No one could have predicted it coming. Truly. It was as if out of thin air what we all knew to be normal was turned upside down in every way. What people are now dubbing “The Great Lockdown” has changed lives and businesses in ways we are still trying to figure out. I suspect only time will tell exactly how changed we all will be.
I remember the day that the coronavirus chaos seeped into my life. I had a virtual webinar for a business development cohort I am a part of, and a sales expert was invited to inspire us on new ways to reach new people. This expert was secured well in advance, prior to schools and businesses closing, but boy was her offering relevant. Now, more than ever, all of us needed some perspective on how to keep our doors open, and the speaker dished us out plenty to consider.
Out of all of her amazing thoughts and tailored suggestions, I will never forget one single phrase that she tossed out for us to ponder. Then, we went around the virtual classroom to react to her statement.
This is a time to no longer think differently, but rather, to think different.
She was curious what that statement meant to each of us in our current lives and in our current businesses. I gave it some time to sink in and when she got to me, I knew exactly what it meant and what I was charged to do next.
Here’s what I shared.
When you think differently, you are thinking outside of the box you currently work within. Your area of expertise is in the box, but you see new extensions and derivative works to support your current boxes business. That’s thinking differently.
But thinking different? Well, you pick up your normal box and put it in the closet, saving it for later. You compartmentalize that box, knowing that one day you can bring it back out, but now you create a whole new box, looking at your expertise and your business in new ways altogether, then you start thinking differently — creating new extensions and derivatives of your work again — about your think different box.
By the end of the call, I had an entire marker board full of think different opportunities for my current clients and for my business altogether. This new approach was meant to help each of us be prepared to rebound when the world would come back to normal instead of needing to rebuild our business altogether. What a brilliant concept I was left with that day.
So how can you think different about your business?
Let me pose a few questions for you to consider as you think of ways to think different altogether about your business, your goals and your next steps.
Who NEEDS you?
Seriously. Do you know who your target audience is? Is it the same now, in a high-stakes environment, as it was prior? You can’t be a solution to a problem if you don’t know who has the problem.
What do you know about them?
Once you know your target audience, put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Figure out what they are experiencing in this environment. Have their needs changed any? Has their capacity adjusted?
How can you be a solution to their new needs?
One day you can bring back out your think differently box, but for now, as you build your new think different box altogether, you want to start from where your potential clients live versus what you have to offer. What problems are they facing? And how can you help them?
Don’t let change be a reason for you to stop your momentum — whether that’s in launching a book, growing your business, or doing both.
The truth is, if you lead with value, success will follow. Pull out your new think different box, build upon the expertise you bring to all who can benefit from your work, and continue to focus on value first! It will pay off. And, honestly, you may find that you like your new “box” better anyway!