Uncertainty is a hard feeling, especially as information becomes denser and more confusing. We are inundated with advice on how we should be spending our time, data on the evolution of cases (that sometimes hits home), and navigating financial help to keep our businesses and households running. While also tapping into our own creative ways to finding focus.
The challenge for us, business owners, is to navigate the crisis with all the feelings that it brings (at the same time that we are all taking on new challenges at home) and coming up with creative new strategies to help our clients thrive and our own business thrive.
Focus on the One Thing
For me, it’s been about finding the space to be active on what is most important. This concept is something we at DCC Accounting have been working with our Scaling up coach and has made all the difference. To achieve this, you have to trade the page long to-do list and instead chose the one action that you need to get behind to achieve your organizational goals and do just that. Trading effectiveness for me has been challenging as I not only want to do things, but I want to feel I’ve done my best. And right now, the best might not always be on option. So sometimes being effective will mean trading sending something out perfect tomorrow rather thank something just ‘OK’, today. This is something that will take practice but will get easier as you start seeing the results begin to accumulate.
Since my family and I decided to self-quarantine in mid-March (I had been in NY at a conference), the messages from blogs and social media posts asking us to do more with all our ‘extra time’ started to pile on my subconscious. Something didn’t feel right. Early on, articles advocating for us to ask less of ourselves during this time seemed to resonate the most.
I’ll share here a compilation of some advice we’ve received and have found the most helpful.
Tips to Find Your Level of Effectiveness
- It’s OK to feel lost. The routines you had in place don’t work now with your business closed or partly operating, working from home, and if you have kids, the added responsibility of caring for them 24/7.
- Consider effectiveness, not efficiency. What is a realistic expectation, and where do you start? Right now, doing something might be a lot more valuable than doing something tomorrow or a week from now.
- Talk, Talk, Talk. No one got out of a crisis by mere thinking, says Verne Harnish from Gazelles Growth Institute. Now is the time to communicate with your employees and err on the side of over communication. Talk to your customers and friends. Bounce ideas off peers, your client’s audience, and anyone who will listen.
- Rework your business’ SWOT Analysis. When you have time and feel there is a bit of normality, be ready to tackle some thinking exercises that can help you and your business be better equipped after all this passes. At DCC, we were left energized after working on ours!
- Invite your employees and host a remote session where you can brainstorm about your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The most obvious threat is the effects of the virus in the economy, but you may take the time to think about any other that might be right around the corner.
Here are some tools to start focusing, or even to do while multitasking.
Tools To Help With Perspective
Listening or reading about another person’s perspective can help get your own ideas organized and out of your head.
- Podcasts. These are great to help get you in the business thinking mood. Some personal favorites are:
- Master of Scale, check their collection of crisis response episodes, Rapid Response.
- The Tim Ferriss Show, newest episode with Jane Goodall is a gift during this time. My old time favorite is the episode with Ed Catmull, President of Pixar.
- Design Matters with Debbie Millman (this one is great for creatives!) Millman’s wiring exercise, a 10 Year Life Plan is probably one of the most life changing things I’ve ever worked on.
- Grab or audio that book. I recommend Scaling Up, Never Lose a Customer Again. Our coach recommends this last one. It presents an excellent exercise for these challenging times: hone in your customer experience and tune it up.
- Do some tutorials. As we pivot our way of doing things, or how we manage our business, there are a variety of available small business tutorials
- Follow hashtags. Learn from peers and competitors by gaining different perspectives.
DCC Accounting shares in the entrepreneurial journey as we navigate together.