The COVID-19 global pandemic will without a doubt, affect Black owned businesses for years to come.
In this series, we will be sharing personal stories from Black entrepreneurs and professionals about how they are currently dealing with this new reality.
In this installment, we spoke with Danielle Tyler, founder of Public Relations firm, TheCommsEffect.
What were your initial thoughts when you learned about the outbreak?
My thoughts went through sort of an evolution from “hmmmm” after first learning about the outbreak in China back in January to “maybe I should be paying more attention to this” in February to “this is quite scary and will have a lasting effect on our livelihood and economy”. It’s almost surreal – like we’re playing a part in a movie, but it’s our new reality.
How has it affected your business?
I’ve had to shift my mindset. I know people take an opportunity like this to go out and get new leads and new business, but I’m more focused on providing value to my audience at the moment knowing that so many are already being effected financially by this pandemic.
I host a quarterly brunch for women who are seeking professional elevation and I’ve had to postpone that event for obvious reasons, as well as a series of branding workshops for entrepreneurs that was set to start next month. I’ve had to adjust and readjust my approach to my business and will continue to do so until this thing plays out.
What new strategies have you implemented or do you plan to implement in your business?
I’ve set aside time this week to reevaluate my strategy, develop new content for videos and posts, create a plan for starting my podcast, and look into hosting a virtual branding webinar for people who are interested in attending for a small fee. That’s the thing about consulting and owning your own business – you have to be able to adapt and shift gears to accommodate different circumstances as they arise.
If there’s one thing we should all take away from this, it’s that we are in less control of our external environment than we’d like to think we are but we do have complete control over how we adapt and navigate through challenges when they come our way.
If you had one ask of your community right now, what would it be?
Can I pick two? For one, please practice social distancing. Whether you agree with the panic level or not, what’s causing the virus to spread so fast is due to people being a “carrier” of it and not displaying symptoms, yet passing it along to someone who may not be able to fight it off as well as your body can.
Number two, everyone has a bit of resiliency in them – some more than others. Your ability to be resilient, face what we’re dealing with, adapt, re-adjust, and move forward accordingly is what will help you save your business. Be safe and be resilient.
-Tony O. Lawson