Starting a business during an economic downturn? I started my first business during the great recession of '08–a business I built into a multi-6-figure company and later sold. When I look back, I realize it was a less than ideal time to start and grow my business.
You might be confronted with the same thought as you navigate building and growing your business during COVID-19.
Yes, on the surface, now is definitely a less than ideal time to be an entrepreneur. But when we dig a little deeper, we discover a beautiful truth: you can design a business you love, even in uncertain times.
In today's blog post, I'm sharing how I started my business during an economic downturn.
I've been reflecting back on that time and all the uncertainties we faced. All the lives that were changed and the struggle that came out of the financial crisis in 2008.
How was I able to build a business during that time?
A business that grew, quickly, to become successful in a marketplace where some of our customers lost everything.
A business that I was able to sell in October of 2019.
Here's a glimpse into the things that I did, that I whole-heartedly believe were the key to my success during a time of great uncertainty and hardship:
I WROTE A BUSINESS PLAN
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. This is at the bottom of your list to do right now! But hear me out…
When I decided to start a business, the first thing I did was write a business plan. I took my time with it, too, spending almost a full year figuring out what I wanted my business to be.
I believe that is the reason why I was able to build such a successful business during a time when so many other companies failed. It was my secret sauce, and I want it to be yours.
If you're new in business, you recognize writing a business plan is the first step in casting a vision for your future. It's also the way you'll uncover who your ideal customers are, how you can reach them, what services you'll provide, and what kind of money you can expect to make.
But for my OG's, who have been in the game for a while, you're probably thinking you don't need this. I'm here to tell you–you still do.
A business plan isn't something you write, hand in, and forget about. It's a document that you carry with you throughout your journey as an entrepreneur, one you can go back to for guidance, foresight, and commitment.
It'll provide you with the vision you need to see into the future, and the strategy it'll take to get there.
Do yourself a huge favor: write a business plan or dust off that dusty document. Dig in. Uncover what you want for your meaningful business, decide who you want to work with, and the strategy to make it happen will come.
If you need help, here is the perfect resource for you:
- Download my free Business Plan Outline + Guide to get jumpstarted
I WORKED HARD AT CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS
Armed with my business plan and the world at my back, I set out to meet people.
A lot of people.
I knew that to grow a business, I had to get in front of people who were already a few steps ahead of me. I worked hard at networking, meeting like-minded entrepreneurs in my industry from all walks of life.
The one similarity they all shared was they had already positioned themselves in front of the clients I wanted to attract.
These relationships that I cultivated have spanned over a decade and became some of my most cherished friendships and partnerships.
My effort in meeting people was more than brand awareness or asking them to send me referrals. It was about establishing a network and a community of peers who could, together, help everyone to rise.
And that's what we did.
In this uncertain time, I am encouraging you to do the same. Communities are what will see us through this pandemic and this economic crisis. Get out there and connect with like-minded people who have the power to lift you up and take you along with them.
I NEVER DOUBTED WHAT I WAS CAPABLE OF
Being 26 at the time, I was pretty fearless. So much of my life was still ahead of me, and I had a lot to learn.
But one thing is for sure–I never doubted myself or what I was capable of. And trust me when I tell you, I had every reason to.
I always knew I would make it happen–whatever “it” was–and all I had to do was press on. Keep the faith. Trust in the process. Learn and do. Pivot when necessary.
I never doubted my ability to do all of that, and that's why I was able to build a business during a time of considerable uncertainty.
I want you to know that you can design a business that you love–and one that WILL flourish–even in uncertain times. Trust in yourself and your abilities. You've done hard things before, and you will have to do hard things again.
The good news? You have a 100% track record for making it through hard things.
So let that guide you as you move forward. Believe in yourself, your business, and your purpose.
A business grown out of these times will be fundamentally different from companies that soar during good times. You'll be scrappier, smarter, more macgyver-esque. You'll know how to make two pennies last a lot longer, and you'll be able to get more done with less.
I hope this has encouraged you that you CAN build a business in uncertain times–and that there are a few steps you can take to do it quicker, better, and faster.
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