STACY TUSCHL: “The one thing I really want you to stay and keep right now is your specific client, but other than that, everything could be changing for you. I mean, we have people that have to close their doors, cannot sell what it is they do, and they have to make hard pivots. And I just keep saying to them, ‘What does your customer need right now that you could help with?’ So we've been doing fun things, where we're offering live story time with their teachers. So my little ones have been watching their dance teacher read a story when they go to bed at night. Little things like that.”
“Some of you are going to have to sell different products. We had one of our students reach out to me, and she said she was a children's play place. So she's a brick and mortar, it's been shut down, and the worst part for her is she doesn't have recurring students like I do. So imagine somebody like her, who has all these expenses and no money coming in. So she said, ‘I listened to your podcasts. I got scrappy today,’ and she decided to do these Easter basket deliveries, where she is going to be the Easter Bunny and drop off baskets at houses. And people were paying. She made $4,000 in one day.”
AMY PORTERFIELD: “What? That is brilliant.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: Okay. Before we get going, a quick word from our sponsor.
This episode is sponsored by Gravy. If you have a subscription-model business, like a membership site, or offer payment plans like I do with my digital courses, you've got to listen up. One of my biggest frustrations in the past was lost money due to failed payment plans. In fact, it used to keep me up at night. I would worry about all the people that were on a payment plan because if they stopped their payments, I'd be screwed. That's when I started working with Gravy. Gravy sets up a system inside your business, where they contact your customers within hours of their failed payments, and they capture updated billing information and save the customer.
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If your revenue is currently at $250,000 or more, and you know you're losing money due to failed payment plans each month, I want to encourage you to check out Gravy. Here's the great news. Gravy is offering my listeners their first month free. So if you want to book a discovery, call to find out if your business is a good fit for everything Gravy has to offer, go to amyporterfield.com/Gravy.
I have such a treat for you today. I've brought on my friend Stacy Tuschl, who is an expert when it comes to growing small businesses. And get this. She has both a brick-and-mortar business as well as an online business, and both are insanely successful. So who better to come on the podcast today and talk about navigating a brick-and-mortar business, a local business, through our current times?
We are in a pandemic, we are dealing with things we've never dealt with before, and when it comes to a brick-and-mortar business, where you are relying on foot traffic, you have to change the way you make money and the way you serve your clients. And so today we're going to talk to Stacy about how to shift your brick-and-mortar business to a successful online business, either in the meantime, or maybe more long term.
So Stacy has built a multi-million dollar company called the Academy of Performing Arts, which is a brick-and-mortar business that offers dance and music lessons. She also has an online business and a program called the Foot Traffic Formula, which helps small businesses around the world get more customers in the door, more profit in their pocket, and more happiness in their homes.
Stacy has so much valuable insight around navigating your business in these turbulent times, and even more so, she has a unique angle from being a brick-and-mortar-business owner as well. So we're going to chat about how to shift and pivot your business and find a creative way to create success in a new light while still supporting your customers. So let's get to it.
Well, hey, there, Stace. Welcome back to the show.
STACY: Thank you so much for having me. I know I wish it was better times that I'm back, but I think we've got some good news to share today, so this will be fun.
AMY: I think we do. And the reason why I wanted you to come on the show specifically is, number one, when it comes to brick-and-mortar local businesses, you are always top of mind for me. And number two, you've got this great talent and knowledge of knowing not only the local business, but also online business. So you are the perfect person to talk to in order to merge both of those together during a time of uncertainty and crisis. And like you said, we do have some good news to share as well, and so this is a very timely episode. We're going to get into all of the things.
But before we do, give me a sense of how you're feeling about everything and just how you're navigating your way through this, how you're working with your clients. Like, give me a big picture kind of check in.
STACY: Yeah. And it's interesting because I can really share the difference between brick-and-mortar and online. Because I have both businesses, I can tell you how they're really feeling and what the difference is and all of that.
So I will say that brick-and-mortar has been hit, even when I was thinking this, I'm, like, at least ten times harder. I can't even imagine that that number is even relevant. It feels like a hundred times harder.
I saw this thing. It was recession proof your online business. And to me, I was just thinking, the fact that you're an online business is pretty recession proof when you're looking at these brick-and-mortars who are shut down. I mean, imagine your local chiropractor right now, the hair salon, the children's recreational activities. I mean, we are just completely closed. These kids are not able to come into our building. We have to shut our doors. Our teachers are no longer able to come into our facility. So it's just been crazy. And I've never experienced anything like this.
I've been in business for eighteen years. I've been through the last 2008 recession, and I was preparing for a recession. I actually had a podcast back in February talking about recession proofing and how I was preparing. But this is nothing like 2008. I mean, it's so drastic. And the thing that saved me back in 2008 was parents didn't want to cut out their children’s dance. They wanted their kids to be as normal, everyday activities as possible and keep them in the things they loved.
Now in 2020, parents don't want their kids out and about. They're nervous of their health. So people are going, “No, thank you. We are not coming in.” So it's very different for my type of business and many other businesses when it comes to service-based businesses. That's been, I think, the biggest thing.
But if you would have interviewed me two weeks ago, this interview would have been a lot more—I'll tell you. I mean, there was days I cried. There were days that—I mean, it was just crazy to think, what if? What is going to happen here? And to not know if I was going to come out of this, if I wanted to come out of this. I was picturing hundreds of thousands of dollars accumulated in debt, and where would I be in six months, and all of that.
So today, thankfully, I know you mentioned that you had a stimulus podcast recently, and that has been the greatest blessing that I have heard in the last couple of weeks. So it feels really comforting to know the government has your back. They are here to help and support small businesses.
AMY: Amen to that. So on Wednesday, just a few days ago, guys, I did a podcast episode with Casey Graham, and we were talking about how small businesses can take advantage of the $350 billion earmarked for small businesses, with the stimulus package. And there are so many opportunities there, and you'd be surprised how you likely do qualify. And so, when I read all about it, I thought, “Wait. This is really doable for so many of our students and our customers.” And so that, thank God, it’s very good and very doable. So go check out that episode.
But that’s a huge silver lining. And at the same time, even before the stimulus package came out, I've been listening to your podcast, Foot Traffic, and I've been paying close attention to what you're sharing because I serve most people that have online businesses. But some of them have brick-and-mortar and some of them serve brick-and-mortar. And so with that, I thought we’ve got to have this conversation because with so many snap decisions needing to be made, how are you prioritizing what's most important and what needs your attention most? And how can my listeners who do have a brick-and-mortar or something similar like that, how can they do the same?
STACY: So I do think everybody needs to be very conscious of their calendar right now, more than ever. What are you putting on it? What are you saying yes to? I have had to turn down so many opportunities over the last few weeks because I just didn't know what was to come or what am I going to need to do, and I would hate for something like, let's say today the stimulus package gets released, and my bank needs me to act quickly. If I have my day jam packed, how do I do that, when making quick action right now is the best thing we can be doing? So really, I would say that's number one.
Another thing is being really proactive and not reactive. So my team has been coming up with plan A, B, C, at all times. If the state announces this, we'll do x. If they announce this, what would we do? And we're having these plans ready to go because things are happening so quickly, and we want to make sure our customers see how much we're trying and what ideas we have. And we want to stay ahead of our competitors because trust me, people are definitely comparing. Well, the other studio down the road is doing this. Well, the other hair salon just offered that. So you've got to be really careful that you're staying innovative in a time like this, for sure.
And I think, when you were talking about prioritizing, time is a big one because now that the kids are home, some of us are homeschooling for the first time. We're doing all of the things. I had Tanner say to me for the first time this past week, she's like, “Mom, you work all the time,” and it hurt. But I was like, no, you're normally at school right now. You don't see me working. You're supposed to be gone. But it's different. And I'm taking more breaks because I want to be with them while they're home. So I think your time.
But then, definitely, looking at what's coming in. Like, where is that revenue? What could keep coming in or what is potential for new things? We had to take a look at a few of our products and say, these are low-profit margins. Let's stop charging. Let's stop having this be a place where our employees are putting their time and energy so we can pull them over here. Like, we're really just assessing what is going to give us the most bang for our buck when it comes to our time and it comes to our money. And then just really leaning in to what is working. This isn't a time to try to fill that thing that was never doing well before. You really got to ask yourself, what do they need right now, and what can we lean into?
AMY: I love that. I was listening to something from Michael Hyatt around the crisis conversation, and he was saying that in a time of crisis, if you are an entrepreneur, usually a light will shine on the things that are not working even brighter so that it's very clear what you should stop doing and likely you should have stopped doing it months ago or years ago. But now it's like, okay, I see it even more clearly now. I'm going to stop doing that.
STACY: Yeah. I think it shines a light on a lot of things, even people that are on your team. And I joked, I said to one of my team members, “She’s the first to go.” Anybody’s getting laid off—not even laid off. Some of these people you’re looking at, and you’re thinking, “They should have been fired six months ago.” And as harsh as that sounds, you start to see the flaws or the things that you just you feel like, oh, I don't want to do that or I'd hate to have to do that. But you start to make much smarter decisions.
And when I was planning a few months ago, kind of recession proofing, because everybody had been talking, a recession is coming. This is not something that we haven't heard of before. So I started to look at my expenses, and I was looking at what could I cut out and what could I do. And it's funny because a few months ago, I thought, I got as lean as I possibly could. And then when we did it again a two weeks ago, we saw all the things that we thought we had to have. But really, they're not moving the needle as much as they need to be.
AMY: Yeah. I really think that's so important to take the time to look at those things and allow yourself to make some decisions that feel really scary, but you know, holy cow, I probably should've done this a while ago, so let's get moving on this. So I'm glad that we talked about that.
Now, is there any way—even really a simple step by step? because I know my audience loves any good step by step—that a brick-and-mortar business can transition from in-store to online quickly? What are some tangible actions that they can take to start serving their audience online ASAP?
STACY: Yeah. Well, first, if you have ever considered yourself not tech savvy or that's something that you've said before, I mean, the fact that you're listening to this podcast, I know you are more tech savvy than the average person out there. And as we transitioned our studios into virtual lessons, I remembered how back to basics we had to go. You know, people who are on my leadership team, working for me, that had never used Zoom before, and they were asking questions like, well, where do we put the video, and where do people find the video? And then, I mean, the most-basic questions, where I'm like, whoa, if they're not getting this—and these are high-level people—how are our customers, who maybe are a stay-at-home mom, who've never opened up the Zoom app, going to figure this out?
AMY: Fair enough. Yeah. You got to think about that stuff.
STACY: Definitely talk to the beginner, beginner person. And then the people that will fly through it will fly through it. But you really need to talk to the person who's going to complain and drop because all of a sudden they can't figure this out.
And I also noticed we have to be educating them on the value of virtual. So we switched our private music lessons. We offer private piano music, guitar. So teacher still shows up. They’re on their piano. Kid is there live with them, still doing the lesson. Thirty minutes. Nothing has changed except for they’re not sitting side by side.
The amount of parents that, not in a rude way, but they just said, “So what's the discount going to be now that it's virtual?” They're thinking this is of less value now that it’s not in person.
AMY: What did you do about something like that?
STACY: Yeah. So this is where you have to educate our customers and really explain to them, the teachers are bringing the same value, the same preparedness, polished, professionalism that you've always seen, but just virtual. So we have not, as of yet, discounted our music lessons. And we only had, I think my sister, who's my general manager, she just updated me with my numbers. And I think we had twenty dance and twenty music, out of almost, like, 900-plus people coming to us. And we've been closed now for, I think, three weeks-plus. So that's actually really impressive. I think my team has done a really good job.
And we've also been saving people. So after they call the drop or cancel, we're even tracking the number of saves of the people that said they wanted to stop, but then my team has said, “Hey, but did you know we're doing this ?” or “Did you see what this looks like over here?” And they're doing such a great job in that educational piece. So that's a big one. Make sure you are educating your employees, your contractors, if they're talking to your customers.
AMY: Okay, so, and real fast, out of about 900 people, only twenty have cancelled?
STACY: Twenty in dance and twenty in music, so about forty total.
AMY: Wow. You should be so proud of yourself. That's amazing.
STACY: Yeah. I actually just had a CPA meeting last week, Friday, and he was blown away with our numbers and what we've done and where we're heading. And now with the stimulus, I mean, things are looking so well that we're looking at giving credits out to our people that have continued to pay and be loyal, because I want to show them that we're also thinking of them, too. And if we're going to be getting this money, I want them to know we're in this for the long haul. Like, the good, the bad. We're not going to just take this money and run, because we haven't been affected yet. I shouldn't say we haven't been affected. Obviously, forty drops is not normal in this time of year, but it could get a lot worse, heading into April and May as well. So that's a couple of things I would say.
Then I would say YouTube and Google are your best friends. There are how-to tutorials everywhere, and there are things being posted every day. So really, have your team go to YouTube. Go to Google. This is where we're getting resourceful. We are getting scrappy. We are figuring this out one day at a time.
And then I would also say, if you know somebody that's been using Zoom or using certain platforms that you all of a sudden need to do, just call them and see if they can kind of walk through their best tips. Because I know, Amy, if you and I did a few tips for Skype or Zoom, we'd be able to give you a crash course in very few minutes versus you watching a ten-minute tutorial. So, again, who can you check out? But then at the same time, if you are one of those people who know how to do this, you are tech savvy, I encourage you, reach out to your favorite brick-and-mortar. Reach out to your schools.
One of my team members said, “Our schools are not doing virtual. They don't know how to do this.” And she's somebody who works virtually every day for the past however many years, and I said, “Reach out to them. If you love this school and you want your kids to still participate, you know you can help them do it.” So people like that is what's going to help this economy continue to thrive.
AMY: I love that. Stu McLaren, who both you and I know, I remember about a week ago, he said, “I'm on the phone right now with my kid’s school, teaching them how to do virtual so that they can get up and running quickly.” I'm like, that is just the coolest thing, where we can jump in as online business owners knowing how to do this—we do Zoom every day—how can we help kind of thing. I love that.
STACY: Well, I was on a Zoom call with my kid’s teacher, and she's giving instructions, and I can tell this is probably her first time jumping on. And in the chat, I said, “Oh, here's what the Gallery View button is.” I'm giving her a tip. But she didn't even know where the chat was even see. So if you guys can be helping, I mean, share with everybody the knowledge that you know. And if you have this imposter syndrome of, oh, I'm not that good at this yet, you're probably much smarter than the average person who has never been in this world before.
AMY: So very true. Great point.
So tell me this. How can local in-store brick-and-mortar business owners get creative and actually serve their customers online? What does that look like?
STACY: So I've been telling a lot of my clients that the one thing I really want you to stay and keep right now is your specific client, but other than that, everything could be changing for you. I mean, we have people that have to close their doors, cannot sell what it is they do, and they have to make hard pivots. And I just keep saying to them, “What does your customer need right now that you could help with?” So we've been doing fun things, where we're offering live story time with their teachers. So my little ones have been watching their dance teacher read a story when they go to bed at night. Little things like that, where they’re still free, but then it’s also getting that community that retention.
Some of you are going to have to sell different products. We had one of our students reach out to me, and she said she was a children's play place. So she's a brick and mortar, it's been shut down, and the worst part for her is she doesn't have recurring students like I do. I’m on automatic withdraw, and everybody’s credit cards are on file. With her, they’re not. You just dropped in, and you paid right then and there.
So imagine somebody like her, who has all these expenses and no money coming in. So she said, “I listened to your podcasts. I got scrappy today,” and she decided to do these Easter basket deliveries, where she is going to be the Easter Bunny and drop off baskets at houses. And people were paying. She made $4,000 in one day.
AMY: What? That is brilliant.
STACY: And she got PR press from it. Her community shouted her out. They even gave them the link if they wanted to participate in this. So I just want you to understand that is not something she's ever offered before. She doesn't ever leave her building. And now she's doing things where she's delivering, right?
Now, I shared that with my community, and some people that were listening weren't even in that industry, aren't even serving children. And they said, “I'm going to do this in my community.” So this is where you have to get scrappy, and you've got to figure out what can you do.
Now, the reason I say try to stay with your individual clients that you're already serving is that when this is over and when we get through it, I don't want you to have a separate list you've built, that you're not going to do anything with. So if you can keep your same people, it's going to be a lot easier for long-term strategy and growth than if you're just hopping around, trying to take any money you can get from anywhere. It doesn't make sense long term for you to do that.
AMY: I totally agree. There's an opportunity sometimes to go for a new market, but if you're not going to stay in that new market or continue to serve them after the fact, I'd rather you find ways to get really scrappy with whatever you have. And I know that you also, you've created a no-brainer offer for your business. Is that right?
STACY: Yeah. So what’s funny is—remember my brick-and-mortar, there's not a lot of crossover with my employees. There's only one person out of fifty employees that works in both businesses. So my staff is definitely not in this online-business world. So I said we're going to create a no-brainer offer, which, for a lot of us, we kind of know what that means. It's like this value and that value, and it totals to $49,000, but only for $197, you're going to get this. The insane, how could I only be paying this amount to get all of that? I'm like, that's what we're going to do for April. We needed to make sure that everybody wanted to keep paying. So we came up with this offer of, here's what we're providing for the same amount you've been paying. Look at all of these things we are throwing in. So I want you to ask yourself, what no-brainer offer are you going to continue to do to continue to sell and serve?
I've watched a lot of competitors in this space. And unfortunately, some good, some bad, and some people being really vulnerable and honest in sharing, but just basically saying, please keep paying so we can keep our doors open. But we're pausing. We're not doing anything right now. And yes, I want you to get vulnerable and share, but still keep that professionalism. And remember, you don't want to be putting too much out there as well. You want to stay a business that people want to be a part of, not a business that looks like they're failing. Perception is everything. And you've got to be really, really careful. So I want you to figure out a way to continue to serve and give and not just say, “We're closing. We're not charging you, but we'll be back soon,” because honestly, we don't know when we'll be back. And that's a really scary and risky move to do right now.
AMY: It really is. We genuinely don't know. At the time of this recording, we were just told at least another month. So we just don't know.
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Okay, back to the episode.
I do want you to talk a little bit—because I actually saw you talk about this, and I was like, go, girl. You are on a roll. Talk about the limiting belief when people say, “Yeah, but no one's spending money right now.”
STACY: Okay, yeah. I get so hyped up.
AMY: Here she goes. She’s ready.
STACY: I’m pretty sure I’m screaming at the camera, when you saw.
AMY: You were. But I loved it.
STACY: My husband watched it on the replay on Instagram Stories. He's like, why are you yelling?
AMY: It actually stopped me in my tracks. I totally loved it. The passion was there. So give me some of that passion right now.
STACY: Okay. Because people keep saying that. My clients keep saying that. And I think it's an excuse to give up a little bit, or to think, I can curl up in a ball for a little bit. I can just watch Netflix because people aren't spending money. So it gives you a way to get an out. And I had said to the people listening live, I said, “How many of you have purchased a want this week, that isn't a need, you didn't need it at all, but you still bought it?” The amount of people, dropping in the comments, I bought this. I spent on Amazon yesterday. I got Oreos, and, like, the dumbest things that, of course, we don't need right now. And I just said, “Okay, there is proof. There is evidence.”
And ask yourself, those that are listening right now, how many of you in the last—it's been three weeks now—how many of you have bought something that you truly didn't need? And I bet a good portion are going to say, yeah, I actually did. And if you can just believe and see the evidence that people are still spending money on things that they don't necessarily need but want, there is still an opportunity for every single business out there to make money. And I need you to believe it in order to truly commit to taking action, knowing that that result is going to be what you want it to be. So please believe me, as I say to you, people are spending money every single day, and there's an opportunity for you to still make money right now.
AMY: Amen, sister. I'm totally with you there.
Now, speaking of money, when it comes to money, how can you stretch it as long as possible? So what expenses can you safely cut, and what expenses must stay as-is?
STACY: So I think a couple things to be asking yourself first is, is this truly an expense, something that is going to cost me money; or is this a revenue generator? And I want you to really look at every single thing you are doing. I bet you have a lot of different software, possibly even people on your team, you think you need to be doing certain things or paying for certain things, but they're not actually producing a result for you. And I need you to really look at that and start to assess, okay?
So a couple of things for a brick-and-mortar, just to kind of get your wheels spinning, but I do this in my online business, too. But in my brick-and-mortar, we paused our dumpster service. Why would I have a dumpster service every two weeks when we don't have people throwing garbage away? It doesn't make sense. So again, when I looked at recession proofing my business a few months ago, I would never have stopped my dumpster service. So even if you've done this recently, where you've cut expenses, you've got to do it again in a different mindset.
Little things like unplugging our vending machines that take a lot of energy to continue to use. We’re in Wisconsin, so we still have our heat on, but we turned our heat down. We cut out anything that truly isn't making us money right this second. So that's a big one. Go through your credit-card bill for the last month, and ask yourself, every single credit-card expense and bank-account expense, which ones are making you money or could be? Maybe you need to lean in to a revenue generator. Maybe you have a course or something that you could potentially be making money, but you just haven't leaned into it enough to really see that return yet. Look at those types of things.
So now isn't the time to not spend at all. So we were looking at doing something on Zoom, and I realized, “Oh, we're going to need Zoom Webinar for that, not just Zoom Meeting.” And somebody on my team said, “Oh, but that's forty dollars a month, so we shouldn't get that.” I said, “No, that's going to make us money or retain the money coming in, so forty dollars still makes sense.” But if it's something that isn't really going to do anything for us or move the needle, then, yes, let's get rid of that, for sure.
But I keep telling people, now isn't the time you're cutting out your mentor. You need them now more than ever. You need to be diving in deeper. Get rid of the news and turn on podcasts, like these, because you need to surround yourself with positivity, people that are helping you move forward and not getting you paralyzed and stuck in this mindset of, things are not going to go well.
AMY: Oh, so good. I love that. I also know that you have some credit-card holders on your team, right? So what did you say to them?
STACY: So, first, if you are a small-business owner, you may have other people that have credit cards that are in your name. And they maybe have had different rules or policies of what they could spend and what they could buy. But I wanted them to know this is a different time right now. So I sent out an email to all of our credit-card holders. There's probably six people on my team that have a credit card. And I just said, “As of right now, do not spend a dollar without sending a message directly to me.” Typically, I would never even be the one to approve. It would be a manager. But right now, I really wanted to have them justify it to me if we needed it or not. So I said, “Please don't spend any money. I wanted to see if we really need to do it.” And what I'm looking for is, is this going to really help us in the long run? So I was explaining to them the difference between an expense and a revenue generator. And honestly, knowing that they're not spending any money and we won't be either unless it's something that's going to help us, we are going to drastically cut our credit-card expenses this month, for sure.
AMY: Yeah. That's going to make a big difference. So looking at all areas of the business, especially a brick-and-mortar, so incredibly important.
So where do you see the future of brick-and-mortar business going? I mean, it's not going away. And this, too, shall pass. But what do you see for the future?
STACY: I think some small businesses will change permanently. I think some people, maybe they're going to enjoy the virtual aspect more. Maybe their clients will enjoy it more. So I definitely see some businesses looking unrecognizable when this is over. I've already had some brick-and-mortars who have switched a few things online and they're like, “Why haven't I been doing this online?” To them, it’s like the most amazing idea ever. And they might really start to like the no overhead of the mortgage, and all of those things. So I could see people being forced into the online space, but then wanting to stay and wanting to get rid of some of the things that they have with their brick-and-mortar.
Now, I also think you might go, “Oh, no, we're changing back,” but your clients might start to love the virtual. What if my music people, what if my music students say, “Oh, no, we don’t want to come back in. We really liked the convenience of it”? You've got to get ready for training your people to, all of a sudden, like the shift that you've just made. So we won't know what happens until we get back.
But for people like myself or in a service-based industry, you've got the massages, masseuses, people like that, anything like that, that is not going to go away. You’re not going to get a virtual massage, right? Dance classes are social. You’re going to have to go to the dentist. There are people that we will never go away because it's just not the same online as it is in person.
So I would say really assess. Are you one of those businesses? You know, will you pivot a little bit harder in the online space; or do you know you will be coming back, the doors will be open again, and you really, truly are here to stay? If you drive down your main street, your typical small-business roads, where the strip malls are, there are so many businesses that we need those businesses. They're never going to completely go away.
So I think there will definitely be some pivots, some tweaks. I think some people, unfortunately, won't be able to make it. They'll make bad decisions, rash decisions, that will lose customers forever.
Did you know—I just found this out today. Google My Business, Google reviews have actually stopped allowing people to leave reviews since March 20 because of the backlash that small-business owners are getting and how they don't want that information out there because they feel so horrible for these small businesses who don't know what they're doing right now, making these horrible choices. I have never heard of Google My Business ever doing that, ever.
AMY: Oh, wow. They’re saying so many people are giving bad reviews based on decisions the local businesses have made, and so they’re like, wait a second. Let’s just take this option away because this is going to hurt so many small businesses.
STACY: Yeah. They said the amount of malicious things that were coming in through March 20 were so horrible that that's why they decided to take it down. Just to show you the backlash we could be getting in our communities where we live, it's a very different situation. Even people continuing with us, it doesn't mean 100 percent of them love what we're doing right now. We've gotten some not-nice emails. I've had some not-nice things said about me these past few weeks. Fortunately, this isn't the first time that I've had to go through things like this, where you know that you can't please everybody, but you do know that you're just doing the best you can, and you have to keep reminding yourself that every day. So take it with a grain of salt. If you've been getting complaints or people aren't loving what you're doing, we had somebody say, “We think you should be giving us all this value and everything you've promised for free. But keep doing it.”
AMY: It blows my mind.
STACY: So you want us to take all of our people, but not take any money in. Okay, that sounds like a horrible business decision.
AMY: It does not sound like a good one.
One thing that I thought was interesting that you said when you and I were talking offline is that some people—salons or dance studios or anything like that—it might feel a little bit like you’re starting over, like you're building up your customer list again. And that feels daunting. What would you say to people that are like, “I feel like we lost half of our clientele, and we're starting over”?
STACY: Yeah, I do think part of us, part of our business, is going to be starting from scratch a little bit. And that's even unfair to say that phrase, because no one is ever truly starting from scratch. Even if we lost all of our people, we have so much knowledge, so much information to build a business again. And when I was kind of going through the worst-case scenario a few weeks ago, I literally was convincing myself of losing everything and losing my business. And I'm like, okay, what would I do? Like, well, I would start another business, and I would do it faster. I would do it smarter. I would know all the things to do. And it gave me confidence. So even if you lose half of your list or a very large portion, you are so much stronger because of this situation, and you will know how to do what you've just done even faster. So don’t let yourself go down that rabbit hole of thinking things are going to go that way.
Now, I will say, and I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but I will say some people will be so affected by this, where they won't be able to continue to pay for our services. They will cut back and maybe not get their hair done as often as they were, or stop getting their nails done or some of those just things that we do for pleasure, because maybe they've been out of work for four weeks, six weeks. Who knows? So I do see this turning into somewhat of a recession, if not a full blown recession, depending on what happens. But we've always been preparing for that.
And we also know—I don't know if you've seen this in the online space, but in the brick-and-mortar world, every election year, our numbers are down. It's the craziest thing. Every time around election year, people pull back. And this is true, I know, for real estate. Everybody wants to know who's the new president, what does this mean for me, and what do I need to be thinking about? So people wait for spending and all of that coming up in fall. So we were already kind of preparing for a little bit of a down fall, and now we're looking at it like we have no idea what this is going to look like.
AMY: It’s so crazy when you think of it that way, but it's true. And I've seen that happen over and over again.
Now, tell me this. How can business owners see the silver lining in this shift?
STACY: It's hard to see it when you think of it. But I did some reflecting this week. And so I really was like, there's got to be some good out of this. What does this look like? And for me, I already had been thinking, just in the world I live in, especially having a children's industry, these kids are overscheduled. They are doing five nights, six nights, club sports. They're running around like kids have never done this before. Even us, we're working nonstop on our computers constantly, just all the time on our phones, right? And what has this already forced us to do? Well, kids are now taking a break from everything. They’re home with us. We're having to slow down. I can tell you, I've been working a lot but not as much I feel like as I normally would have because the kids are around, and I still want to pop back in and say hi, or hang out with them for lunch. So it's thrown off a little bit, but in a good way. So I think there is some good that is going to come out of it.
I also think, like we said before, you're going to find the things that you should have always been leaning into. You are going to start cutting the fluff. You are going to start really serving. I think now more than ever, the people that will thrive will be the people and business owners that focus on getting their clients results. I said to my team this morning on a team meeting for Foot Traffic, right now we're doing great. Online business is great. We had a great week. However, that does not mean that people won't start dropping or asking for refunds or wanting to pause their membership. And I said the only way that that doesn't happen is if we focus on getting them results. If we focus on being their life preserver over the next twelve months, they'll want to stay with us. But we have to be so heavily focused on what we're doing for them. So it kind of just gets us back to where we always should have been.
So I think in this craziness of everything going on, it's happening for a reason. You're going to have to lay off maybe the people that shouldn't have been with you from maybe the last six months. You're going to get rid of programs you never should have had listed. There's so many good things that is going to come out of this. It's just really hard to see it until we're on the other side of it.
AMY: It is, but it's great to be reminded of that. And somebody is listening right now, where they couldn't see the silver lining, and they're hearing this, and they're like, okay, maybe I could see a little sliver of it. Maybe I could get on board. And that's where it starts. So that's why I'm so glad we had the conversation.
STACY: Yeah. And I think you will come up with products and programs and services that you have never come up with before, and some of those will stick and stay. We've already come up with three new ideas that I think is going to be brilliant moving forward, things that the way that people pay us and we added these paid trials instead of people having to commit and jump in for a certain amount of time. These types of things that we're doing now, we're already watching and going, wow, this is working, it's really helping us, and it might be something that stays with us from now on. We would never have thought of that a month ago when we didn't have to, but it forces you to get creative.
AMY: Yes. That's the thing. You get creative. And another word I keep using is you get scrappy. You kind of just are like, what do I got, what can I work with, and what can I do with that? So I think we're all going to come out of this different. And hopefully the majority of us, especially those that are listening to the podcast, doing the work, showing up, we're going to come out of this stronger. And that's what I keep reminding myself.
And speaking of the mindset shift around the silver lining, you and I are both huge fans of Brooke Castillo, and I know you shared that she talked about a really empowering mindset shift the other day. Will you share that with us here?
STACY: Yeah. So mindset is so huge in this time. I mean, it's always important, but it's more important now. I have not gone a day without meditating, knowing that I really need to stay positive right now. So I'm in Brooke’s Scholars program, in her program, and they have this private coach. So I actually worked with a private coach on this, and I came to her, thinking I was even thinking I was too busy to go to the call. I was going to cancel. And I thought, honestly, I probably need this now more than ever, even if I just said one thing I'm thinking and see what she can do. So Brooke has the model, which I'm sure you’ve talked about a couple times on the podcast.
AMY: Yes, we love the model.
STACY: So Brooke has this model. And my thought was, we charge our recurring people on the fifteenth of every month. So in my head, I kept thinking, how many people are going to drop before April 15? which is, even just saying it out loud, I get anxious. It's a scary feeling because we have 900-plus people that are going to be charged, and I'm like, what if they all drop? What if half of them dropped? I’m doing the math in my head. So that thought makes me feel debilitated, it makes me feel paralyzed, it makes me feel desperate, which then, as we're working through this, she's like, okay, so what does that make you take action on? I’m like, actually, it makes me take a little action. I'm thinking, what are we even doing here? Why are we trying? What is this really going to do? So the result is people will drop before April 15. I mean, I'm actually doing the thing that I don't want to happen because I'm focusing on the wrong area, the wrong thought.
So she helped me change the thought to something positive. So we changed it to, I am committed to overdelivering and serving my audience. I mean, just the difference in what I just said about how many people are going to drop. And she also said, don't ever ask yourself a question, because your brain answers it, like I said, with everybody, they’re all leaving me. I asked my mom last week, I said, “Hey, I'm just confirming I can move in with you.” And she started laughing. I was like, “No, my mind is there. We’re moving in together. Get ready.”
But anyway, changing the thought to, I'm committed to overdelivering and serving my audience, I now feel empowered. I feel excited. I feel scrappy. So then, all of a sudden, I get incredibly creative, and that's when we came up with our no-brainer offer. I came up with it, and my sister, who's the general manager, was like, there's no way we could give all that away. Like, that's such an insane offer. I’m like, that's the point.
So the result is, people will stay and see the value. And we've only had forty drop, which, to me, is showing me this is working. Our scrappiness is really helping us move forward. So the power in the shift of what you're thinking. It’s okay to sit there for a minute and have that thought. But then you’ve really got to switch gears and figure out, well, what's the positiveness? How can I really move forward and help?
AMY: Yes, exactly. Changing that thought means everything to you moving forward, you feeling like you can control what's happening around you. You can't control everything, but there are things that we can control, and one of those things is the thoughts in our head. So I'm so glad we are ending with that. So incredibly important.
Stacy, you are a wealth of knowledge. You know I'm such a fan of everything you do. Thank you so very much for coming on the show, because I know you just added a lot of value to my listeners.
STACY: Thank you so much for having me. Anything I can do, I’m here to serve you guys. I appreciate you so much, Amy.
AMY: Okay, well, tell people where can they find you—podcast and website.
STACY: Yeah. So, you know, Amy, I go all in. So when it's a time like this, I am giving, giving, giving. So our podcast, we are dropping three to five episodes every week, and it's real-time content. So go check out the Foot Traffic Podcast. We have tons of stuff there for you guys. And then best place to find me on social is Instagram.
AMY: Perfect. All right. Thanks again, Stacy. I can’t wait to talk to you again soon.
STACY: Bye, Amy.
AMY: So there you have it. I want to challenge you to get scrappy and get creative so that you can find some new opportunities in your business. And if you're committed to showing up in a big way, your business will be even stronger when this all passes, because this, too, shall pass. So take these tangible strategies that Stacy offered and put them into use. I promise you, you'll start to see growth in new ways. And I feel as though these strategies can bring you more peace and more confidence so that you can make better decisions moving forward.
Now, if you need a little extra support or guidance, head on over to the Online Marketing Made Easy free Facebook group, where you'll find myself and a group of determined, like-minded entrepreneurs. At this time, I'm doing some special Q&As about COVID-19 in that group, so you can show up and ask some questions as well.
And of course, if you loved what you heard today, be sure to share it with a loved one. And of course, if you loved what you heard today, I would love for you to subscribe to the podcast, and I'd be so grateful if you would leave a review, and if you'd loved it, a five-star rating, so I can continue to reach and support entrepreneurs just like you.
All right, guys, I will see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.