by Katherine Morales, APR
A pandemic, a crisis, a social movement inspiring long overdue change. The currents are shifting in our society and lives, and it’s safe to assume the same may be happening in your business. I’m an entrepreneur, in my fourth year in business, and I have a background of working with major companies through crises. Companies such as Chick-fil-A, and crises that dealt with everything from overcoming socio-political divisions, to saving crucial funding for people with developmental disabilities and communities in dire need of redevelopment. However, for the first time, I’m not just guiding other businesses through these crises; I’m also in them myself.
There are two principles I regularly practice, which are ingrained in my work, even prior to these current events; and, I also see how essential they are in taking on these challenges. It’s my intention these principles will inspire you to persevere and have faith that your business can (and will) continue through this; and, perhaps, come out even stronger on the other side.
The Factor of Fear
You started your year and it was the best it’s been yet; after all, you did all that planning and it was the start of a new decade, full of new opportunities you were ready to take! Or, perhaps your start to this year was slower than expected, slower than you could manage, and, when the first crisis hit (and then the next), it felt like a tsunami. In either scenario, the reality is that this IS the everyday nature of business; we’re always living on a spectrum. There are varying conditions professionally and/or personally that may hit your business at any given time (not just now); recognizing that fear is always a factor of choice is the first step to overcoming a challenge.
In the journey of becoming an entrepreneur, the risk factor is high from its inception. Perhaps you’re like me, and you thought, at one point, that initial fear would fade away – maybe a year or so in. By the time I reached two years in business, I realized it’s not about escaping one’s fear to hold on to hope; instead, running a business successfully requires us to transcend it entirely.
The challenge of today’s crises is not to deny the natural fears you may feel; but instead, to more wholly embrace your faith and ability to weather any storm.
Your Authentic Strength
It’s easy to look at other businesses in the same industry, selling the “same” product or services and think we ARE the same. Think we ARE competitors. But that’s simply the surface, and a thought that feeds your fears; when what we really should remind ourselves is that every business IS different…that WE are different.
When a crisis hits, it’s essential to have the ability to lean on your Authentic Brand, because your authentic self IS what gives you a stable ground and the strength to stand and keep moving forward, with the certainty that your business can prevail over any challenge.
Why? Because recognizing your authenticity means you understand that there is only one you: One you to sustain this trying time, and one you to serve, protect, guide or teach others through the work you do and/or the products you sell.
If there is one thing I learned in working with big brands through crises, which I’ve adopted in my own business and advise other businesses to prioritize, it is to know your strength, what makes you unique and unlike any other. That way, when the day comes where the winds blow strong, you’ll withstand it because your roots run true and deep.