Ditching The “Is It Over Yet?” Mentality
Sometimes I wonder what it felt like to live during some of the great shifts in U.S. history. What was life like during the American Revolution, or the Civil War, or even the Great Depression?
Then I hop on my smartphone, scroll through the news and realize: we are already living through one of the greatest shifts in U.S. history.
History is shifting like an earthquake. Very few events have ever affected EVERY single country on the planet, and changed daily life for billions of people. So, what can entrepreneurs do in times like these?
They do their absolute best to survive and thrive.
As a Hawaiian business owner, I’m obsessed with the latest news affecting local businesses. During the early days of the pandemic, I wondered when things would “get back to normal.”
I wasn’t alone. One of the most common phrases I heard (and used) last year was, “when all this is over…”
We used “when all this is over…” so often that we got sick and tired of hearing it, kind of like the word “unprecedented.” But we still used it, every day.
When I examine the latest news and trends, I see that “all this” … isn’t going to be over anytime soon. We probably won’t see “business as usual” in Hawaii for several years. By that time, it will look drastically different than before.
Also Read: 3 Pivots For Hawaii Businesses In 2021
Why “Recovery” Is Further Away Than You Think
At first, I felt optimistic that COVID-19 would blow over and things would go back to normal by summertime. Now, almost a year after shutdowns started, I’m more cautious.
Many airlines predict full travel may not be back, until 2022 or 2023. Depending on where you live, flight bookings are down anywhere from 42% to 89% as compared with this time last year. Experts say it’s due to economic uncertainty, and policies for quarantining and testing. Also, nobody wants to get stuck far from home.
While different countries and international health groups work on solutions for the travel industry, nobody agrees on the best way forward. This has led to deadlock, layoffs, and airlines throwing in the towel.
Since Hawaii depends on tourism, many businesses are struggling. The average revenue for a business in Hawaii fell by 50%. About half of businesses had to lay off at least one employee. Even those not directly linked to tourism struggle, with fewer visitors and less money coming to the islands overall.
Now, some businesses have to deal with higher unemployment taxes, on top of lower revenue. The news seems to change every week about stimulus funds for businesses and individuals.
This doesn’t mean all hope is lost. We just need to take a realistic look at the difficulties in front of us, and make proper adjustments.
Also Read: Designing a Website That Produces Results
3 Adjustments To Weather The Storm
Here are a few adjustments for you to get through this huge shift and come out stronger on the other side.
- Accept The Challenge
The first step to the new normal is accepting that the new normal is here to stay. Help is not on the way.
Businesses can focus their energy on trying to hold on until some form of aid arrives, or they can focus on adapting to the challenges in front of them. Which mindset do you think will equip you for 2021?
In war, you fight differently when you know reinforcements aren’t coming. If you get lost in the wilderness, you try to survive differently if you assume that no one’s coming to your rescue. Our situation may not be so dire … but we still have realities to accept.
- Focus on what you CAN control
When we focus on the things we can’t control, we start to feel desperate and hopeless, even powerless. Frankly, almost everything about this situation falls outside of our control. But there are things that we can influence and take control of, even in the midst of all the craziness.
There are still plenty of businesses that learned to adapt and thrive. We can learn a lesson or two from them, and change our strategy.
When we decide to focus on what we can control, the possibilities open up. The most successful businesses take advantage of new opportunities in the digital marketplace.
- Embrace Reputation Marketing
Reputation marketing seeks to influence a business’s reputation positively. Rather than reacting to events, it takes a proactive approach. Beyond mere PR, it seeks to earn a good reputation, instead of fabricating it.
Businesses will distinguish themselves by how they adapt and move through this season. With the right tools at your disposal, you have what it takes to earn a winning reputation and a loyal base of local customers.
Even though times are tough, and recovery will be a long road, I remain hopeful. Every day I get to work with businesses doing their best to navigate the challenges and earn a lasting reputation.
If you’d like more resources or want to learn about reputation marketing services, don’t hesitate to connect with us here.
Images courtesy of Mado El Khouly, Tim Gouw, and MSCI.