Your Lockdown Story
We all have lockdown stories. Take a look at the Nautilus shell. It's as if we've been transported into the little space at the heart of the image. In that space, we don't know which way to go. We can't see the way ahead. As we follow the path of the shell, it widens and in time we'll perceive light, as we approach the wide exit.
All this naturally takes time. At the start, we are disorientated and cannot see the way forward but in time, things have and will become clearer.
In the early days we plan new routines. Moving the office from work to home, organising the day around competing demands of work, income and family. Life drastically changed with little warning and our first priority is to work out how to survive and function in this new and alien world.
Maybe most of us are past this phase. But maybe in some respects we're still adjusting. Many of us find it difficult to be creative. This is because our usual routines, fashioned over years of taking everything for granted, are no longer possible. What were your routines, the means by which you got things done? What do you need to do now to find a new creative space?
Gradually, we arrive at the point where most small businesses are at present. We see weeks ahead. We're not anticipating massive change for some weeks, so how can we bring our business activities online? What can we offer to customers here and now? We may be able to offer something similar to what we offered before or else we may need something new, to meet new circumstances.
Marketing and sales are more difficult but that is not to say they are impossible. The key question is what does your market need now? Their needs may be very different to before lockdown and they may not know what they need any more than you do. It is therefore a time to try new things, to be creative. Don't get too hung up on finding out what pthers need, though. This may be a time to try out your own ideas. You may no more about your market's needs than you think you know. So, why not "run up a flag and see who salutes it"?
In time we'll see months ahead. The lockdown shall be relaxed and some of us freed to bring our businesses back into the real world. We'll see ahead to new opportunities, based on our business experience and the new context we find ourselves in. This will require another change of direction.
Maybe we're not there yet. But we all have our own specialisms and so see ahead in our own distinctive ways. We shall be surprised by the changes we see going forwards. But we may see clearly certain aspects and that may be enough to huide post-lockdown activities.
In time maybe, we’ll see years ahead. And yet, did we ever? Underlying all this is the perennial question: Am I in the right business? We'll see profound change, we know that but the point is that business people will shape that change. Thousands of innovations on the market and many, most will fail. The point is they're all worth a try because we don't know which will succeed. So, ask the question: What is worth doing even if it fails?
Problem 1: What can I do now to keep my business going?
When we see little more than a few weeks ahead, our dilemma is whether we invest time and money in a new business approach that may be out of date by the time we implement it. If we hang fire and then discover things do not change for many months, we lose business opportunities.
The lockdown is an opportunity for reflection. Take time to see how things develop and how your business fits in. You may need to make changes to maintain your income, they be small or else significant and costly. Either way, you have a gift of time for reflection. Use it!
Stories are a powerful way to do this. Data is great as evidence of real needs but it does not tell you how to meet those needs. What is it only you can offer? To remember literally means to "put back together". Stories bring together seemingly unconnected experiences and lead to new insights and so new offers.
I've a series of prompts that help you prepare stories that dig deep into what you and your business is about: branding, products and services, your promise, the problems you solve and your market. I discuss each story with you, helping you find new insights, improve storytelling skills and work out how to perform or publish your stories.
Problem 2: How do I prepare for return to a new normality?
As the lockdown relaxes, your preparation through reflection on your business comes into play. Most of us sense the world will not be the same as it was before lockdown. We will face working out how to contribute to rebuilding the economy. Some pre-lockdown problems, eg climate change, persist but we'll face new ones that we don't anticipate as yet. How do we plan for this long-term future?
You need a marketing plan. If you follow the solution to the first problem, you have insights into what's important, what you can contribute, what you want to do. Now you need to move beyond upgrading aspects of your business and design your future marketing direction. Marketing is fundamentally about change to some aspect of the world around you.
I work alongside you as you design and implement your marketing plan. When you market your business, you tell a story, using a variety of media. You find consistent and flexible ways to tell your story. Stories help people understand your message and at the same time respond to a developing situation.
My Coaching Offers
Build a Story Portfolio for Your Business
We work together to prepare 12 stories in 12 weeks plus a list of other stories to develop later. We meet online once a week to discuss the latest story, how it might be told more effectively and its best use in marketing. These conversations lay the foundations for your future marketing design.
Marketing Design and Production
We start with your story portfolio and examine insights and ideas implicit in your stories and reflections. We explore new ideas in depth and use them to upgrade aspects of your business. This naturally leads to designing a marketing strategy and production of the materials and platforms you need to implement it.
Single Story Focus
If you have a story you need to prepare, perhaps for a keynote speech or for your website, I help you find the right story, tell it in the best possible way that fits your chosen medium.
Your Next Step
If you are interested in any of these offers, request a conversation with me. We can do this online. This button takes you to a form for email contact. If you prefer, call or text me on: 07887 352841.