Navigating 2020: Practical Advice from Key4Women Experts
Women business owners stand ready to connect through networks like ours to listen, engage and offer expertise. We conducted a series of individual conversations with members to uncover some practical tips on navigating the complexity and challenges of 2020.
- Utilize your network for expertise, knowledge and reassurance.
- Your digital presence is more important than ever before.
- Gain positivity by gifting yourself.
Since the Roaring ‘20s parties welcomed in the 2020 New Year, our world has changed significantly, including how we work. It’s been a year of adjusting to altered workspaces, managing work and employees from home and, in many cases, pivoting our businesses to adjust to new circumstances in markets and in the world. We have adapted to rapid-fire change for months, and our new normal is beginning to take hold on both a business and personal level.
"Now more than ever, it’s important to lean into our networks for expertise, knowledge sharing and an ounce – or maybe a pound – of reassurance," said Barb Smith, Director, Key4Women. "Our Key4Women members across the nation are strong strategists, experts at flexibility, calm leaders and niche professionals who willingly give their expertise for the future success of one another."
Here are some quick tips for navigating the new normal of 2020 from our experts at Key4Women:
Personal and professional plans have been rewritten this year, and success may look very different than just a few months ago. What can women business owners do for themselves each day to help stay positive and productive?
"Most of us have not managed ourselves or our businesses through times like these," commented Jane Scudder, CEO, The New Exec. "The challenges facing all of us this year can be overwhelming. It is important to gift yourself micro moments of accomplishment each day. Whether a business or personal accomplishment, let yourself savor small – and of course large – moments of satisfaction as often as possible. Choose activities that help you feel fulfilled."
Maintain Your Presence
To solidify your business presence in the market, it’s important to keep communicating during an economic downcycle, whenever possible. "Many of us know that marketing budgets are often the first items cut when the economy is vulnerable to market downturns," said Kristen Lundbeck, director of Advanced Advertising Sales at Spectrum Research. "In some cases, the pause may be warranted, such as when messaging is not relevant, or even inappropriate for the situation. However, research has shown that there is opportunity in a softening economy for a small business to solidify their place in the market."
Also, business owners and marketers should audit and revise their company’s digital profile as business hours change, or services are expanded or limited. Updating your digital profile ensures that those using search to find your business have the most accurate information about your company.
Fuel Your Body and Mind
"During extended periods of crisis and uncertainty, it is important to guard our minds and our thoughts," comments Aneta Ardelian Kuzma, CEO, Ardelian Kuzma Group. If we consistently consume television news and social media focused on crisis and fear, we can negatively impact our thinking and activate our sympathetic fight-or-flight nervous system.
As a certified wellness and nutrition coach, Kuzma recommends that we invest in our self-care and personal health and well-being. "There is a lot happening in the world today over which we have little control," she said. "One thing we can control, to a certain extent, is our own personal health and well-being."
Fuel your body with proper nutrition and exercise, develop a positive mindset and surround yourself, virtually if needed, with like-minded, positive, energetic people – and don’t forget to give back, counsels Kuzma.
Build a Strong Digital House
Pain points of small businesses shifted overnight with the onset of COVID-19 earlier this year. For some, this required a complete pivot in the way to conduct business. In March, conversations with consultants quickly turned to "How do I build a landing page or an e-commerce site? How do I change the background on Zoom?"
"Brick-and-mortar businesses with an online offering had an advantage during the first few weeks of the pandemic and an ongoing advantage as 2020 plays out," said Cheryl Perez, CEO at BIG-HR and CCP Enterprises. "We can assume that a strong digital presence will remain critical to businesses the foreseeable future. Our in-person world has been altered, possibly for years to come."
Nurture Your Networks, Find Your Mentors
Janet Kendall White, CEO of Berkshire Group, Inc., relies on her network of peers and advisors during this tumultuous time. "From legal advice, to family management, to how to be an influential spokesperson using digital video, organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Women Business Enterprise Council Ohio River Valley (WBENC ORV) are critical to staying connected, plus access counsel and resources quickly."
Your board of directors (or mentors) are a handful of people you can count on to see your potential and help you plan to achieve it. "If I were giving advice to my 28-year-old daughter, I would tell her that mentors come from many different places," said White. "Early in my career I relied on books. John Maxwell, Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins were my mentors. It’s much easier now to connect with people and stay in touch."
According to Julie Kratz, CEO of Next Pivot Point, as we continue to navigate this extended time of high stress, it may be an ideal time to pause and "reset" with a bit of mental self-care. Does your work still give you energy? Do you enjoy your work enough that you lose track of time while you are doing it? If not, is it time to pivot? Listen closely to your answers and plan from them.
Journaling is also recommended by Kratz. "When you put your fears and challenges in writing they become less powerful," she commented. "In addition, positive journaling helps to envision your future. What do you want 2021 to look like? By mid-2021, what do you want to look back on and say, 'I did it'?"