There’s so much to be said about the current situation - and many are saying it in different ways - but I really want to focus on hope right now.
If you’re running a product business or shop, I know you’ll be dealing with a tonne of stuff, working out how to stay afloat, and wondering / fearing what the future might look like.
(...and all while you have the kids home!)
So a couple of gentle reminders, then let’s dive into what the future could (positively) look like.
Gentle Reminder 1 - Focus on what you can control
There’s a lot of uncertainty swirling around us (and it’s likely to for some time), so the best you can do any day, every day, is to focus on what you do know and can control.
Stay informed, but really limit your engagement with the news and social media - you know as well as I do what it’s doing to our mental health and energy just now.
Gentle Reminder 2 - Prioritise your energy
The decisions you make and the actions you take now are important.
We all have wobble moments, but you need to prioritise your precious energy and approach each day as the wisest, centered version of yourself - not the one that’s shit-scared because she’s been scrolling through The Guardian website for an hour.
If you like meditations, make it a daily practice.
If you don’t, just practice slow, centered breathing to calm your nervous system.
Dance. Journal out your thoughts. Keep a note of the things you’re grateful for every day.
However you do it, get yourself into the best possible head-space at the start of each day - so you can make the most of your time and make smart decisions.
So now, let’s look at the future.
Disclaimer - I’m not Madam Zora - I don’t have a direct dial to 2025 when I can tell you exactly how this pans out. But we do have some facts, and we can take some educated guesses.
They’re talking of a vaccine in 12-18 months.
That means we’re looking at change for at least that length of time, especially for those who are more susceptible to the virus. So...
Offering products or services by post becomes even more VITAL for your business.
The postal service is considered a core part of the UK’s infrastructure, so the government will do everything in their power to keep that running day in and day out (although we may see slower delivery times).
All those isolated people - especially, again, those at higher risk - will become reliant on their postie - and the businesses who send things to them.
Do you remember the Royal Mail advert from the 1990s - ‘I saw this and I thought of you’?
It encouraged us to use the postal service to send daft little items - but really, those were little things that told the recipient you loved them.
That thoughtfulness is what’s needed now - what people will be crying out for - as they want to tell those they love that they’re thinking of them even when they can’t come and visit.
Businesses who make the receipt of a package a joyful thing are much more likely to see gift buyers, repeat custom, and glowing word of mouth recommendations.
In a time when we’re physically distancing, we need to emotionally connect more.
Is your packaging beautiful? Can you add a handwritten note? A little extra to make them smile?
Can you consider a subscription box service? A regular treat for them and reliable recurring income for you?
(This is my bread & butter with my other business, Craftiosity, so another post is to come on subscription boxes - I predict this market segment is going to boom.)
If you have a shop full of products and no customers, can you curate gift or care boxes?
As we spend more time indoors, activities you can do at home become key - creativity, DIY pamper sessions, books, leisure - can your product meet that need in some way?
And we need Happy Faces
We’ll all be heading online to connect more - so how can you make those connections part of the buying experience?
Think of a ‘Biscuits & Tea for 2’ box set, with two identical boxes sent to different recipients, ready for them to open and share together.
Run with this concept… How could this idea work for your product or business?
Another thought - does your audience need a community right now? Would it be relevant to / could you create a Facebook Group for your customers?
It’s postal or it’s online
I’ve quickly covered some different ideas here, but if you take the delivery of products / services to be either postal or online for the foreseeable future - how can you take your existing offer and make it work for your customers?
Or if you’re really stumped, what’s the key service or benefit you give your customers, and how can you help them with that need now?
Ultimately, how can you CARE for your customers now, when they’re feeling lonely, or scared, or overwhelmed by what’s happening? How can you normalise life and make it sweeter?
Think ahead to your future. The world is changing, and even if we’re back to relevant ‘normal’ in 12-18 months, this experience will change how we all do things.
So, for the health of your business…
Build your newsletter list now
Show up consistently, especially when it’s hard
Well this turned into an epic wee post, but I hope it has helped you see there are options now - and as one of my favourite mentors, Marie Forleo says, ‘everything is figureoutable’.
From my heart to yours, we can do this, we can change how we’ve done things in the past and make our businesses stronger - and care for our customers even more.
In this crazy time, be a force for good.
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