The Big Q: The world is changing, and now within the pandemic (that isn’t really over) some things aren’t running as we were once used to. How was Dr Locs’ business affected by the near-recent changes? And how did you learn to operate your business after going completely online and dealing with all those surprises?
The Words of Wisdom:
In order to bounce back into some sort of ‘normalcy’, we need to start off with reflecting.
On our e-commerce business end, we started by reflecting on 2019, 2020 and 2021. We had to compare our 2021 numbers to our 2019, not to our 2020 numbers, because 2020 was what we learned to consider a bonus year. We have to reflect on those three years, but the 2020 reflections bring up unique questions like: what if there are holes in the business? How can you succeed, pivot and adapt based on what we’ve seen and experienced?
For instance, The Village Market is a business which set up a space for different black business owners to set up shop. But then when COVID hit, no one was grouping together, so The Village Market’s business owner opened up a facility where people could come in smaller groups in order for her to continue running her business. This was a really good example of someone successfully pivoting and adapting to the 2020 changes.
How We Can Reflect as Business Owners
Look at the places you performed well, and where you may have done badly and decide what you can do differently. A great opportunity to reflect was in 2021, when we had a day of no social media. This could be the time to ask yourself: what are your strengths without social media?
Entrepreneur 101: we learned how to figure out what needed to be done and we adapted to those changes.
Why do you see 2020 as the Unicorn Year?
2020 was the Unicorn Year because it was different and not really all that realistic. It was new, something we had never seen before. We had no idea what to do and how to deal with it.
So what did we do?
We just figured it out.
Some of us made a lot of money and thought it would stay like that. But it changed as the effects of the pandemic changed, but it doesn't mean you’re failing if you don't have the same results that 2020 brought.
We're still in the pandemic, which is still affecting all the industries across the board. Financially, in this case, it's probably best to compare things to the year before, so 2021 to 2019. Pay attention to the ebbs and flows of business. We have seasons where we're doing really well in sales and seasons where we're not doing well in sales. When you look at your 2021 sales, it’s important to compare it to your 2019 sales instead of your 2020 sales, so you really get that realistic data and growth overview.
Bouncing back to reality?
Bouncing back to ‘normalcy,’ going back to reality, just means to reflect and really know where you and your business are at. For us, it was okay, we learned people could work from home and that’s the reality. People are still getting sick, which is still a reality.
Last year we couldn't order things we wanted to order, and this year there is still a delay in getting those materials. Some people are charging more for delivery costs to make up for those challenges. But the reality is getting back to your ‘why?’
For Dr Locs, it looks like a lot of people are going DIY to avoid the salons, so how do we suit this reality of our customers to answer to their world right now? We have to focus on our target audience and provide what they’re in need of. Videos and ‘how to’s’ from home are all ways we’ve pivoted and adapted to the changing times.
And the question is, how do we keep the business afloat?
Some of us got a lot of publicity last year if you were a black business owner. And we did a ton of interviews in 2019, then there was some silence, but by 2020 everyone called us back, which helped our businesses. But, by 2021, we returned to that level of attention we were receiving before 2019, which is why it’s best to really focus on the highs and lows of 2019 and how it compares to 2021 - this way you can really organize your expectations in a realistic way for 2022. So, the idea is to work with the changing times and reflect on the realistic ones too.