Category: Association Speaker

Now, more than ever, Every Business Must Be Resilient

 

As a motivational resilience speaker with a passion for small business, I know how tough it has been. My background as a small business owner, manager and consultant, made me aware of what every small business employee knows: the pandemic may be hindsight for several industries, but small business challenges continue.

Our Survival is Based on Us

In March 2021, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, issued an important report, The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Small Businesses. No small business, from the aircraft parts manufacturer with $90 million in revenues, to the pizzeria with $600,000 in revenues was surprised by the conclusion (the italics are mine):

“The effects of the pandemic will continue long after it ends. The pandemic changed patterns of consumption and forced businesses to find new ways of serving their customers. Some businesses have died, some have been born, and many that survive will have been permanently changed.”

Across America, no small business was spared; but in most large cities, especially foodservice, hospitality, travel and leisure, transportation related, niche schools and day care services, things were particularly bleak. If conditions weren’t bad enough for white-owned businesses, they were even worse for minority-owned businesses.

Everyone associated with a small business is being asked to dig deep as never before. The strength of every small business in America has not been in technology or raw ingredients or marketing, but in its people. We are innovative. We always find a way.

Its Time to Stand Up

In February 2021, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published an article entitled:

4 Ways to Make Your Small Business More Innovative. This was especially important in light of recovery from the effects on the pandemic. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agreed (the italics are mine):

“Big or small, innovations involve solving problems and challenges, whether with products or services, internal systems and processes or changes in the marketplace. But people in a company often get stuck in silos, unable to envision much beyond their area of expertise…rotate employees to different roles so they gain a broader understanding of the company’s challenges and opportunities. Have company leaders take a day each month to work in someone else’s shoes. Even the owner—especially the owner—should get her hands dirty on the factory floor, or perhaps answer customer service calls now and then.”

This is not the first time that small business has had to rise to the challenge. American small business has not only survived, but led the way through a Great Depression, recessions, diseases, Wars, famine, natural catastrophes and now – recovery from a pandemic.

There is nothing we can’t accomplish.

How do we stand up?

We stand up by having a shared mindset. Not individually, but as a company, organization, association, to overcome and out-innovate every challenge in our way.

Americans love this. It’s in our blood. It’s part of who we are.

We stand up by having a vision. Our vision is to succeed. Our vision is to work together and to see ourselves getting through this. If we’re stuck in our thinking, then let’s un-stick; if one door is closed to us, what’s our vision to open another door? If we can gain perspective from where we are, let’s have the vision to change perspectives.

Finally, no challenge has ever risen up for American small business that wasn’t overcome with the daily grit where we were determined to win. I know we can do this, and I know we will succeed.

 

 

For more information on booking Scott Burrows, Small Business Motivational Resilience Keynote Speaker for your next event, contact him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

Now, More Than Ever, Associations Must Engage Members

 

In my role as an association keynote speaker, I know that now, more than ever, associations must re-engage their members. Association membership has been in trouble for quite some time, and membership loss and membership engagement with those organizations have worsened during the pandemic.

In February 1, 2018, Associations Now published the results of a Member Loyalty Study that listed several reasons why members did not renew their memberships to associations.   Of the top reasons, three of them deserve note here:

  • 34% of members who dropped out said it was too costly
  • 26% of members who dropped out said the association was providing little value
  • 9% of members who dropped out said the organization had declined in quality

Unfortunately, with the pandemic, these same problems increased.  Michael Hickey, also writing for Associations Now (September 25, 2020) noted:

“Losing members is an unfortunate reality for every association. This is especially true in 2020, when new outside pressures—particularly the financial turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—might have more people ready to cut membership fees out of their expenses, on top other reasons [reported above] that people let memberships lapse.”

Business as Usual or a New Mindset?

There is no doubt that 2020 was a year of “financial turmoil,” but as a keynote speaker for associations I know that to attribute membership declines and a lack of engagement to lockdowns does not tell the whole story.

Unfortunately, in some associations the decline has gone on for years. Ironically, associations are needed now, more than ever. The glue that holds professionals together is the professional association.

Jan Hill, writing for Onelegal.com, a website directed at law associations, listed 10 advantages to belonging to an association. Among those advantages were: getting your name “out there,” job prospects, mentoring programs, networking and resources. If we couple those advantages with the survey above, it is apparent that there is a vision and mindset problem because the advantages an association offers are exactly the things members need.

Associations should be “blasting off” with new members at this time – and they’re not. COVID should be serving as a catalyst for expanding association membership and not a damper.

What is needed is a new association mindset. Whether the association addresses financial services, accounting, agriculture, manufacturing or dentistry, members need the combined expertise and common bonds shared with like-minded people.

Does your association have the mindset and the vision to engage existing members and to attract new members? If, as the survey showed, more than a third of your members may be dropping out because they think it’s too costly, or if more than a quarter of your members have left because they see little value, what is your association’s vision for new programs or services or engagement messaging? Very seriously, if members are leaving because of the declining quality of your association’s professional benefits, what is the collective mindset for improving that quality?

As we are being led out of the pandemic, the association must be there to lead the way and to put a public face to your industry. A healthy industry must have healthy associations. It will take mindset, vision and grit.

 

 

Book Scott Burrows, association keynote speaker by contacting him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169