10 Ways To Grow During The Pandemic

Written by: Steve Dusek

Photo by Hillary Ehlen

As a small business lending partner, we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs across the state from a multitude of industries. Throughout these partnerships, we have seen small business owners face uncertainties and unknowns with creativity and intentionality. Whether these times required them to work from home, revamp their business model, or make some changes to the way they operate, the most effective way we have seen them face these uncertainties is by focusing on what they can control. 

In lieu of these observations and the current situation, we wanted to share with you 10 simple ways you can approach unprecedented times with intentionality and continue to grow your network, your business, and your skills in a way you can control.

  1. Network – in the digital world, we connected today more than ever. Reach out to that person you have been wanting to introduce yourself to on your LinkedIn page or set up a time for a virtual coffee meetup with a fellow business owner, partner, or friend and build a partnership. 
  2. Refine your business or marketing plan – whether you are a startup or have been in business for years, owning a business takes planning. Spend some time working on and adapting your business plan if you have not already, or dive into that marketing plan that has been sitting on your desk for a few months.  
  3. Spend some time brainstorming – have you had an idea floating around in the back of your head for a while now that you have not had time to process? Is your business faced with a challenge that can find a creative solution for? Are you wanting to do something fun and different but do not know where to start? Whether it is a chunk of time or just 5 minutes a day, set aside some time to brainstorm and be creative. 
  4. Develop content – we live in a content-driven world. Whether you are a restaurant, coffee shop, exercise facility, boutique, daycare, or any other type of small business, you have content to offer. Draft up a blog post or two, create a how-to video, host an online webinar or course, make a checklist or infographic, share some testimonies, or anything else. 
  5. LEARN – we say it all the time: “Never. Stop. Learning.” Whether its listening to a podcast (like ACTIVATE U!), watching some videos on YouTube, enrolling in an online course or training program, or reading a book or e-book, you have a multitude of learning opportunities right at your fingertips. Use it to educate yourself about something you are unfamiliar with or not as comfortable as you should be. 
  6. Get creative – is there a creative way your business can meet the needs of your customers and community right now? Get creative, think outside the box, and see what your mind can dream up! You never know what opportunities may arise. (Bonus points if you collaborate with another local small business!)
  7. Research assistance programs available – did you know there are a variety of programs available to assist small businesses in unprecedented times? Take this time to research what programs might be available to help you though this period of your business. 
  8. Come together (not literally) – is there a business that you can team up with to make an impact right from home? Brainstorm how you can come together with other fellow business owners and partners to continue to meet the needs of your community and get them on board! 
  9. Reflect and give thanks – where has your business taken you? Who has been influential along your journey thus far? What are some things you did/did not expect? What role has your staff played through it all? How has the community supported you? Reflect on where you have been, where you are, and where you are going, and thank those that have been there along the way!
  10. Share what you are doing – when times are chaotic, the world needs positivity more than ever. Snap a picture or share a teaser of some of these things you have been doing and share it on your social media page to show the world what you have been up to! 

When things seem uncertain and you are not sure where to turn, shift your focus to what you can control and go from there. These 10 simple things may not seem like much, but they are sure to keep you thinking on your toes, moving forward with purpose, and continuing to grow your business in new and creative ways!

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Steve Dusek is the president and CEO of Dakota Business Lending. He has over twenty-eight years of experience in managing and delivering non-traditional lending solutions for small business in rural America and in maintaining successful business cultures.