Reinventing Your Wheel

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Ever hear the expression, “No need to reinvent the wheel”? Unfortunately, 2020 was the year the wheels completely fell off. Many of us had to scramble to keep our businesses afloat, with no guaranty when and if our sectors would recover. “Reinvent” is a poetic way to describe what it really felt like: “Hanging on for dear life”.

This was especially true if you run a small business. In the first two months of the pandemic, Canada’s economy dropped by 18.2%. But small businesses were hit disproportionately hard, losing 40% or more of their revenue. What’s even scarier is that 98% of all businesses in Canada are small businesses. That probably includes you and most people in your BNI chapter.

Which brings up the next expression: “Misery loves company”. Naturally, there’s been no shortage of misery for the 98% of us who run a small business. But if misery seeks out company, then those of us in BNI are lucky to count amongst our company the ideas, expertise, and goodwill of our fellow members. Most BNI members run small businesses, faced the same challenges, and asked the same questions. How can I keep doing what I’m doing? How can I maintain relationships with my clients? How can I reach new clients?

While there are no absolute answers, here are some great suggestions, along with business categories within BNI whose collective wisdom you can tap into for help:

Move it online

If your business involves in-person services, consider making the move to online consultation or group classes. If you sell products, there are many platforms where you can promote your goods, from a website shopping cart to email campaigns, to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Join online communities on Facebook and LinkedIn. They’re looser, less organized forms of networking, but the principle is the same. The more you engage with people, the more familiar and credible you become, the more likely you are to attract clients when the need arises.

BNI members who can help: Web hosts & designers; Digital marketers; Writers; Graphic designers

Build trust in your safety & health

Have you addressed your customers’ needs for safety and health? Don’t wait for them to ask. Make sure safety protocols are a clear part of your message. Explain the measures you’ve taken to maintain distance, clean items, limit exposure, while maintaining the same quality of your goods or service. Promoting a high level of conscientiousness is a major selling point.

BNI members who can help: Health professionals; Industrial & Safety suppliers; Writers

Visit chapters

Visit other BNI chapters online. Being on Zoom gives you the opportunity to meet fellow members in your city or anywhere around the globe. Joining other BNI meetings gives you access to potential customers, partners, and new ideas.

Find chapters and register as a visitor on BNI connect. Always make sure your category doesn’t conflict with another member before visiting a chapter!

Government help

Are you eligible for government assistance? Are you aware of what programs are out there and how to access them? If not, there are BNI members who specialize in this.

BNI members who can help: Chartered accountants; Tax specialists; Grant specialists

Beautify your space

Working at home may be convenient, but for many of us, the walls are starting to close in. So change the walls with a fresh paint job. Buy a nicer desk. Hang a new painting. Get some good speakers to play music. If you’re stuck at home, make your workspace reflect your taste and comfort.

BNI members who can help: Interior designers; Promotional products; Office supplies;

BNI ’s mission is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referral marketing program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.

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