Our three speakers from this Survive and Thrive episode have diverse backgrounds but are experts in what they do. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t experienced the highs and lows of business. Whether you run your own company or work for a large brand, part of life is experiencing success and failure. COVID-19 has made it harder for many people and businesses to succeed, but there is hope for a better future. Our panel discusses the different paths to take to find success in this new normal.
Pivoting, Success and Women-led Businesses
Dana White is the owner of Paralee Boyd, a small chain of walk-in only hair salons in Detroit, Michigan. With COVID-19 hitting service-based businesses especially hard, Dana knows the need behind pivoting.
Dana ended up having the opportunity to help other businesses figure out this new world. So she now owns her hair salon but is also a speaker and consultant to other businesses.
Gabrielle Raymond McGee has a background in helping big brands do good. Before she worked at Tory Burch she was in golf and major league baseball. She also worked in hockey and always believed in the power that sports could bring people together. Tory Burch recruited her about seven years ago to help lead their foundation.
“What I love about Tory is she’s always had a very clear vision, which is to empower women and specifically small business owners. I can’t think of a more important time than now to do that. If you look at the stats, women were undercapitalized before COVID, and it’s even worse now.”
So Gabrielle and the foundation are trying to change that.
Mike Michalowicz is an entrepreneur and author for small businesses. And he knows very well the ups and downs that come along with it. After being quite successful and selling some of his businesses to turn a hefty profit, Mike eventually found himself without anything to show for it.
“I’m now on a mission to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty…There is this gap that we experience, this vision we have as entrepreneurs of what it will be like: financial freedom, independence, to do what you want, when you want.”
But as many know, the reality is that you work your butt off and sometimes see no money.
So Mike’s mission is to close that gap. He’s written books on the topic that go through simple strategies for entrepreneurs. “One of my most popular books is called Profit First, where you stop putting profit last and to use the “Pay Yourself First” principle in your business, so you’re assured profit permanently.”
Get Customer Feedback in Business
Customers are now expecting something new. New environments in restaurants and other former areas where we used to gather. And this information comes by asking, so the number one action you can do right now is reaching out. Reach out to your past clients or patrons and say, “How can we serve you now?” And they’ll give you insights on what they need.
“One restaurant, out of 25 in our area here, reached out to customers and said, “How can we serve you now?” They said, “Well, we need hot meals, but we don’t want to wait for delivery for an hour. And we don’t have the time to come to your place, we feel at risk.” They teamed up with a food truck. A food truck is going into neighborhoods with hot meals and delivering 60 to 80 meals within an hour. That is radically different. So how can this be a grand reinvention for you? This is an opportunity.”
Business owners need to start thinking about who and what their business is going to be in the future.
For Paralee Boyd, that was no longer generating revenue simply by having people in the salon seats. You need to meet your customers where they are, so that getting a line of hair care products that is in line with the business model. And that might even be putting a series of videos up. Stay committed and empower your customers to work in what the new normal is.
Letting Go of the Past
One of the biggest hurdles that business owners have to move through is trying to change their perspective and alter their vision for what is coming up next.
As business owners, you’ve been focused and driven on growing your company but the foundation has been rattled so now the next steps will look different. The business will now come in the new normal and it’s beneficial to add a layer of revenue if possible.
Tips for Starting a Business from Ground Zero
The COVID-19 crisis has forced many of us to get really clear on what actually matters. And so there’s optimism that the best businesses are going to come out of this because they will be clear on what matters.
How to get started? Well, there are many resources out there. And what we see over and over again in the community are entrepreneurs who are trying to do everything by themselves. But that rarely works. Seth Godin spoke to the Tory Burch team and he said, “Do you want to be a freelancer or an entrepreneur?” That’s a powerful question that many people might have not previously considered.
You need to be really clear on what matters to you and what resources are around you. And there are plenty.
The Tory Burch Foundation has a business plan builder that you can just type in your ideas and it generates a custom business plan builder. So you don’t have to just hustle, hustle, hustle, and not go anywhere.
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