As we enter the new Financial Year, we in Sydney and NSW find ourselves in a situation of lockdown for the first time in a while.
Reflecting on the last 12 months has been a great process to go through, and helped us identify areas in which we did well, challenges we faced, how we overcame these, and how we want to improve over the next 12 months.
If these reflections have proven anything to us, it’s that no matter what the economy, the competition, a virus, anyone or anything else is doing – there will always be challenges that come up and nobody is spared these.
How we choose to handle them, however, is the real issue we are faced with, and the ultimate predictor of how we get through it all. Some elements are outside of our control, of course, but our attitude and mindset are always within our control.
As far as I’m concerned (and this is just my personal opinion), we can either become victims of a situation or use it as an opportunity to create something new and/or better for ourselves.
How do you handle a crisis?
At Fortissimo Marketing, we faced a huge challenge a few months ago.
An online platform we heavily relied on in the past, changed its user policy, thus limiting the amount of our output for our clients by 80%, which also jeopardised 80% of our monthly recurring revenue (yep, you read that right - Eight. Zero!).
Yes, there was that nauseating moment of realisation and naturally, fear about the future. But this was soon followed by “ok, so how do we get through this, and quickly?”.
We were forced to pivot, literally, from one moment to the next. The result? We developed a new system to replace the old, and one that was not reliant upon only one platform. Ironically, this new system is now proving to be much more valuable for our clients, too.
A crisis became an opportunity for improvement - who would have guessed?!
We also, thankfully, didn’t lose a single client over this, and were able to finish the financial year with 83% growth on the previous year.
To say we’re happy about that is an understatement, to say the least!
3 Tips for When Sh*t Strikes the Fan
So, why am I sharing this?
Many of us, right now, are faced with yet another challenging situation. One, where a lot of it feels completely outside of our control, and this is causing a lot of fear, anxiety and uncertainty.
Mental health is a concern for many, and often when we get stressed, it's hard to see past the current situation. I'm sharing our story and learnings in the hopes that perhaps even just a tiny part of it might help someone, even if it just triggers a thought that leads to an idea, that leads to a step in a more constructive direction.
Here are my 3 key recommendations that I believe helped us get through this major challenge, unscathed:
1.) Don't be an ostrich
Although it might seem like the easier option – it’s never a good idea to stick your head in the sand. Take some time to breathe and acknowledge how, umm, "undesirable" (being polite here!) the situation is, then redirect your focus to the future, knowing that you’re more than capable of figuring this out.
2.) Be open to new ideas
Believe it or not, your situation is probably not unique and there are most likely many other people who have faced the same or a similar problem before. Talking to people you trust will help you realise that you’re not alone, and assist you in developing a solution.
They might even take you down a completely unexpected path that ends up being much better than you expected! Being open to new ideas is obviously important, this is not the time to think you know it all.
3.) Be transparent with your clients
Whether this is good or bad, I know that I’m my own biggest critic. But one thing I do know I’m good at and that I have learned through over 15 years of client facing roles, is that speaking up when things go wrong is appreciated more often than not. I've found that being transparent is usually met with more understanding than criticism.
As soon as we'd figured out a new solution for our clients, we had individual, open conversations with each of them, explaining the issue and then presenting our solution. This actually helped shape the end result of our new service, too, because we were flexible and invited them to weigh in on how things would continue.
Obviously, every problem we face is different, so the approach required will differ. The important part here though, in my opinion, is mindset, attitude and communication.
As they say - "this too shall pass". Things might get stressful but as humans, we're a resilient bunch, and there is always a solution. The current state of affairs with COVID-19 might be challenging, but we'll get through it.
Being a Friday evening and a rainy, locked-down weekend on the horizon, please feel free to send me your Netflix recommendations and favourite baking recipes - no doubt you can guess what I'll be getting up to! :)
Wishing you a great weekend ahead, and the very best for your next financial year.
P.s. If you'd like to chat about how marketing can help your business grow, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm all about helping wherever I can, especially in times like these. And, as always: no hard-nosed sales pitches, ever - guaranteed!