When the pandemic first hit...
Bosses were not quite sure how to navigate the entrepreneurial waters when the pandemic first hit. Seeing people getting sick, hearing of death trucks driving through NYC, and record breaking unemployment rates all made it feel inhumane to post a perfectly quaffed photo of a brand to encourage someone to buy. But then something amazing happened.
Bosses began to pivot their businesses. Online bosses started to see higher sales than in previous months and we began to feel comfortable navigating in our new normal.
Then Tragedy hit...
Images and video footage began to flood our timelines showing a country torn due to social injustice while trying to deal with the onslaught of COVID-19 . As the nation becomes more divided and we continue to feel an array of emotions, one thing that is certain for entrepreneurs, is that business owners will have to continue to run their business. What's even more certain, is that "running" your business now looks different than it did earlier this year. Knowing how to navigate these new waters will be a new required skill for bosses.
How can you be empathetic and a thriving business?
If you are a 100% entrepreneur or depend on your business as a strong source of supplemental income for you and your family just not working your business during this time may seem like a recipe for financial disaster. I understand. I literally went to post something about my book Tribe, and struggled with writing the right copy. I did not want to seem as if I was negating all of the unrest that is going on at the moment. So I had to coach myself on the best way to continue to build my sales (cause let's face it... my daughter's college tuition is due) while being empathetic and brave enough to address what's going on. So in true Nicole fashion, I decided that I couldn't just create gems for myself! I wanted to share these gems with you as well! Let's take a look at these three tips to get you selling again!
1.Address The Issue Do Not Remain Silent ...
Staying quiet says more than you know. This is a time where you need to build a connection with your audience. Whether you share a post, a live, or a letter from the CEO on your website, acknowledge that the world is in a state of unrest. Acknowledge that people are hurting that that we are certainly in unprecedented times. Caroline Wanga, VP of Diversity and Inclusion for Target Corporation gave us an amazing reminder while speaking at the Essence Virtual Summit that failing to address what is occurring and how it impacts your consumers is deafening and will cause you to seem as if you are not in touch with how your targeted market is impacted. Although, Wanga shared these sentiments when addressing how business owners should navigate entrepreneurial waters during the onset of national stay at home orders, the same could be said for what we are experiencing now. I mean, imagine, you sitting there trying to figure out which flat lay picture of your new line of tshirts pops the most and is worthy enough to grace your IG page, all while the nation is burning. Burning and people see you say NOTHING. Imagine what message that sends to your tribe. Imagine how that minimizes your tribes pain, hurt, and frustration.
Listen, I'm one for dramatic flair but I promise, I'm not blowing this out of proportion. Just this past Monday morning as I was doing my usual review of my IG feed (barely awake), I came across a post of someone who shared that she was searching to see if brands were addressing the issue. She was just interested to see their thoughts and stance on the issue. Do you know which post she absolutely loved. It was a post by no other than Mr. Christian Louboutin. The world renown designer shared his story of dealing with racism. What did this consumer do? She shared his story too. She shared this post so others could see because she had no clue that he had such a relatable story to share. Hey, I'm not telling you to air laundry that you do not wish to share but I am telling you that making a connection among your tribe is imperative when building brand loyalty. If you haven't shared anything yet, please do so now.
Sell from the lens of your tribe
Selling from the lens of the tribe, means that you are in touch with your market and you understand what they NEED from you at this time. Do you see the difference? The difference is that what they need from you at this time may look a lot different than what they needed from your brand before. They may need empathy, resources, products, or assistance. As owner of your brand you have to assess if you can fulfill those needs as is or if you are going to need to be agile and pivot that business of yours. This is not the time for you to force your agenda on your TRIBE, this is a time where you need to do your JOB boss. That means that you should always be able to assess the need and provide the solution. But the reality is you haven't always done it and now... your slip is showing! What does that mean? That means for those of you who haven't really used best practices in marketing and sales before, you may find it difficult to start now. But believe me, this is a necessity more than ever. So get in tune with your tribe, figure out what they need and make sure that you position your brand to be the answer!
Oooohhhh but boss, let's be honest. I'm sure I'm over here asking you to do a lot that makes you feel like you are out of your comfort zone. I get it. However you have to understand that running your brand in this new normal is going to require that you be stretched. Stretching you and challenging yourself as a boss is not synonymous with changing up who you are. You should always ensure that you are in alignment with the core values of your company. I want you to be authentic to who you are. Whatever you do , do not throw your tribe an insincere curve ball, that will get you attention you DO NOT want. Don't believe me, check out our dear Democrats who not only took a knee but also decided to wear Kente cloth stoles. Although the intention seemed sincere, the effort confused supporters and tons of press came from the posting of this image. Just show up authentically and leave all the extra stunts at home!
Where to go from here...
Run your business. Don't be afraid to continue to thrive. Do it in a way that shows who you are as the CEO behind the brand. And be empathetic in realizing that you have a demographic of customers that may have been traumatized in more ways than you realize with the recent events in 2020. Know the pulse of your people and serve them with your business.
Nicole Doss is a mother, speaker, author, founder, and CEO of the Prestige Society and Girl Guess What is a compilation of thoughts ideas, and ah-ha moments all curated in one space for the girl boss! Read, have fun, and add a comment if you like!