During this uncertain time in our lives, it has been a difficult time to move forward. For me, it’s almost like we are all in this weird limbo of standstill. We are moving forward, but not really. Many of our decisions and next steps are going to be based on how this virus evolves and reacts, but none of us know what that will look like or how long it will be. We are in very unchartered waters, with no real idea of where north is or where our oars are.
All of the uncertainty has people and companies less eager to buy or try something new. You don’t want to plan too far ahead, because you don’t know when things are going to happen or how things will change. Resulting in feeling stuck, or on pause until further notice.
For many us, me especially, this can be pretty difficult. How can we continue to move the needle forward in business, or keep working towards that goal, sale, whatever, if we don’t even know what next week will look like?
As soon as I felt listless and a little lost, I knew I had to find some kind of solution so I could keep moving forward. At that time, I had these recurring thoughts of:
“How can I continue to add value today?”
“How can I continue to make a difference and move forward?”
“How can I show up for my team, my managers, and my candidates at this time?”
I believe that we can continue to move forward, to trudge through this fog of unknown by slowing down for a minute, calming down, and then focusing on how we can add value to our customers, clients, colleagues, friends, and communities in these times of need.
Thought leaders in self-help, like Tony Robbins, say that to get out of a sad or negative mindset, all you have to do is stop focusing on yourself and give all that energy to someone else. Once you stop focusing on what’s wrong with your situation, and put that energy to helping and serving others everything changes and turns around. Your mood, your perspective, your focus, your business.
Then the question becomes, “How can you add value during hard times?” These are times that people, customers, clients are going to be more conservative, less open to buying or trying new things, and may even be in a place of cutting back on resources and expenses. All very understandable and very reasonable.
Which makes it difficult to sell the widget, the way you did before. You have to get creative and get thinking about it (whatever you are selling) with a different approach and goal in mind.
But, how? How do you do this?
I have no idea. Every business, niche, and industry is going to be different. BUT the steps of getting there, and forming your ideas around how to add value, should be the same.
Below are the steps on HOW I am coming up with ideas on how to continue to add value today.
- Create an idea soup – An idea soup is like a big brainstorm session. You take a pen to paper and for 10-20 minutes write down any idea that comes to mind when you ask yourself the question, “how can I continue to add value?” No matter how dumb or weird the ideas may feel, write it down anyway with no judgment attached. At first, it will be awkward and tough to come up with ideas, but once you stop judging your ideas and just let go and keep writing, I promise you great ideas will pop up. When I did this, what was even better than the ideas was how GOOD it felt doing it. I got a burst of energy and excitement I was lacking before.
- Get creative – Since we are in a time that we have never been in before, we have to adjust and do things in new ways that we have never done before. We need to get creative. We need to step outside of the box, let our minds wander and think to ourselves, “Where is the opportunity here?” “How can I do this differently?” Step out of your old routines, step out of your comfort zone of how you do things, and try something different. There is always a way, an answer, you just have to be open to it, get creative and give it a try.
- Free Content – In my opinion, nothing shows your customer/client that you care, more than providing free content or services. When you give someone something for free, it is one of the most selfless acts in business. You are giving them material, or helping them with providing advice, just simply to help them and show them that you care. Maybe you write a blog post or record a video with advice or how-to on something. Those small selfless acts, those are ways you can add tremendous value to your clients during a tough time. “What part of your business knowledge can you give away for free today, just to help them out?”
- Take action – Now that you have the ideas, the creative juices are flowing, and you are in the state of giving without receiving, take action. Take action on all of it, right now. You can have a life-altering idea and plan that will change your customers’ whole experience during this time, but in order to make that change and make that difference, you need to act on it. No matter where you are, no matter how ready or not you feel, just take that first step.
These are tough and uncertain times, but maybe this is happening so we can all reassess what is important. Revisit our beloved customer and put them first again. Making sure that we are providing them with the best experience and the most value that we humanly possibly can.
Let’s change our focus to them, how can we help them right now, how can we show up for them.
And remember it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to come from the heart and from a place of trying to add value to their life right now.
Do whatever you can, with whatever you got, wherever you are. You’ve got this.