Whitney joined fellow entrepreneur and small business owner Grant LeBeau on the Small Biz Gone Viral podcast, which captures the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and the people who run them. In the episode, Whitney talked about how she responded to COVID-19 and adjusted course for her business. She also shared strategies that have helped her move beyond survival to truly thrive in 2020.
At the start of 2020, Whitney had a full calendar of live events in cities around the US (and beyond). She planned to travel to different cities to host talks, networking events, and retreats. Not only would this give Whitney a chance to connect in person with alumni of her signature coaching program, Take Back Your Time, but in-person engagements were also her primary marketing tactic for the year. All those plans had to change when the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States. In the space of just a few days, Whitney had to cancel events in Atlanta, Washington D.C., and her much-anticipated retreat in Barbados.
Whitney offered key insights based on her experience of COVID-19 impacting her business plans for 2020 and how changing her plans led to the discovery of brand new opportunities.
Give yourself time to mourn your previous plans, and then get to work. Whitney realized that her plans for the year had gone out the window and that she wouldn’t have the chance to meet with her clients in person like she had originally planned. She gave herself three days to mourn, and then turned the page and figured out what her business could look like in a completely new landscape.
Look at the data and adapt your strategy. Whitney’s original schedule of events required a lot of logistical work, planning, and up-front investment. With that out of the picture, Whitney realized she would be able to save time and still make an impact by pivoting to virtual events. She started doing more speaking engagements on platforms hosted by other industry experts and thought leaders. By going to where her target audiences already were and providing value in a new way, Whitney was able to have the same marketing impact she had originally planned at a fraction of the initial cost.
Identify new opportunities. When it became clear that in-person events and travel were off the table, Whitney had to adapt her mindset and embrace the new opportunities that were available to her. Not only did she ramp up her virtual speaking engagements, but Whitney also identified a new customer base. Through Take Back Your Time, Whitney provides hands-on support and guidance for high achievers at risk of falling short of their full potential. Whitney has always worked with her Take Back your Time clients on their businesses and careers, but the demand for more in-depth support for small business owners increased dramatically in response to the pandemic.
Don’t be afraid to test new ideas. Whitney learned that scrapping her plans and starting over made her implement things more aggressively than she would have otherwise. Instead of simply trying to keep her business afloat, Whitney was determined to still grow her business in 2020, regardless of what was happening in the world. This attitude led her to explore new opportunities, launch a new product, and make changes to her business that will yield benefits beyond 2020.
Whitney’s experience helping startups, social enterprises, and corporate teams launch and scale new products and services gave her the tools she needed to create a new plan and evolve her business in the face of COVID-19. Cancelling her original plan and starting from scratch forced Whitney to take a step back and return to the fundamentals of her business. She listened to her customers, looked at the data, and created and tested a brand new product in response to what she learned. After overcoming the initial disruption to her plans, Whitney created a new plan for 2020 that has enabled her business to not just survive, but truly thrive.
Listen to the Episode