The impact of COVID-19 has touched every business and every industry in some way. This global issue has caused companies to either adapt with agility or face closure. In unfamiliar territory, business professionals looked to expert consultants to help them navigate.
Luke Lazarus is a mentor for small businesses, offering expert consulting services to startups since 2005. He excels at finding weaknesses and helping companies address issues to be stronger. His blunt and brutal honesty won’t hold punches as he provides realistic and constructive criticism to companies under his care. With his support, he has helped dozens of companies on tiny budgets make moves to initial public offerings (IPOs) worth millions. His insightful approach has helped his clients continue to build despite the challenges of coronavirus hitting all industries.
Startups Struggle with Insight
Most small startups are drowning in new issues and processes. Startup owners typically put in 10- to 15-hour workdays trying to get their startup into a solid place. As they push so hard towards success, they often miss gaping holes that could be detrimental to their business. Issues that come up with startups are rarely because of a lack of effort on the part of the owner. They are typically due to a lack of experience.
The rigorous style of Lazarus’s consulting holds a strong focus on insight from data analysis. He has a passion for startups that started with creating his first business at 8 years old. He continually created successful businesses, creating four businesses within the decade after graduating with his master’s degree in business administration from Melbourne Business School. Lazarus believes a strong emotional connection between customers and key stakeholders is very important to a growing company.
The Pandemic Impact on Small Business
The wave of COVID-19 hit the small business sector hard. Large and small companies had to reevaluate their approach in the wake of major disruptions to workflow, accessibility, distribution and productivity. In many cases, small companies and startups couldn’t weather the storm of uncertainty, closures, new safety requirements, stalled supply chains and volatile markets. Luke Lazarus offered a voice of stability in the wake of unprecedented closures and changes. His approach to marketing encouraged businesses to become a calm voice of reason that focused on helpfulness and community support.
Recommendations for company marketing included getting employees involved and thinking big picture. Lazarus keyed in on brands providing helpful and accurate information to customers, taking special care not to add to the chaos or confusion. He consults brands to avoid alarmist attitudes and avoid capitalizing on high emotions. Brands should grow because of the value they offer, not the high emotions of fear or desperation they can conjure.
With a focus on giving back to his community through consulting, Lazarus has turned away from goals focused on money alone. He could have continued building startups of his own that would make millions, but money alone wasn’t enough. He believes there is a real value in becoming part of an innovative community to help others rise as well. He holds his clients to this same standard, expecting companies to help their communities with their services and not build from apathy or exploitation. With his support, more companies are able to reach their true potential in advancing their industries, helping their communities and supporting a strong economy.
The Lazarus Approach to Brand Helpfulness
Value is often preached a lot, but Luke Lazarus takes it a step further by encouraging helpful content during COVID-19 closures and insecurity. Brands can take the opportunity to offer value in the form that helps their audience get through the pandemic in a better state. The help offered can be in the form of products and services that directly assist people with quarantine, but it can also be through a number of other actions taken by a brand to support the community.
- Brands can offer the value they hold that is most relevant during a pandemic
- An upbeat and hopeful attitude that doesn’t turn to fear mongering can ease nerves
- Supporting essential workers can help a population crucial to this crisis
- Companies can provide employees with support for remote work and sick days as needed
- Creative ways to keep kids entertained and engaged in learning activities
- Support for lonely adults who are struggling with quarantine
- Accurate information from reliable sources to prompt right reactions
Connecting the Brand Through Story
Lazarus believes strongly in the emotional connection and story of every product, service or brand. He has said, “If your product or brand is synonymous with its story, you’ve set the foundation for success.” In 2019 he stated, “I view a successful business plan as a product story that can inform investors and partners who have a vested interest along with customers and employees.” Part of any current brand’s story should be their response to their community during a time of need.
This story has a hero—the brand creator. Believing in yourself is key to accomplishment, according to Lazarus. Failure isn’t the end of that story. He has found that self-confidence is an important step in a successful story, as he told Inspirery
I had an early failure with a partner because of a lack of planning but learned from the experience. I always want to emphasize the importance of believing in your own success. Accept the apprehension that must accompany any project and the concerns for the outcome, but know that self-confidence is more powerful. I bet on myself every time, and that makes a huge difference.
Brands and innovative entrepreneurs may find themselves in places of failure, due to coronavirus impact. But, failure is just part of the story and shouldn’t be the final chapter. Lazarus is encouraging his clients to push through those struggles and make them part of the story that sets a foundation for success.