In the year 2020, all small business owners have been hard hit. And to survive, a Pivot Mindset is what separates resilient business owners from those who never bounce back. And Resilience has everything to do with Mindset. So, let’s dive into that topic, together.
The Pivot Mindset
May 2020 was an interesting time for Antique and Vintage Business owners. Facing widespread closures, or curbside-only pick up, cancelled Flea Markets and Antiques Shows, the situation looked a little bleak. However, two Antique Groups got scrappy, and adopted an admirable Pivot Mindset.
First, the Antique Dealers Association of America (ADA) brought their Spring Show on-line. I visited with Steven Powers, President, following the show, and he reported record web-site traffic and healthy sales. Second, several dealers associated with the Brimfield Antique and Flea Market also adopted a Pivot Mindset, and brought the Brimfield experience to Instagram. To both groups I say BRAVO! The Pivot Mindset in action!
But having said that, I’ve received messages from students taking my Digital Courses, from Antique and Vintage Business Owners who are a part of my Facebook Group, and also on Instagram, asking me to address the challenges that those of you who have a booth at an antique mall, a shop, or are simply selling out of your house. It’s hard to adopt a Pivot Mindset with the world feels super discouraging still.
Let’s work through this challenge together, and I have several simple actionable steps you can put into place TODAY that will help you Pivot your business!
How Are You Feeling?
At the risk of trying to sound like your personal therapist, I want to say first of all, everything that you’re feeling, as far as feeling frustrated, or even sad or mad or scared. All of those feelings are totally legitimate. Absolutely. Everybody has felt or is feeling those feelings too. And how could we not? It feels like the world that we knew disappeared overnight, and we are all left wondering, is this ever gonna go back to “normal”?
For most people, those feelings of frustration or sadness or anger or fear can easily lead to overwhelm. And overwhelm renders many of us unable to move forward. What gets me out of an unproductive headspace and into a space where I can move forward is to start taking some action steps. I’m a very action oriented person. And I imagine you all are too. If you own your own business, you have to be or you wouldn’t have a business, right?
Take An Action Step…Just One
One of the things I want to encourage you all to do is to take a minute and jot down on a piece of paper 10 things that if the world were “normal”, you would be doing on a regular basis for your business.
Would you be going to estate sales? Would you be going to thrift stores? Would you be calling on other dealers? Would you be on Instagram looking for new merchandise? Would you be having conversations with clients? Would you be opening up a shop? Would you be working a front desk, or would you be taking your shift at an antique mall? There’s a lot of ways you can approach your list, but make a list of 10 things you would normally be doing. Why? I can almost assure you that on that list of 10 things you’d normally doing, there’s something that you could be doing now.
And if you truly can’t do anything you used to do, then make a list of things you’ve always wanted to do, or needed to do, for your business.
Maybe it’s photographing objects you have for sale. Maybe you’ve been wanting to do a better job keeping track of your inventory, and you never had time to do that before. Maybe it’s taking a digital course where you can learn how to better market your business.
After you’ve made your list, identify one or two things that realistically you could be doing this week, because simply getting yourself into an action, taking a step moving forward, is going to make you feel a lot better and more in control of a situation that definitely feels very out of control. And then feeling out of control gets into fear.
Taking some action steps keeps us out of that scary headspace.
Now is the Time To “Go Digital”
For many of you all, the online world is really not something you may be comfortable with. It may not be something you ever thought you would really get involved with, especially regarding your antique business.
And maybe in one part of your head, you knew the digital world was out there, but your business was fine, you were making plenty of sales, or had plenty of clients or customers or people walking through the door of your shopping mall or your flea market. You just didn’t ever feel super compelled to get your business online. Totally understandable. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Obviously, I’m a big advocate of being online or I wouldn’t be teaching inside digital courses designed for Antiques and Vintage Business Owners to learn to use Social Media to promote their business. But I think now we’re all seeing a lot of news pointing toward the truth. Traditional shopping, may never look the same again.
And I don’t say that to be discouraging. I think it’s just a fact. It may never look the same again, whether it’s because people are afraid to be in places where there’s a lot of people, or because there’s limitations on how we can get out of our houses, or limitations on which businesses can be open.
And so rather than saying, Okay, well, great. Where does that leave my antique or vintage business? I’m encouraging you all to have a mindset pivot and look at this challenge a different way.
This is a good moment to say, Okay, these are businesses that I feel passionate about. I’ve been doing them for however long, 30 years or 30 minutes. It doesn’t make any difference. If this is your passion, whether you’re doing it to put bread on the table. Or you’re doing it because it is your pastime and your hobby, doesn’t make any difference. If it is important to you, and you want to keep it going, then I think it is important to pivot your mindset.
And maybe consider that being online may be something that you need to do. It may not be something you ever wanted to do or felt compelled to do. But probably it is something you need to seriously consider.
Is Now the Right Time?
You may have a concern related to being sensitive about the economic State of the Union, and being sensitive about approaching people or trying to sell something during this time period. And that is a really legitimate thought and a legitimate concern. So let me share with you some insights that I’ve gained. And I’ll share with you where I’m hearing these discussions.
I am involved with many forums in all kinds of different places, many of them on Facebook, of people who are digital marketers. Meaning, whatever they sell, they sell it online. And those products could be very inexpensive or they could be products that they were selling for thousands of dollars before our pandemic problems.
There’s been a lot of discussion over the last several months about selling again, and about feeling a little bit insensitive or, tone deaf, is a term I hear a lot, about trying to continue to sell or market during this time period. I have had those same thoughts as well. Are you ignoring, when you’re trying to sell something, the economic hardship that somebody else may be experiencing.
As antique and vintage business owners, you are entitled to keep your business going. And I don’t know if you’re putting food on the table and keeping a roof over your head, or if you’re doing it because it’s a hobby, and it doesn’t make any difference. You own a business. And in my humble opinion, the economy needs people to continue to do business. We cannot all just stop. We have to keep moving forward. And one of the safest possible ways to do that is online. Right? I mean, talk about a touchless situation?
For those who might be interested in buying, wonderful. If somebody doesn’t have the means to buy something from you, then they won’t. It’s just that simple. They won’t do business with you, if they don’t have that extra money for the month, and you are not being insensitive by putting it in front of them. There are people who are still shopping, I can assure you. There are people who are doing a significant amount of online shopping,
I would encourage you not to wrestle too much with that concern. You are entitled to continue to operate your business. And if people don’t want to buy what you’re selling, then they won’t.
Take Advantage of Forced Downtime
Finally, the last thing I want to leave you all with today, regarding mindset is this. And, and I’ve seen some people kind of joke about this reality online. At the beginning of shelter in place, many of us were all so shell shocked, we didn’t know what to do. We were kind of home, watching the news 24/7, and understandably, I think we all were kind of frozen in place.
I have seen people saying things like, I had all these plans for all these things that I was going to get done while I was staying home. And I’ve gotten none of those things done. I see people saying in a joking way, I was gonna clean out all my closets or I was gonna clean my garage, or the stuff around the house that I never had time to do. And now I still haven’t gotten it done.
And you may be feeling that way too related to your business. You maybe did think, Oh, good! Now I can organize all my emails, or my inventory is a big fat mess and I need to figure that out. Or now is the time for me to figure out how to use social media. You know, I’ve always been saying I was gonna do it, and now’s the time to do it.
And you haven’t done any of it yet.
And you know what? So what? Cut yourself some slack. There is never a wrong time or a late time to jump into a project and get it going. If learning how to position your business on Facebook or Instagram so that you can start making sales online is something you want to do, and it’s critical for your business, especially at this point, shoot, no better day than today to start, right? Don’t kick yourself, don’t punish yourself. And don’t scold yourself for projects you haven’t started. Today is a brand new day. Every day we wake up, it’s a brand new day to get something new started. I want to encourage you to be gentle with yourself and to take a deep breath to move forward with a project or a task.
Every day you adopt that mindset, you’ll find it easier the next day to accomplish even more. And pretty soon I think you’ll find yourself back in a groove. That’s what a lot of us really crave and we’re missing is that normalcy, that routine, that list of things that we do all the time. You can create a new routine. You can create a new list, you can create a new schedule or things that you do to move your business forward.
It’s for sure every single business in the world has had to pivot and has had to retool and has had to rethink how they’ve always done something. And if things return to normal, and the world as we knew it, great. If things get kind of wonky again, as we move into the fall and the winter, as some people are predicting it might, you will know what to do. You will have already pivoted, you will have already figured that out, you will have already made kind of a Plan B for your business and some action steps, so that you don’t have to miss a beat.
I really encourage you to take a close look at your mindset and maybe shake out those cobwebs a little bit and move forward. Because your business is important. You are important. And I can promise you, there’s people out there who are really interested in seeing what you have for sale, no doubt about it.
I’m on TEAM YOU! Let me know how I can help you grow your Antique or Vintage Business in this digital age!
- Drop me a comment below!
- Email me at marythecuriouscowgirl.com.
- Check out my Digital Courses, designed SPECIFICALLY for you!
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