With lockdowns due to COVID-19 imminent and in place both nationally and globally, there has never been a more important time to be generous.
Stock markets are crashing, SMEs are closing and more and more people are being sent home without pay and without jobs (read about these stats in our last blog post). While some of us are fortunate that the industry we are in enables us to work remotely, stock up with essentials and ‘ride out the storm’, others are not as fortunate. There are thousands of at-risk individuals and households and hundreds of small businesses that do not know how they will survive this year, let alone the next 21 days. Although we are all for self-isolation and support the government’s call for lockdown, now is not the time to cocoon ourselves and our loved ones at home and turn a blind eye to those who need any form of assistance.
You can #stayathome and still be generous.
1. Giving Financially: How you can help small businesses and those who are less fortunate than you during lockdown
Although most of us are feeling the pinch at this time, larger and more established businesses have the capital to survive and infrastructure to continue working remotely. Many smaller businesses, unfortunately, do not and are feeling the loss of revenue in the market drop and lull in demand for products and services. You can help these smaller local businesses by placing orders with them that may be redeemed after lockdown, or even just sharing information about them on social media so that others can help in supporting them too. South Africa has a large number of entrepreneurs who own small businesses and they need your generosity now in order to make it through these unprecedented times.
There is a spiritual principle of giving away a tenth of your income to those less fortunate than you that many high profile individuals and organisations believe in. I think that this principle is incredibly important and that it should apply to everyone. Not only does giving to those less fortunate than you help you stay focused on things that really matter (i.e. helping others and not just helping yourself), it also helps to keep you grounded and grateful for your blessings and success, no matter how small.
There are various organisations that you can make donations to, including South Africa’s Solidarity Fund, which was set up by the South African government in response to the economical impact due to the coronavirus. Other provincial funds have also been set up by NGO’s such as FeedSA and Gift of the Givers.
2. Share your Knowledge
We are fortunate enough to be in a technological age. While we can’t go out of our homes to pass on skills to others, we can teach others from home via online webinars,YouTube videos and Live streams on Facebook and Instagram.
Don’t hold onto your expertise, be generous. Share a skill or an experience that you have had. It could be a simple lesson that you learned during an interaction with someone else, or even a lesson on investing or marketing.
- What do you know that you can share with your audience and customers to enable them to succeed in their venture?
- Did you stumble across an article recently that pertained to someone that you know? Scan it and send it to them or email them the link.
- Do you have some proprietary knowledge that you can share a little of with your audience that will help them succeed?
- Offer a free training course or write a monthly blog.
- Remember your protégés- mentor a handful of young entrepreneurs, just as you’ve been mentored along the way.
Be generous with your knowledge and experience; we decided that Shift ONE and the Digital Marketing Academy, our sister company, will start holding bi-weekly, free webinars online during the next three weeks of lockdown in order to equip and develop the skills of others who are wanting to learn more about digital marketing and social media. Join us on our Facebook Group for this.
What knowledge can you share with others?
3. Being Generous in Business
We have all heard people say things like ‘I can’t tell you my business idea, in case you steal it’, or ‘I can’t give you access to that information, it’s proprietary’, or ‘You have to pay to use this service.’ It makes logical sense to hold onto something you could charge for, and not give it away for free.
Then why is it that individuals and businesses with the opposite mindset survive and thrive in places like Silicon Valley? I think it’s a remnant of our toddler years that makes us want to hold onto things instead of giving them away freely. We want to make as much as we can as quickly as we can and somehow we think that by sharing or giving away without charge, we will miss out on potential revenue and growth.
From the time I’ve spent in Silicon Valley I’ve learned the exact opposite to be true. People in the ‘Valley’ subscribe to a very different ethic. They believe that they are all a part of a connected whole, and that by sharing with each other, and helping each other, it will come back to you in some shape or form. I think we should sit up and pay attention when nearly everyone in the most successful technological hub in the world says the same thing over and over again.
Here are my top take-aways from my time in the Valley:
3.1. Pay it Forward
Nearly every meeting in Silicon Valley ends with someone asking, ‘So how can I help you?’. People in the Valley don’t have an egotistical view on life, and so nearly all of them are more than happy to help you meet someone who can help you in some way. They are generous in business because they know it will come back to them. Share your time and your contacts and you’ll find the same will come back to you.
3.2. Openness and Honesty
Nobody is going to steal your idea. Even saying that shows how little you know about how difficult it is to make a business succeed. Be open with other entrepreneurs, share your ideas and you might just meet someone with whom you can partner that will enable you to make a success of your business.
3.3. Be Humble, Be Nice
Make sure that you leave a good feeling behind in every room you leave, and after every meeting. As the great novelist Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”.
Relax, be humble and drop the ego. One thing you should notice in our sector is everyone’s lack of ego; from the biggest tech companies to the startups, nobody has anything to prove. Being relaxed rubs off on others, there is no need to be uptight- that is not the key to success.
4. Allow your Staff to Make Mistakes
Although this should be applicable always,be especially mindful of this now. If your staff are working remotely for the first time, expect there to be issues in the beginning. Working from home and independently can be a challenge for many people; provide your staff with the support that they need and give them information on how to work from home successfully. Encourage them to reach out to you; be gracious with your staff and allow them to learn their lessons and grow by making mistakes.
Some people believe that people should never make mistakes, but, unfortunately, making mistakes is how we as humans learn and adapt. Saying things like ‘don’t make the same mistake twice’ breeds a culture of fear, and there’s no greater poison to innovation than fear. If you want your company to grow and succeed, allow your staff to explore and take risks without fear of losing their necks, Ned Starke style.
By letting go and sharing information you allow your staff, customers and business to breathe, by giving away you allow unexpected gifts and blessings to come your way.
It may all sound very airy-fairy, but give it a try- they say that creating a habit takes 21 days. Let’s use this lockdown to form a habit of generosity.
I guarantee that you will be amazed at the results.
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Dylan Kohlstädt is the founder and Account Director of Shift ONE: outsource marketing for entrepreneurs. Dylan is an online and marketing expert who is passionate about growing her clients’ businesses without breaking the bank. Dylan has over 25 years marketing management experience in online, insurance, financial, gaming and property industries involving web, mobile, SEO, CRM and Social Marketing and is considered a subject matter expert on all things digital. She has extensive local and international experience (South Africa, UK and Australia), has managed global and national brands and is experienced in managing multiple product ranges in multiple languages and countries. Dylan also has an MBA through UNISA SB
You can reach Dylan at:
Cell: 0741 395 265