3 lessons we learnt about running a business in lockdown #1

3 lessons we learnt about running a business in lockdown #1
Call us optimistic, but we certainly weren’t expecting to find ourselves here again, facing a national lockdown for the month of November. That being said, it’s time to roll with the punches, roll up our sleeves and keep going. Remember, we’ve all survived this before, and so we thought we’d take some time to reflect on the lessons we learnt about running a business in lockdown last time around…
Handpoured Candles

1) don’t panic

Yes, it’s November, so it feels a little heavier this time around, but at least we aren’t going into this second lockdown blind - we know what we can expect this time. Remember what it was that helped businesses to survive throughout the summer - local communities, social media followers giving shout outs, customers searching the internet for small businesses they could buy from to show their support.

We feel confident that the same level of rallying around will happen again, if not even more so as customers vow to support small businesses when shopping for Christmas gifts.

Take a deep breath, remember you’ve survived this before, and don’t let panic set in.

Hand Poured Candles

2) Adapt

Adapting doesn’t mean changing the way you do business forever, or fundamentally flipping your business on its head. It simply means thinking about where your focus is best placed in the short term. For example, with shops closing their doors and shows being cancelled, at the start of the first lockdown we made the decision to ramp up our social media efforts, talking directly to our end customers, and vowing to try to post relevant content every day. This is something we’ve sustained ever since, and a strategy we’ll continue to implement into the future.

Adapting also means taking a look at the type of content and messaging you’re putting out there. Whilst it can be heart breaking going back to the drawing board when you had your November content plan perfected, the last thing you would want is to be stubborn, stick to the original plan and appear insensitive for whatever reason. For example, with many of our Christmas shows cancelled in November, it would be silly of us to push ahead with our scheduled event emails and social media posts. Instead we’ll be focussing on what we can offer our lovely customers in lockdown - deliveries direct to loved ones, gift wrapped products with handwritten notes and delightfully scented candles to make their homes cosy for round two.

Remember, being agile is what makes small businesses so fantastic - we can spot opportunities and adapt quickly enough to make them work in our favour!

Soy Candles

3) Don’t make comparisons

1) Don’t compare yourself to others

We’ve all been there, especially on social media - somebody else’s business seems to be doing SO much better than yours, even in lockdown! Just remember, social media is a highlights reel and that small business owner could be thinking the exact same thing about your business. I’ve seen a quote going around over the last week which sums this up perfectly:

“We’re not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm.”

2) Don’t compare your situation to “what might have been”

During the first lockdown we were terrible for this - comparing sales to the same months last year, checking stats for this and stats for that, attempting to forecast in unprecedented circumstances - it ended up being counter-productive. We’ve vowed this time not to compare this November to last November, and to simply treat the next four weeks as an opportunity to be creative, adapt and see how we go. We will (hopefully) never have another November like this again, so don’t rile yourself up with what could have been, and just crack on with what is.

Outside of the business lessons we’ve learnt this year, personally I think the most important thing this time is to be more forgiving of ourselves. If you have unproductive days this month - forgive yourself! If you feel down in the dumps - forgive yourself! Even if you eat your entire advent calendar before the 1st December comes around - forgive yourself (and then buy yourself another one!). I hope this has been a helpful read and not just a therapy session for myself, and I hope that whether you run a business or not, the lessons we’ve learnt can be transferred into your personal life too. We would love to hear what you think, and what lessons you learnt over the summer that will get you through the next four weeks. Please do get in touch - we would love to hear them!
In the meantime, take care of yourselves, and stay safe,
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