalizing on this new reality in a significant manner, and you can, too.

There are two simple ways to adjust your business to our post-pandemic reality. 

1. Show your face.

Millennials and Gen Z are incredibly socially conscious and they expect the brands they shop with to align with their values. They want to know who is behind that protein bar they’re eating and the political beliefs of that actress in the new movie they’re watching.

Faking it or “being neutral” is no longer an option for businesses, and brands have learned that vulnerability is the new currency. Tech-savvy company owners have learned to strengthen their bonds with their customers by embracing their weaknesses, reinforcing the adage that people buy from those they know, like and trust.

Taking a page from Brené Brown’s best-selling book, The Gifts of Imperfection, when we showcase our vulnerabilities, we’re embracing authenticity, something today’s customer is looking for in the businesses they patronize. In my own business, I show our clients how to tactically do this by showing their faces on social media so their clients know who they are and can see the person behind the brand.

Start showing the faces behind your brand with posts featuring behind-the-scenes content and charitable initiatives in your community. For an example of how to do this well, look to the fashion brand Dannijo which works to support economic opportunities for women in underdeveloped countries. The two sisters behind the Dannijo brand also appear in many social media posts themselves, contributing to their success.

Integrating your brand’s core values into your company’s identity and image from the beginning is an effective way to develop a positive reputation with audiences.

2. Develop a growth-oriented mindset.

As a business owner, developing a growth-oriented mindset is fundamental. The unexpected rise in vulnerability exposures wasn’t the only obstacle companies faced and it won’t be the last. For a business to survive and thrive, leaders must have the flexibility to adapt and meet these challenges with confidence.

Throughout the pandemic, many companies closed their doors, unable to cope with the changing economic conditions. However, there are plenty of examples of businesses throughout history that were founded during tough times and triumphed against unfathomable obstacles. Some of the biggest brands of today, including Whatsapp, Groupon, Instagram and Uber, were all founded during or shortly after the Great Recession of 2008.

Change is inevitable, and the pandemic has intensified that change. As a business owner, it’s critical to adapt to unexpected circumstances and come out on the other side as a more vital organization. To adjust to these changes, you’ll need to cultivate a growth mentality, especially if your company is facing its most challenging period yet.

Reframing how your staff interacts with clients and management helps businesses make changes considerably quicker and easier. Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, shares a framework for shifting from a fixed mindset (i.e., “I can’t work from home”) to a growth mindset (i.e., “I have an opportunity to learn new skills using the remote work model”).

Although it may appear corny, affirmations can aid in this situation. Every day, tell yourself something that alters your mentality to conquer and adapt. For example, “I’ll get through this” or “Obstacles make me stronger” can put you in the right frame of mind to recognize answers to a challenging circumstance.

Another way to expand your perspective is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously stated, “We make decisions based on the opinions of the five people we see most frequently.” Those who have faced challenges in the past and emerged stronger on the other side exude a contagious air of courage because they have previously battled their demons and persevered. These are the people you want influencing your thoughts.

As an American football player will tell you, “The best defense is a good offense.” And that is true here as well. Realizing your negative thoughts and combating it as soon as it develops will help you fortify yourself against those negative thoughts. As the CEO and owner of your business, it’s critical to use every tool at your disposal to lead your team to success. Your unshakeable belief in yourself and your mission will inspire others and ultimately promote your chances for success.

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