Many business owners are facing uncertain times ahead. Not every business will survive. So, we put our heads together and came up with 10 simple, direct, no-nonsense things you can do to make sure that you come out the other end of the coronavirus pandemic with your business intact.
1 – Communicate & Be Proactive
People are isolated, scared and desperate for community. Everyone’s flying blind. Make sure that your key stakeholders (both internal and external) are kept informed. Be clear and direct about how those connected to your business will be impacted by coronavirus. Do a social media post, send a mass email or SMS, pick up the phone to call those really important clients. Show them that you care by reaching out with suggestions for action. Give them insights about your work and how it intersects with theirs – let them know what you can offer, what they might need and how to avail of it. Don’t pitch; be chill.
2 – Be Human
This is not the time for corporate messaging, silly acronyms or dry business talk – throw all the ROI, ASAP and BAU talk out the bloody window. Be real with your communities – staff, customers and suppliers. Write a frank, positive, upbeat and heartfelt message to update people on where you’re at. Let them know how you’re feeling (within reason), let them know about your challenges (again – within reason; don’t tell them “we’re absolutely stuffed”, tell them “things may be tough for the next few months but if we make smart decisions, we’ll get through it”). Try something new, like the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma who just handed over their Twitter account to their head of security (with hilariously wholesome results).
3 – Act Now
Learn from the failures and mistakes of how the UK & USA have approached coronavirus. Don’t delay – act now and minimise the impact. What does that mean? It means figuring out what you’re definitely going to have to do, what you might have to do, and what you hope you don’t have to do. Write a plan and implement it, like, five minutes ago.
4 – Be Helpful
How can you help? You might have to freeze certain projects for the foreseeable future, but do you and your team have skills that would be helpful to others? Definitely – a lot of others need them too. Write a “how to” guide to offer advice or take time to answer peoples’ common questions. It will also be of later use in your marketing (a guide or advice can be easily turned into an ebook), or it can be used to generate an FAQ page that will answer questions on your website.
5 – Circle The Wagons
Your core business may be affected. What do you need to ensure keeps moving so that you have work and clients over the next 3-18 months? Where can you save time and money, where can you invest resources toward mid-to-longterm growth? Dispense with fluff and focus on where you really create value.
6 – Go High Level
All those things you never have time for? Now you do – don’t feel sorry for yourself and stress about what you can’t control; focus on internal goals. Revise marketing plans, business strategies, HR documentation, website content – there are a dozen things you can do to improve your business from the ground up. Clear your mind by focusing on the big picture. Not to be flippant – coronavirus is very serious – but this is an opportunity to work on your foundations.
7 – Be Analytical
Analyse your business; where are you kicking goals? Where could you improve? Write a checklist of all your areas (service offering, sales, marketing, staff, premises, accounts etc) and use this opportunity to do some blue sky thinking – what would you change, if only you had the time? Well now you have the time – find the gaps and sort them out.
8 – Be There & Be Kind
At this stage, nobody knows what this will do to the bottom line. Get in touch with all of your staff, suppliers, creditors & debtors. Let them know where you’re at and ask for their patience; they’ll remember your kindness during coronavirus and how you were present when others weren’t.
9 – Contingency Plan For Coronavirus
Fear is the mind-killer (bonus points for any sci-fi nerds who can comment below with the reference!); don’t sit and scroll through news while imagining the worst. That way, the fear gets into your head and ruins your productivity. Write down those fears, come up with plan B for if those fears materialise, and then a plan C for if that doesn’t work.
10 – Stay Calm
You didn’t go into business because you’re a follower. You’re a leader – act like one. This is time for you to step up and show your communities that you’re there for them – don’t panic, don’t lose your temper, and don’t despair. When the dust clears, you’ll still be standing tall and people will gravitate.
For our fellow Aussies, check out this government page to find out what kind of financial support is available to you. We’ll get through this together – reach out if there’s any way we can help, or leave a comment below if you have advice to add.