Growing up I spent most of my time in a single-parent home, so chores were split between my mom and me. Sure, she handled a majority of the upkeep but it meant that I had to help with tasks that all of my friends didn’t have to do until they started college. Even then, most of my roommates saw dirty dishes as an obligation to be ignored and certainly never felt the satisfaction of seeing straight lines in a freshly vacuumed carpet, which a designer can appreciate more than most.
I’ll share the secret that I never told them: I actually like to clean. I find the process cathartic. There’s nothing like a dirty toilet to remind you that no matter how important you think you are, we all have a responsibility to take care of the things around us. Cleaning also connects me to the tangible assets of life and gives me a deeper appreciation for the possessions in my care. So after a very tough week of business, I spent a few quiet hours on Sunday cleaning our studio and reflecting on how rapidly things have changed due to COVID-19.
I’m obviously worried about the health of our communities, but I’m equally worried about the impact this is going to have on our economy and businesses like mine. Just last week Facebook reminded me that five years ago I left my last full-time position to start Scout Collective and I thought to myself with a bit of excitement, “50% of businesses fail in their first 5 years. I made it this far.” Two days later I was having an open and honest conversation with our team about the possibility of having to restructure the business depending on how things shake out.
It was the worst day of my career.
A few years back I made a decision to work almost exclusively with founders and owner-led businesses. I love our clients and I’m in constant awe of the leaders, visionaries, and hardworking folks who often risk their personal financial stability to pursue their passion. It’s incredibly rewarding to help them tell their unique brand story and connect them to customers that value their ideas, products, and services. We’re kindred spirits and together we’re invested in the pursuit of something bigger than ourselves.
That also means that when things go bad, we feel their pain. And right now, there’s a lot of hurt amongst this tribe. Small businesses are going to be the first to feel the effects of an economic slowdown. Doors will close, temporarily. Layoffs will happen. It’s inevitable.
“You don’t control what happens, you control how you respond.” *
You’re probably asking yourself, “Given these changes where do I start?” If you’re running a business that can thrive remotely now is your time to shine. If you can provide a service that will help keep people connected then find a way to make it available to a larger group and scale. If your business is forced to shut down for the time being do what you can to take control of your brand narrative and secure customer appreciation and loyalty. There is meaningful work to be done, you just have to know where to look. Give us a ring, we can help point you in the right direction.
For those of us at Scout, we now have an empty, spotlessly cleaned office but we’ll be working from home as we continue to help our clients navigate a challenging landscape. We plan to use the extra time to work on our own brand, write more blog entries, and to reach out to potential clients. If you have someone in mind, please send them our way.
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