Lonely at the top, daily stomach punches and fighting the urge to curl up in the corner. So what’s the solution?

Tim Bodenham is CEO at BAM Agency - a full-service youth agency specialising in experiential, promotional staffing and digital marketing. Tim has completed our leadership and business planning programmes, LEAD™ and GOLD™ and has written this blog as Covid-19 takes hold.

At a time where so much is unknown and where there is so much uncertainty, many business owners' instinct may be telling themselves to consolidate, it's over or bunker down and survive the storm. The pressures of responsibility for the livelihoods of your staff, suppliers and even your clients, the daily onslaught of stomach punches as you see your business model eroding away in front of your eyes, it's enough to make you curl up in the corner and rock back and forth shouting 'make it stop'. I know this because I like many of you out there, are living this right now.

However, the voice in my head, the one that pops up and simply says "there is a way, there has got to be a solution here", pops up. You just need to work it out. It's a problem, granted a humongous one, but there has to be a solution.

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You can always take comfort in facts and pass evidence and experience. There are many examples of how periods of extreme adversity can encourage innovation and be the making of businesses. For example, The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity showed that the rate of new-business creation was higher during the deepest part of the 2009 recession than it had been in the 14 previous years, including the 1999–2000 technology boom. 

But this is a time to learn and adapt. A time to innovate and embrace change. When presented with an obstacle, find that solution, for there is a solution. Let’s take face to face marketing and events, for example, a core service we provide at our marketing agency. For the time being this is no longer a route to market and engage with consumers, that is simply a fact, and we need to adapt. 

So what’s the solution? 

Your business, like mine, has tacit knowledge, skills only you know inside and out, but these are transferable into other mediums. The knowledge and skills you have can be adapted to new services. This period forces you to be more creative, more streamlined, more versatile. Open your eyes and look at your teams, when was the last time you saw this level of commitment? I'm sure you have a high regard for your teams, but at critical moments, look and you will see that 'going above and beyond' spirit on maximum overdrive. Just make sure you acknowledge it, drive to inspire and lead through. As I write this, my mind shouts out, 'easy to write this, are you actually doing it?'. In all honesty, probably not right now, and that's for me to kick myself up the rear and support the team. Read my own words, and get busy leading, supporting and driving through this storm.

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