The pandemic, #Covid19, came as shock to everyone around the world. How could we cope with being locked down for three months, or more. It took me about a month to take it all in, and learn how to live with the challenges we were all experiencing.

As a business consultant I have amazingly loyal clients. For which I am very grateful. Sadly, not all of my clients could continue to operate their businesses. I am very happy that my clients who are still in business are using the strategies we worked on to get them through to the next phase of their business growth.

I have promised the clients who are not able to continue to work on their businesses during the pandemic that if they decide to start again, whenever they feel able, I will be here for them.

So, what did I do to survive? That’s a great question.

  • I looked to the future, not the past.
  • Short term strategies enabled me to continue with the work I love.
  • I accepted change offers many new opportunities, and change is healthy.

The Future

I had to accept that certain things would never be the same again and could never go back to how they used to be. Change was the path I had to take to ensure I had a future and my business would survive.

Virtual Networking

Virtual networking, and webinars have actually been around a while. People just did not think of those two things as actual “networking”.

Whether you share your videos on YouTube, or you host a virtual webinar, or networking event via Zoom, or Skype, to name a few of the platforms, it’s all about networking. Being seen to be seen. Becoming known, recognizing your face, your brand, your message.

In Person Networking

I take every opportunity to network. Here I am at an event in Toronto, and after speaking with Mayor John Tory, we both knew the benefit of having our photo taken together. It increases brand awareness for both of us.

Networking increases your visibility.

As one of the co-founders of the Small Business Community Network (SBCN) I know the benefit of face to face networking.

In fact I built both my businesses because I knew how to build trusted relationships via networking. Consistent networking is key. This offers you the opportunity to be seen as credible, and the more you network with your trusted connections, your brand becomes memorable.

Covid19

In person, fact to face, networking has not been possible due to #Covid19. Due to the fact that I can’t meet people, or host networking events, or even speak at conferences during the lockdown, virtual networking became my new normal

Instead of me standing on a stage presenting to the audience, I now present and host networking events virtually. I am able to continue with my consulting and training programs virtually also.

It is difficult for some to feel comfortable networking virtually, but if you are in business to stay, and to continue to grow your success, I recommend becoming friends with virtual networking.

Some of the members of my networking organization enjoy our monthly Zoom events. Others tend to prefer one on one mentoring with me.

Feeling Comfortable on Camera

  • Dress as you would if you were attending a meeting, or an event face to face.
  • Smile, the camera catches every frown, and every smile. If the people you are connecting with virtually see you smile they immediately feel comfortable with you.
  • Look into the camera, not the computer screen. Eye contact is important.
  • Have good lighting. Experiment with various ways to ensure the light enables the camera to compliment your features, versus looking too dark or too bright.
  • Practice makes perfect, so practice until you feel confident. This can be with a family member, a friend, or a trusted connection.

Brand Engagement

Your brand needs to stay active during this time. Obviously it should continue after the pandemic is over.

Whether you are hosting live FB events, or webinars. Whether you have a conversation with another business owner via Zoom, it’s all about your brand engaging virtually with your target market.

Virtual Networking Saved my Business

Imagine if I had decided to stay in bed all day because I was not offering a keynote at a conference. Or, what if I decided not to network or host events due to the pandemic? Virtual networking, hosting events on Zoom and Skype, seen been to be seen is keeping my business alive. I am able to consult with my clients, offer training, videos, and much more.

Virtual networking is full of possibilities, and we may as well embrace it because it’s our future, for now.

“‚ÄúLife can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”