A Punch in
the Face

A Punch in  the Face

I’ve always been a shake hands and give ‘em a hug kind of businessperson. I even sign most of my business mail with a Cyberhug. Who knew that one day, a cyberhug might be the only version allowed?

During the years that I ran a client newsletter publishing business, my team and I handed out “I’ve been hugged” smiley stickers at trade shows and other meetings. Sounds goofy, but you’d be amazed at how many grown men and women wanted a hug and brought us referrals simply by wearing their stickers and having others ask where they got them. And our products did not disappoint. They were always of the highest quality.

For half a decade, hugs, smiley stickers and topnotch customer service brought in a lot of business, until it cost us a big account.


Not Everybody Likes Being Hugged

A major client of ours hired a new VP of sales and marketing then hosted a reception at head office and I was invited. The managers had a bit too much to drink, and while teasing the new VP, pushed him toward me. Embarrassed, he said “If she hugs me, I’ll punch her in the face.”

Suffice it to say, we didn’t retain that client for long, and that is what this COVID 19 pandemic has felt like – a punch in the face! For months, all the warm feelings of a coffee meeting or a networking event or an in-person coaching session were left to our imagination. Instead, it was Zoom, or email, or text, or a phone call, each of which has its benefits but none of which includes touch.


Look for the Opportunities

Still, among the distractions and feelings of isolation, there have been opportunities, too. Sorting through which is which – Opportunity or Distraction – has been a challenge. Thank goodness there are talented virtual assistants, and other contractors with advanced social media, web design, and online sales techniques available for us to hire during this social distancing. It’s a wonder the government hasn’t declared them “essential services”.

Despite the fact that you can order most things on line, there is also an opening to support your local economy. By finding someone in your community to work with albeit from 2 meters away or online, you get hometown familiarity and understanding of your business and develop a strong and trusting relationship with someone you will be able to shake hands with after social distancing is no longer required.

For those dependent on a steady job, this may be an opportunity to pick up extra income or start a business using their unique skills.

Let’s face it. It will never again be “business as usual” or “back to normal”. There will be a new normal both in business and in our personal lives. Those who get a head start on developing online marketing and delivery strategies and connecting with those bright minds who have the business savvy and the talent to fill strategic gaps in our businesses will not only survive, but thrive in the next business generation.

Admittedly, I’ve been slow to get online in a big way. Yes, I have a website, an e-newsletter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and over 100 articles on my website but I dread going on those social media sites because of the black hole of lost time that inevitably occurs. So, in addition to learning new skills and hiring experienced support to help me, I need a big shift in perspective. I’m working on that by putting together a new strategic business plan so that I am practiced and ready when hugging and handshaking again become legal and acceptable. Meanwhile, I can take courses, blog, and speak through webinars and Zoom meetings.

So, I’ll ask you: What mind shift are you working on? What’s your Plan B?


*This article, with minor edits, first appeared in my Entrepreneurial Adventure column in the Penticton Herald on April 9, 2020.
© 2020 Mary Lou Gutscher, Success Mentor