As I sit down to write another Tavern Times article, I am thinking about all the things we are facing in business over the next six months to a year. I know you have heard me says this many times, but thinking time is critical to running a successful business. If I say it/preach it, then I sure as heck better be doing it myself!
It is amazing to me all the places that we have to find creative business ideas. First and foremost is us. If we take the time to stop and utilize our thinking time, then it is amazing what we can accomplish. Our ability to think through problems is unlike any other animal on the planet. However, in today’s fast-paced society, we have to slow down and let our brains do the slow work of being a problem solver. A good friend of mine, and business owner, always says go slow if you want to speed up. I never really understood him until I hit a bump in my business. Once I slowed down and put some thinking time into our problem, I was able to see the solution and our business picked right back up.
The perfect example was when covid hit the US. While my business wasn’t shut down, our incoming calls from prospects went from 20 per week, down to 2. A 90% drop, overnight. My solution was some serious thinking time, which was hard to do when I had a bad case of the flu. If any of you had watched my videos, you would have seen how sick I was at that time. I powered through the illness (not covid, tested negative twice and that test is not fun!) and kept on with my marketing hat to find new ways to get people into our office.
Second, we should be turning to our teams. When you find yourself stuck, don’t hesitate to ask your team for their opinion. They are the ones interacting with your clients on a daily basis and hear the feedback. Additionally, they often overhear the negative things that no one wants to say about your business. It amazes me how many of us don’t turn to our teams for answers, and I am learning the importance of turning to my team on a daily basis. Not only will you get a new perspective, but you are increasing employee morale by asking them to take on a vital role in the business.
Third, look to other business owners. Everyone loves to help. You actually get two benefits when asking other business owners for solutions. First, the simple act of asking the questions strengthens your friendship with them. You build a better connection and you can learn from someone who may have already dealt with your same issue. Usually you get the solution faster than if you were trying to go at the process alone.
Four, look to the internet. I just found an article on CNBC about how the candy companies are dealing with the potential difficulties surrounding how to have a safe and successful Halloween. The candy companies are coming up with creative ideas so that kids can still trick-or-treat. For example, instead of the kids going door-to-door, there will be scavenger hunts, tie individually wrapped candies to a tree, or even a costume parade. Instead of making a change in their business, the business is helping its customers make a change in their habits which should lead to more sales. Genius!
Lastly, I would say to look to your industry trade group. You might be surprised by the ideas that you can get by sharing your struggle with the trade group and its members. All of our struggles are nothing new, and that means that someone else has already gone through it. While Coronavirus is new, dealing with pandemics is not and many businesses have faced these scary moments in the past. Reach out to your Tavern Association, GIA, Coin Operators Association, or Restaurant Owners Association and get some quality insights into what is happening in the overall industry.
The health officials are telling us to expect a rise in cases come this fall and winter. We all need to be proactive in how we are going to deal with the potential slow-down in business. Now go get busy with some thinking time!