img_4343In 2016, we were taking a tour of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the site of new beginnings, expansive ideas, critical decisions and unbounded courage.  What sprang forth was- yes, a new nation. Still. These new ideas could bear a high cost. They were Taking the Stairs to form something new. The first steps to form a nation, were taken in this building. The Declaration of Independence was crafted on this site. A period of turbulent challenge and change followed those decisions.

img_4346Life changed, forever. Families were separated. Lives were lost. Travel became difficult. Reputations were ruined. Businesses failed. Fortunes were lost.

It wasn’t easy to take -The Steps to Form a New Way of Life. What would happen to-

  • The Cooks, the Candle and Candlestick Makers?
  • The Churches, the Bakers and Undertakers?
  • The Taverns, General Stores and Lodging Houses?
  • The Farmers, the Livestock, Dairies and Glassblowers?
  • The Carpenters, Brick Masons and Ironworking Forges?
  • Curtain, Furniture Crafters, Clock Makers, Shutter and Cabinet Makers?
  • The Millineries, Munitions, Wig, Wagon and Map Makers?

Okay. Wait a minute. You get the picture, no need to go overboard here…Folks were worried about keeping house, home and business together, right? And while I’m at it- what about that Staircase? The detail, the craftsmanship and my two favorites in the scene… Light streaming in the window and Paint Color! Amazing.

At any point of dramatic change- conflict, war or plague… the toll is incredible. We are at a pivotal moment in time. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this- Whenever, I’ve read sensible instructions to get in physical shape- there’s always been the simple advice- ‘Take the Stairs’ Instead of riding an escalator, it’s far better to take the stairs. One Step at a Time has always been sage advice.

img_4349May I tell you something, you may not believe this- yet it’s true. It’s far easier to climb the steps than to walk down a flight of stairs. Anyone, including me! who’s had knee surgery will tell you- it’s far more difficult to descend rather than ascend. The problem in times like this is our mental state, taking a downward spiral…img_4350

It’s normal to be concerned, even anxious… still.Once you’ve accepted the situation, done all you can for your safety- you do have a choice- Accept the new normal. Accept that things may never be the same. Next choice? You can either- Spend too much time wishing things were the same as before and being frustrated. Or. You can… Embrace it as a New Start and an Opportunity. img_4347

State of Mind might be the most important and best First Step. Then…Ask yourself these things-

  • What are my unique gifts and talents to offer the world, right now?
  • What would I be doing for my business, this time of year? If someone had given you a week or so to close your business, I’ll bet you would have done some spring cleaning, perhaps re-painted, had carpets and floors cleaned. Reworked the layout of your business. Do all you would normally, just do it better and smarter.
  • And, you would have made sure your base of support had the pertinent information concerning your business, while making sure that base knew you would be there for them.
  • You may never know, your call or contact could mean the world to someone, especially in your core base of support. And! they may have ideas you’ve never considered.

There are no easy solutions, to get back- your health, your life, your finances and your business. A free standing small business or side income, including a blog. After securing yourself, your family, finances and staff if you have one- What do you do? Take the stairs. It might be slower to take it one step at a time, yet this is has always been the best way to start getting in shape and to shape up your life and business.

If you have a business and are in danger of losing sales, readers, advertising? What do you do, now? First understand that technology is going to play a larger part in your life and business. It’s your way of keeping touch with your base of support– especially during times of social distancing. If you need to upgrade anything- let technology be the first step and learn the skills to use it. There are a whole lot of free and low cost courses out there! Use these resources as your own personal Library to get your mind focused.img_4348

You will need to adjust your plans from last year’s business model, yet this doesn’t have to mean major changes. Some cost little to nothing. Do those first best steps. The best advice from a retail training I took was this-

‘If you want business, find a need and fill it. If you don’t have customers, make a list of everyone you know. Support and encourage them in their current endeavors. Let them know where you are and what you have to offer. If you don’t have sales, add a free service. If you still don’t have sales or to increase the sales you have- add a low cost service. If you still don’t have sales, maybe you didn’t really find a need that needed to be filled.”

What are you doing right now to reach out to your base of support? If they are following you on any platform of social media- follow them back! Leave a nice comment every now and then. Believe me, they will pay attention to your messages, if they feel they have a personal connection to you!img_4356

  • If possible, reach out to your core supporters with a phone call or a post card. Start now, if you haven’t already, building an email list. Social Media advertising is still one of the best values out there. Be authentic and unforgettable!
  • If you currently have a website, add a blog. Write authentically, short updates of what your family is doing during this time of isolation. What you had for breakfast, a funny story about your children or pets- even show what you actually wear to work at home. Add any updates you’re making to your place of business- safety measures you plan to put in place. Behind the scenes is always a winner, just do it in good taste.
  • For awhile now, folks have been leaning into support businesses that give them a personalized shopping experience.  The businesses that are actively seeking ways to provide a service with their physical products are the ones most likely to weather this crisis. And service based businesses are finding now, that adding a product or a free service are too!
  • You may have to accept a smaller profit margin for a while, though some profit is better than no profit at all, right?
  • And while it may seem counterproductive, give. Many in times past, in serious financial difficulties found a way to ‘make sure no one who came to them hungry, left that way.’ Giving does have a way of multiplying and coming back to the giver. And, at the very least builds good will. Support local businesses, if they stay in business it helps yours!
  • New and future businesses must have a social media presence and ways to interact with their customers. I repeat– If you are a product based business, it is essential that you add as many services as possible. If you are a service based business, now might be the time to add a few products, even add how to instructions or videos.
  • Start now brainstorming ideas to make sure you have streams of income, rather than depending on just one.

This is a long post, which began with a beautiful staircase, the scene of brave folks who risked everything and still managed to forge ahead, build on what they had started and accomplish great things in less time than anyone would have imagined. They did it by taking those beautiful stairs one step at a time– each bringing the best of who they were as they began the long climb. This country was never a perfect union, they just had a hope to build a ‘more perfect’ place decade by decade, generation by generation of  determined folks – who despite the odds, the setbacks just kept coming back one step at a time.

Love y’all, Camellia

*A message from Brenda: We are keenly aware of the high unemployment numbers and are heartbroken about the economic hardships on so many. This post is essentially for small business owners and individuals who currently need ideas and encouragement to do what they can to keep their businesses going. If you are unemployed- often cottage industries have been started during times of great need and financial hardship. If you fall in this category, start small with great ideas- one step at a time. And! please don’t do anything that would interfere with the aid you are receiving in any form – governmental, grant or supplemental. Apply for it if you haven’t and take it one step at a time. Do whatever you can to take care of the basic needs of yourself and family, including staying as hopeful as you can.  Camellia and I will still be putting out lighthearted content yet- we feel the need to shift our focus to sending you serious content to help others. We welcome your suggestions too! We all hope for a safe sensible way to see the ‘Open’ sign on our favorite businesses again. Great love and prayers for you all, as we move through this unprecedented time in the history of the world. I’ll see you on the Stairs!img_4353


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