As the owner of a small business that is considered an essential service, I’m trying to serve my clients as best I can right now, reaching out to them to understand their needs and provide solutions.
At the same time, I’m looking inward as a business owner and trying to figure out how to best manage my own operations. Like many of you reading this, I’m putting in long days keeping my own company and my clients’ businesses operational – while also worrying about family and friends, figuring out how to grocery shop while physical distancing, and trying to stay fit and healthy. As I mentioned in my previous blog – What Does “Real Help” From a Business Look Like Right Now? – never have small business owners been challenged on so many fronts at once. The double-whammy of an economic and health crisis is unique in recent history.
As a “boutique” property management firm, I’m too small to have enough laptops on hand for my 30 office staff to use at home, but too big to qualify for government assistance. I have staff on the ground who would like wage increases because they are required to deal with the public during the pandemic, and I’m scrambling to find work for other staff, so that I don’t have to lay them off. And although our work load has increased substantially, our income has decreased drastically.
It’s a familiar story across the country.
As if that’s not enough pressure, my inbox is flooded with emails telling me what I MUST do as a business leader during this time, and what I MUST do to re-invent myself and market myself in this “time of uncertainty”. Another set of emails is already telling me what I MUST to do once this is all over to move forward in the “new normal”.
Now, I get that many of the people behind these emails are well-meaning. But I also understand that their business model is based on making me feel like I’m running behind, and that I need their expertise to catch up. Like most small and medium-size business owners, I don’t have the luxury of a large HR department or leadership team who can mull over the latest think pieces – we’re all working as hard as we can right now to keep our clients, companies and staff afloat, while simultaneously dealing with our own personal stresses around the pandemic.
What I’d really like to see in my inbox – in every small business owner’s inbox across this country – is an email congratulating us on doing the best we can: giving us a “thumbs-up” for juggling a hundred different worries, working to serve the people in our communities in new ways, and keeping the lights on so that we have businesses to return to when all this is over.
We’re doing it without the benefit of economic advisors, global connections, or deep pockets to reduce our risks. And the things that the marketing gurus are advising us to do – communicate, be creative, be charitable, and get ahead with technology – are the things most businesses should already be doing, and that many small businesses who are relationship-based, are already good at. From my local coffee shop owner, who’s on Instagram, advertising bike deliveries of coffee beans, to my fitness trainer, who’s offering one-on-one outdoor workouts with physical distancing and sanitized equipment – everyone’s doing the best that they can.
At Transpacific, we believe that strong working relationships are at the heart of every successful portfolio. If you’d like to start a conversation – please give us a call at 604 873 8591.