“Running a small biz is never easy,” Shark Tank star and billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the National Small Business Week Virtual Summit last month. “But we chose this life,” he reminded them.
Running a small business is challenging
Even in the most normal times, what Cuban properly calls “this life”—running a small business–has always been a challenging undertaking. But throw in a global pandemic, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared on March 11 of last year, and “never easy” becomes an understatement.
Consider the challenges to small businesses over these past 19 months: many small companies were prohibited from even opening their storefronts. Supply chains were disrupted substantially for those who were fortunate enough to be able to open with or without regulatory restrictions. The current and still ongoing pandemic-related costs in terms of jobs (several hundred million globally) and pandemic-associated costs (trillions of dollars globally).
This Inc. article summarizes the four major points Cuban communicated in his keynote address to the summit, which is sponsored annually by the U.S. Small Business Administration, a U.S. federal agency that provides credit and other support and is particularly active in aiding small companies, especially those harmed by natural disasters:
First, Cuban says, maintain agility. Even in a crisis, the continued development of skills remains vital. “Learn new things because learning is your skill set,” Cuban told the summit.
Honest, factual communications
Second, as is the case for business executives and small business owners in a crisis or not, focus on communication—and not communication spin, but honest communication based on the facts and realities you, as a small business owner, understand them.
This level of honesty, in turn, builds support and loyalty among employees, which is essential and ultimately comes back to benefit small businesses.
Believe in your product
Third, especially in moments of major crisis like the current pandemic, dig down deep for extra motivation, which often can be found by reminding yourself why you believe in the product you sell. This is important in and of itself. But perhaps most important, motivation is contagious, and employees and sales personnel will take note.
Finally, embrace the ever-evolving nature of business. Change may impact your business hugely or modestly, but ignoring changes is never the right option. Developments like artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, and other changes impacting business are ignored at the small business owner’s peril, Cuban says.