Updated: Jul 7, 2020
It is inevitable. As a business owner, there will be times when problems arise. The market stops supporting your product, there is a loss in your family, or a pandemic comes along, and your product or service isn't viable. What the heck do you do?
Here are some basic ideas to get you moving again against the odds.
Remember, "My Pet Rock?" I don't, but I remember how dumb it sounded. I could play with all the rocks I wanted in my back yard for free. I was certain one rock had dinosaur bones in it, and I was about to make a major discovery. It was just a piece of weird graveled concrete, but whatever, I was 5. This pet rock thing went crazy. Parents didn't want to buy a real pet, so in working off of the wild imaginings of a child, this idea worked. After the imagination wore off the pet rock industry, kids went back to asking for live pets.
How it Evolved
Full disclosure, I know nothing about the pet rock industry. But I'm excellent at seeing patterns and trends. I noticed that little stuffed animals or plastic baby dolls and key chains that would cry or get our attention when we would need to feed them or take care of them. Thus, the pet rock suddenly came to life. Today we even have a planter that will cry if it hasn't been watered or cared for. I know, weird but true! The human wanted a deeper connection, and the industry supported that.
What We Learned
Humanity will drive the market. Their fear, concerns, desires, and bucket lists will always be a priority. As human needs and wants change, so will the market, and whoever is there to offer something innovative will be the temporary winner of the day, but only for a certain number of days until the needs shift.
How to Stay Relevant In a Changing Market
Staying relevant is easy, study human behavior. Learn about Meyers-Briggs Typology. We love www.personalityhacker.com. Joel and Antonia are fantastic teachers. You can take the test for free, and Todd and I both feel this is the best free assessment you will find on the Internet. Todd and I are obsessed with understanding how people work mentally and emotionally. (Want a sneak peek into Todd and Kyra? We are INFJs, Look it up on Personality Hacker.)
Toilet Paper Caper
Take the great toilet paper caper of 2020. Who knew toilet paper would make people feel the safest? Once it started happening and the shelves were emptying, I took a step back and considered the future. Every entrepreneur needs to have a mental crystal ball, where you can get a sense of all the possible outcomes and scenarios—not worrying, not fearing, just considering what can happen as a result of any challenge.
For example, I knew once everyone felt safe, they would stop buying TP. Once everyone had more than enough, they would stop buying TP. And once everyone realized they couldn't price gouge an innocent person by buying an abundance of hand sanitizer and TP, it would even out. And it did. My only hope is that the TP industry also realized it. Now, most people have more TP than they can use in 6 months. Which means, people will not buy as much TP. Also, they started looking for alternatives like a bidet; I couldn't scroll one inch on Facebook without seeing an ad for a bidet attachment. In case you don't know, a bidet washes away, well, shoots water, um you know where, after using the restroom. They saw a need and gave a new option for the buyer, which could be potentially better for the environment—double bonus.
Simple Steps to Make Sure You Stay Viable
See a need and fill the gap: *Special Note* If you are nervous about technology, now is the time to move past that concern. If you have a business right now mid pandemic, you will need to have a willingness to be self-taught, take a class, or have someone help you. Because you will need it in any business going forward, especially virtual conferencing. Doing a little research into what people in your industry are needing can be helpful. When there was a shortage of ventilators, GM, Tesla, Ford, and Dyson started making ventilators. It was a human need, but looking from all angles, a major boost to these businesses. They will make money from the effort, and they are doing something that makes a significant difference and saving lives. Humans remember these things. Anheuser-Busch, primarily a beer company, and Christian Dior, a perfume company, started making hand sanitizers to fill the need. What do you already do that you can change in some small way to make a bigger impact?
Use your mental crystal ball to consider all possible outcomes: Any problem, challenge or setback that comes your way, take a moment, one deep breath, and even close your eyes and consider all possible outcomes. Do this before you panic and remain as objective as possible. Am I the only geek here that watched intently as Dr. Strange played out all possible scenarios to gain victory over Thanos in Avengers Infinity War? He mystically did just what I’m suggesting, only with higher stakes and a better cloak. A great leader will always step back before saying anything and evaluate, ask for input, and make a determination on facts, insights, potential outcomes, and have the understanding that, at any time, things can change.
Determine new options for your buyers to still buy from you: I love brain teasers! I think they help me think outside of the box. Do you want to know a trick about brainteasers? The simplest answer is usually the correct one. Take this one for example. You are faced with 3 doors, you have to choose one door to get you to freedom. Behind the first door, there is an erupting volcano and you will likely be burned alive. Behind the second door are thousands of deadly venomous spiders that will jump on you, and behind the third door, there are hundreds of lions who haven’t eaten in 2 months. Which door do you choose? Why? (The answer is at the end of this article.) I totally stole this one from Bright Side on YouTube (https://bit.ly/3e6q4Uj), a great place for daily brain teasers. You may be thinking, “What does this have to do with anything?” When you do a brain teaser, it is proven to improve overall memory and brain function as well as mental processing speed. Brain teasers and fun mental games help you consider options and look outside of your normal comprehension and innovate new ideas. How can you produce something in a way that will be recession, economy, and disaster proof? What is something everyone needs and might feel incomplete without, mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually?
Create multiple streams of income: One way to be truly recession and economy proof is to diversify. You can have one main offering, for example: publishing. At As You Wish Publishing, we have our main umbrella of publishing. Under publishing, we can do a bunch of things. We can offer different types of books, audios, classes. We can serve different types of authors and we can create book opportunities that fulfill a need. When the pandemic started, I felt drawn to offer a book about hope that everyone could participate in for free. It was a soulful project. We experienced a number of benefits to creating this project. One primary benefit was connecting with our customers in a time when we all needed it the most. Humans remember kindness. Humans remember the connection. We can create books—well done, polished, empowering, and hope-filled books—that everyone can participate in which add to a sense of belonging. When you have a business with a heart at its center, you will never fail to have mass appeal. Because that’s how humans work, and the study of humans makes everything about your business better.
No matter what, I promise you, as massively successful and as impactful and brilliant your business is, it will, at some point come against some challenge. It isn’t a bad thing. I feel it’s an opportunity to stay on the leading edge of growth. If you can ride that edge in a way that will keep moving you forward, you cannot fail. Even if the business changes shape or totally fails, you will have learned more from that failure than any textbook or master’s level business-class could ever teach you. Keep reflecting on who you are and trust your instincts. Allow your heart, mind, and customers to guide you.
Answer To the Brain Teaser: Door 3. The lions haven't eaten in 2 months. They probably aren't alive any longer, so you should be able to walk past to freedom. Poor lions. :(