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Moving Forward: Advice for Every Business Owner

Our economy has gradually reopened over the last few weeks and it may seem that life is returning to some degree of normalcy. Can I be honest? Our world is still far from normal and as a business owner I am constantly thinking of the best way to move forward.

I know I’m not alone here. You’ve had the thoughts too. How do we prepare our businesses to survive and thrive in the face of such unknown circumstances?

On the latest episode of The One Thing podcast with Geoff Woods, Keith Cunningham was featured as the guest and he had some great suggestions I’m sure you’ll find useful. Here is what I took away that you can bet I’ll be using to inform the way I move forward in planning and strategizing for my business in the coming months.

Release Your Grip On The Past

Don’t allow your past to disconnect you from the ever-unfolding future. This makes you delusional and delusional is the very opposite of what you need to be to progress. Delusion represents a lack of clarity, insight and direction.

The past is gone, never to return again. How your business functioned is gone, forever changed. It’s time to move on. It’s time to evolve.

Position Your Business For the New Normal

As we’re in the midst of grappling with the impacts of COVID-19, here is one question that you are surely considering: How do we build our business to withstanding disruption if economic blackout is a potential going forward?

What happened one time can easily happen again. We’ve witnessed history these last few months as we’ve been confined to our homes, with the world we know coming to a screeching halt.

What is the defense you need to build up to best prepare your businesses for similar occurrences in the future? This is the time for reinvention, for re-imagination of how fluid your business can be in changing world dynamics. Just don’t get too high off the ground during all this transformation – you must continue to stay vigilant.

Be a Skeptic

Question everything. Look at the facts at hand and give yourself an opportunity to assess what your feelings are regarding the current state of our world. Don’t feed into mass opinions, but don’t disregard them either. The key is to observe. Your observations will shape your decisions. Your decisions will impact your business.

The results of this pandemic will be unfolding for longer than most of us can realistically fathom. It’s easy to make the mistake of being overly optimistic, but the truth is we will likely be dealing with the impact of this pandemic for years to come. Exercise caution. Examine every asset of your business and look for any opportunities to minimize risk.

Audit Your Business

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to take a good, hard look at your business. Identify any dead weight that you can do without and drop it like it’s hot.

  1. Trim the financial fat.
  2. Identify inefficiencies.
  3. Eliminate excess capacities that may be weighing down your business.

Establish Equilibrium.

Create a plan that addresses defense and offense strategies. This is a long game and your business’s survival will take you operating on both sides. This means planning for progression, but it also means preparing for adversity. Equip your business with the balance that it needs to emerge from this pandemic bigger, stronger, and better prepared.

What You Need To Start A Successful Social Media Page

Some understand it, but most over complicate it. While social media will demand consistency and strategy in order to see any real return from your investment, it shouldn’t be overwhelming.  It can be challenging to identify what the essential components of a successful social media page are, but the best advice I’ll offer is to keep it simple. By focusing on the components outlined below, you can create an efficient content machine.

Content Planner/Team

The first order of business is to designate an individual or team to handle the overall theme and strategy of your social media. What message are you hoping to tell? What is your objective for posting? What action do you want your followers to take when they visit your page?  It’s perfectly fine if all your team consists of is you. It isn’t necessary to hire someone to build an engaged following on social media, but you will have to allocate time regularly for content planning. Scheduling blocks of time for content generation is essential to producing a quality social media page, though the length of time will vary according to your overall objective.

Graphic Content

Graphic content will make up the bulk of most content planning and should be aesthetically pleasing, concise, and fit the overall theme of your page. There should be congruent color and design schemes that form a fluid representation of your brand. Graphics should be original and crafted to grab the attention of your ideal customer.

Video Content

This is your opportunity to educate your audience and provide a deeper view into what your brand represents. According to Hubspot, 54% of consumers prefer to see more video content from brands they follow.  With so many companies vying for the attention of consumers in the crowded digital space, video allows you to quickly capture the attention of your intended audience. Video content can cover a wide range of genres that include explainer videos, video interviews, tutorials and much more.

Written Content

The engagement is in the captions.  Photos and videos may capture the initial attention of your audience, but your captions build a community. They form the basis of your relationship and relatability with your followers.  They also present an opportunity to go more in depth and shape your brand voice that will ultimately, continue to attract your audience.

Social media doesn’t have to be complicated. By sticking to a focused plan, you have the chance to tailor this avenue of digital marketing to your liking. The most important key to remember is to be consistent in your messaging in order to strengthen your overall voice and brand identity.

Why 4-Day Work Weeks are Better for Society

We’ve all experienced the limitations of a weekend. You run out of the office Friday with high hopes for 2 days of reckless abandon, with little to no responsibility, but alas! You are greeted by the stark reality of a weekend filled with a laundry list of to-do’s and hardly any fun. Okay, let’s be honest, we sneak a bit of fun in where we can, but that doesn’t stop us from being overwhelmed by all the things we must do to prepare for the upcoming week.  So where did this concept of a weekend actually come from? It’s been said that time is a construct that humans have bent to their own benefit and for the weekday, which is entirely man made, that is definitely not too far from the truth.  The five-day workweek showed up in the beginning of the 20th century in order to accommodate Jewish workers who observed the Sabbath, while also not offending the Christian majority.

Since then it has grown to be an international standard around which we arrange our lives. During “long” weekends, we rejoice for gaining an extra day to delve into the real fun we crave all year long. For most of us, this represents a day with no strings attached, an obligation-free hall pass to kick off our shoes, theoretically, and relax.  That’s when the thought creeps in. You know the one: What if every weekend was a three-day weekend? In a study done at the University of Rochester in which 74 adults between the age of 18 and 62 were observed who worked more than 30 hours a week, it was concluded that weekends were associated with more freedom and thus, heightened levels of happiness within participants.

So what would weekends look like for us if we were given an opportunity to expand them forever?  Would the result of this increase in freedom be higher productivity, lower stress and more quality time with those we love most?  The extra day off would certainly result in better work-life balance that could be beneficial for both employees and their employers. 4-day work week trials have noted a decrease in stress amongst workers alongside an increase in both commitment and stimulation.

Potentially the biggest benefit of lengthening weekends would be a shift in attitude that the working class typically experience regarding work.  People have been conditioned to work/learn for 5 days since kindergarten, learning in the same pattern, repeating the same standards of existence.  Imagine what production might look like from employees, if there was a major shift that ruptured that predictable, monotonous schedule we have been exposed to for as long as we can remember. There might quite literally be an explosion of creativity, collaboration and innovation.