When Sales Slow, Build a Community

When Sales Slow, Build a Community

Written by Jodie Imam
  
In the past couple of weeks since closing down my coworking business, I can't stop thinking about life beyond COVID19 and what an incredible opportunity we have as both male and female founders. In my seat, though I am focused on the females :)
 
It's dramatic times like these, that have paved the way for females to rise up and drive our economy, WW1 and WW2 to name just two. This time we are more ready than ever. We have already started businesses that are critical now. 
 
If women and men around the world participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could ultimately rise by approximately 3% to 6%, boosting the global economy by $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion*. 
 
I can't help but think the time for the community is now more than ever before and I am fulfilled being part of the incredibly supportive community we have at SBE and in the startup ecosystem in Australia.   
 
At SBE we have kicked straight into weekly support calls for our Alumnae six weeks ago and have seen new innovations, new collaborations, remarkable human spirit by those positively impacted, and still finding the time to give back. And by those really hurt and giving all they have left. These calls have provided our community with a freedom that comes with being vulnerable and a safe and supported place to admit the situation is far from ideal for many. 
 
I was blown away by the response I received from the community we built at depo8 when I announced we are closing due to COVID19 . With over 200 heartfelt responses from our first members through to The Age and Smart Company reaching out to publish articles. 
 
Walking with our National Program Manager Olivia yesterday we talked about her voluntary remote fitness training, Zoom PT, and how much it is bringing her personal community together in a really positive way. Her high energy live classes are building momentum each week and strengthening relationships in unexpected ways. 
 
Mary Minas, one of our amazing program facilitators will not be able to open her SOS bathhouse for a lot longer than planned and has instead energized her community with on-brand virtual workshops. I attended the one with a pleasure expert and it was fantastic. The funding model was interesting, $9 to cover some basic costs but only if you could afford it.
 
Sage Lamont, our SBE Marketing Manager, has her own business, Golden Grind, which produces turmeric based products. A product range that's great for strengthening immunity, they excitingly sold out of their best product in early March. The downside to these increased sales was the fact they couldn't get the product restocked by their manufacturer in Queensland until July, due to delayed production times and teams running at half mast. So whilst out of stock on this product and a number of others, they've engaged their community through sharing recipes and general health advice. They've also used the opportunity to engage with their environmentally conscious customers through positive news stories about the improved state of our air quality, our oceans and cities being able to breathe again. Sage has also used the opportunity to start a business with her family, The Social Quaffer, which is a virtual wine tasting business. It's engaged Sage with her wine loving friends in weekly wine tastings with winemakers from all over Australia, in the comfort of their homes. It’s gone gangbusters and been good fun, allowing her to work with her dad for the first time.
 
As a mentor, I am doubling down on this message. Now is the time to build your community and be led by your heart. 
 
Personally, my mission during this time is to firstly, survive homeschooling three kids under ten years old and still have some sort of positive relationship with them. Secondly, it's to continue building community through deeper, more meaningful, and more personal connections. 
 
I am not sure what will come of this yet but from all the harsh learnings I have recently experienced I am convinced that leading from the heart and building community is the right way forward.