March 25, 2020
9 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Business Moving Forward During the Covid-19 Crisis
As daily routines and ways of doing business are changing dramatically, there are plenty of things to be done to keep business in motion. A comprehensive list could be quite long and will differ across businesses and industries. Below are 9 general things to consider as you look to the future.
1. Keep In Front of Customers
Maintain and continue to nurture the relationships you have in place, whether it’s with clients or customers. Find out what their situation is and let them know yours. Talk realistically about what can continue to move forward and what may need to move forward at a future date. We’re all working through this together and this is the time to make clients feel reassured and that they are well attended.
Be sure to do a temperature check to not come off too callous or mercenary – you know your clients best, so trust the relationship you have in place to help guide you.
If your business lends itself to more mass communications, consider the following (all of which can be accomplished virtually):
Blog updates: If you have website with a blog, you can let customers know that regular updates will be posted as you have salient information.
Social Media: Continue social media efforts across all platforms or initiate them, if you don’t have them in place. People are now more virtual and are probably more motivated than ever to follow and stay connected.
2. Keep In Contact with Suppliers
Maintaining supplier relationships is important. Most businesses rely on suppliers for essentials to keep their businesses moving forward. Touching base with them, you may get updates about changes in supply that could affect your business in particular. This will help you adapt your business planning accordingly.
3. Talk To Your Peers
Talk to your business peers about measures and initiatives individual businesses are taking to deal with shocks to their business. Business owners are connecting via conferencing services like Zoom or good old conference calls to talk candidly about issues they’re facing. While specific solutions discussed may not apply directly to your business, general principles or approaches may apply and you might adapt them to your situation. Plus, it may help you feel like you’re not weathering the storm alone.
You may find you’re able to speak to your business peers differently than you would with your employees, friends, or family.
4. Talk To Your Employees
Check in with your employees to see how they are doing – both personally and in the context of your business. They will appreciate that someone is interested in their wellbeing and paying attention to them. If they raise challenges or issues they are currently facing, you don’t have to offer immediate solutions. Listening and being heard can be the beginning of a solution. As you check in with employees, you may hear recurring themes, which could help you know where to focus (and may be something to discuss with your business peers). You can also set realistic expectations for future goals.
5. Embrace the Positive (with a measure of realism)
If there is something positive to share, by all means do. We are all craving and needing to hear about good, constructive things that are happening in our world. Be sensitive to how the good news is shared and what the tone of the message is. Appropriate humor is welcomed in difficult times. Remember, it’s a sensitive time for everyone and unvarnished/unchecked optimism may come off as cavalier or tone deaf.
6. Continue to Network
Regardless of the industry we are in, we are all in the relationship business. Networking will continue to be part of the lifeblood of business. If your primary form of networking has been in-person meetings – coffees, lunches, cocktails, dinners or sales calls and trade shows – find ways to continue these types of networking.
Schedule a FaceTime coffee
Host a virtual lunch-and-learn via Zoom – either everyone provides their own lunch or have food delivered, if delivery is available in your neighborhood
Meet for cocktails online
Take someone to a virtual event (like The Jazz Gallery’s Happy Hour Zoom sessions with jazz musicians on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays)
7. Continue PR/Social Media Efforts
Establish or continue PR and social media efforts on the platform where your business is most active. If social media is an area of business you’ve always been meaning to prioritize, there’s no better time now to implement or ramp up what you’ve been intending to.
Getting the word out about what’s new, unique, or different in your business is especially important in times of change. Your consumers need to know that you are still viable and why they should be paying attention to, using, or buying what you offer.
Now more than ever, there are competent, expert resources looking to work virtually.
8. Maintain Your Mental and Physical Health
The stress each one of us is experiencing will manifest itself differently. Pay attention to what you need mentally and physically to stay your best. As routines are upended, as working blends with family life, or as life becomes more solitary feeling than ever, it’s important to make time for what makes you feel better.
If exercise has been important to you, find and experiment with ways to exercise in a different way. New things may feel alien, stupid, or like they’re just not doing the trick. That’s fine. Now try something else.
If personal, alone time is what you need in a new group live/work situation, find a door to shut, even if it’s for 15 minutes. Family may be at hand more than you’re used to, and boundaries may be harder to set when an 8-year old becomes part of your work environment, but make sure you’re taking moments for yourself.
If you’re feeling too solitary, let people know. Reach out and continue to connect with people via phone, text, video, social media.
Regardless of your new situation, don’t be reticent to communicate your needs or simply express how you’re feeling – even if you write it down in a journal or note to yourself. We all need to process this unprecedented experience.
9. Don’t Binge on Corona Coverage
Stay up on what’s going on locally, nationally, and internationally, but don’t submerge yourself in Corona Coverage 24/7. Too much of anything can create unbalance.
While these last two things may feel less related to your actual business, think again. If you are at the heart of your business and are the engine that helps to keep it running, you need make sure the engine is well taken care of as it’s being tested like never before.
Addressing Things That Never Make It to the Top of the To-Do List
If you find yourself with more time on your hands than expected (though honestly, many people seem to feel they somehow have less time as they’re attending to a myriad of new matters), now might be the right time to take care of things that always seem to get pushed down lower on the To-Do List. These can range from 30,000-foot level strategic planning to administrative/organizational tasks. Below is a list of thought-starters – you can decide which will be most productive for you and what will help you feel better in control in these rocky times.
- Strategic Planning for the Future
- Developing New Ways of Packaging Existing Products and Services to Address Changing Client/Customer Needs
- Developing Business Marketing Strategy
- Exploring New Target Markets
- Evolving/Adapting Product Services and/or Developing New Products/Services
- Finding and Researching Potential Suppliers/Prospects/Employees
- Exploring and Implementing New Business Technologies: e.g., CRM software
- Catching Up on Administrative Tasks
- Analysis of Possible Organizational Changes for Improved Performance
There are many industry-specific resources available. Below are a few you may find helpful:
- Small Businesses: A 10-Point Small-Business Survival Plan for Dealing With the Coronavirus
- Start Ups: How to Survive the Coronavirus and Keep Your Startup Alive
- Restaurants: Restaurants Strategize to Keep Business Alive through Coronavirus Crisis
- Fashion: No Company Will Survive Coronavirus Alone
- Design: Design in the Time of COVID-19
- Communications: 15 Examples of How Companies Are Communicating with Customers About Coronavirus
- Gig / Freelance: How to Adapt, Innovate, and Find Opportunity as a Freelancer During Coronavirus