• Gina DiStefano

Coronavirus is Affecting My Business. Now What?

It's time to come together and support each other.

Coffee, hustle

Two weeks ago I had the stomach flu. I was down and out, and irritated I couldn’t work. That was my biggest annoyance. Last week my world was flipped upside down. This global Coronavirus pandemic caused me to buy extra toilet paper (for what, I don't know), home-school my kids and lose valuable clients. As I write this, I have no idea what day it is and like many of you, I’m struggling to keep myself out of constant freak-out mode.

Here’s the thing, I’m in fear just like everyone else. The difference is, I’m also in gratitude and excitement. I’m seeing this for what it really is; a wake up call. In less than 2 weeks, everything we thought we knew about life and our businesses has been called into question.

Many have described this as surreal. It is in a way. Like something out of a movie. We're staying home in fear, with a terrifying virus lurking outside we know little about. Our economy is in question, people are out of work (and toilet paper) and our kids are on a three-week hiatus from school.

So, now what?

Look around. I mean really look around. For the first time in a long time, we have collectively leveled the playing field. There’s no hiding anymore. The curtain has been pulled. We are all in the same boat. As business owners and leaders, it got real, fast.

This is an incredible time for us to come together, support each other, and understand we’ve done nothing wrong as business owners and employees. If you have to close your doors, or you're laid off, know you have not failed. This is out of anyone's control. You will come back, it will get better, we will rebuild.

Don't panic.

This situation is forcing us to look at everything differently. Here’s how I have been advising my clients and peers, and it’s proving to be incredibly helpful. We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us. Listen up people. Now is the time you can set yourself apart.

People need help. What is it about YOU that you can offer others? How about kindness and compassion?

I want to give you a challenge.

This week, while we’re all in isolation, I want you to go through your book of business. Current clients, past clients, etc. I want you to reach out and simply ask them how they are, and what you can do for them. A simple, friendly, gesture. Let them know they’re not alone and offer hope.

I have incorporated that into my everyday life even before this crisis. Kindness breeds more kindness. I am open, honest and vulnerable, it’s who I am. Everyone can be and that’s the secret to success. Everyone is in fear right now. Offer your heart and your expertise without asking anything in return. It's not a business pitch, it's a friend reaching out and offering help.

This too shall pass.

We have a small window of time to truly capitalize in a positive way. People will remember those who are showing up to just offer a shoulder. I have been paying very close attention to the way business owners are responding to this panic. I am taking copious notes of those companies that I will do business with down the road. Do I need junk removal right now? No. But I'll be calling JDog Junk Removal when I do because I’m blown away by how he’s supporting his employees and community right now. People are watching. Stand out.

So while you're sitting on your couch wondering how your business will survive, reach out to some contacts and start creating a reputation that people will seek soon after this is over. Which it will be.

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