It’s time to start rebuilding.
That was the resounding message at a recent micro business forum via Impact Calgary that I was part of.
Impact Calgary seeks to inspire, launch and grow tech-enabled businesses that have social impact.
A micro business is defined as 10 employees or less. They account for nearly 74 per cent of all Canadian business.
The resounding message from the 26 speakers and 146 individuals who participated in the forum?
It’s time for micro businesses. Time to start rebuilding. Time to start thinking different. Time to really dig into our values and understand why we’re in business. Time to move forward with new purpose.
It’s just time.
This starts with having conversations with yourself, your team and your audience – those you serve. This brings clarity about what’s truly important to your audience. As you begin this drive forward, there are three underlying ideas to guide these conversations for growth.
Opportunity is immense
Micro businesses are primed for opportunities. While the world itself may be slow to change, micro businesses can adapt quickly simply due to their size.
New markets are opening up, particularly with the advancements of technology platforms, such as learning management systems, business communications systems, and improved data capturing and analysis.
Opportunities for meeting your purpose are flush as well, with companies thinking outside of their pre-COVID-19 services. Breweries are an excellent example, converting to hand sanitization production with ethanol runoff, serving a huge need in the market as shelves quickly emptied of sanitizing products in March.
You need to ask:
- What’s the purpose of the company?
- How can you use this purpose to truly meet the needs of the market?
Intentionality is crucial
Whether building partnerships, adding or removing services, entering into new markets, or committing to buying local, understanding why you’re doing this now is more important than ever.
A colleague of mine who runs a creative agency decided to become way more intentional with what they’re really great at – amazing creative design.
They’ve stopped providing the ‘nice to have’ services that clients liked but didn’t rave about. In doing so, they’re also becoming more intentional with their key client service differentiators.
The ‘nice to haves,’ such as social media, copywriting, photography, etc., are now offered through strong win-win partnerships. It’s an intentional business model based with partners focused on the right mind set, with the right skills and tools for their clients.
You need to ask:
- What do your clients rave about?
- How can you improve that service and remove the ones they don’t rave about?
Mental wellness can’t be ignored
Across all forum and panel conversations, mental health was a central theme.
Even beyond the mental wellness panel, the finance, global markets, technology and communication discussions all stated that businesses must invest in creating psychologically safe environments.
But what does this mean?
It means creating a culture where your mental wellness is valued. Look at offering programs and investing in systems for your team. Remove the stigma around mental health conversations.
Just as you have a trained first-aid staff member, invest in training a team member in mental health intervention. This will support the greater changes your business is making. And the greater changes this whole world is undergoing.
You need to to ask:
- Do your team members feel safe talking about what’s going on?
- Is there a way you can check on everyone’s mindset?
Micro businesses account for a huge portion of Canada’s economy. If you’re feeling uncertain about your business, you’re not alone.
However, there are resources, and markets and people who are buying. The shift isn’t only in how businesses serve, but in where people are spending.
Identify the opportunities that you can branch into. Build truly intentional relationships based on mind, skill and tool sets, and support your team as you grow.
What has been your biggest insight for your business throughout COVID-19? Share your insights and questions with Lindsay. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org