Right now, we are living in the weirdest time ever, aren’t we?
Countries have their borders shut. The beaches are empty. Businesses that launched just before lockdown are struggling to keep up with the changes around them and will most likely close down as a result. There is no doubt about it: we are in a strange time and no one has a clue what they should be doing. Covid-19 has really put businesses through their paces, and the uncertainty that lies ahead in the future with it all has changed the business landscape.
It’s very easy for a business owner to see the bleak outlook with Covid-19 and have an impulsive reaction about what to do with it. It’s important that you – as with every business owner – don’t jump to a conclusion that could see you shutting your business down before it’s even got out of the starting gate.
You still need to pay the business bills, but you can adapt. If you have an office rental contract, speak to the landlord about pausing it until business is back as usual. No one knows how long this will last, but your courier business will still need its van fleet insurance to continue business on the road. You have to stay as current as possible with what to do with your business and a big part of it will be in researching and planning what to do next.
You may not be able to predict what will come next, but you can work with the knowledge that you have right now. Below, we have put together some suggestions on how you can improve your business during the lockdown. This way, no matter how long this sad situation lasts, you can come out of it stronger than ever.
Don’t Forget To Communicate
You may not be in your fancy offices anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you stop making an impression on your employees and your clients. You need to keep your business at the forefront of their mind, and the best way to do that is to ensure that you are communicating. This doesn’t have to be long, lengthy conversations every day, but it does mean that they need to hear from you often enough for you to stay relevant.
You can offer discounts to select VIP clients. You can get onto Zoom and talk to your staff and remind them that they are still an important piece of your business puzzle. There is so much that you could be doing to keep your staff and clients feeling secure about your position in this unprecedented time.
While you’re there with your employees and clients, make sure that you’re there for your online community and your suppliers, too. You have to remember that they will need your business as much as you will need theirs once the world goes back to relative normality. The idea is that you need to be a permanent fixture – just like you were before the world went a little loopy!
Don’t Forget Your Taxes
It’s easy to do it, but while the world feels like it’s on standby, the taxman is not! Submit your tax returns as usual and don’t forget to do this. Touch base with your accountant and remind them that you’re still here and waiting to be able to talk about money with them. It’s important to keep on top of your obligations, even when it feels like you shouldn’t have to!
Know Your Entitlements
If you want to keep your business afloat, it’s smart to know what your entitlements are. You should learn what’s coming to you by contacting the local government offices. There could be a huge number of rebates and finance that you can access, and you won’t know about it because you hadn’t asked! You may not know what you’re eligible for, but that’s the whole point of asking. Get the right help and you can keep your business running.
Remember Your Marketing
You know, the world may be in lockdown but people are shopping online now more than ever. Plenty of online businesses forget that the best way to reach their customers is via their digital platforms. Take yourself to Facebook Live or your Instagram TV and start making content that is relevant to your business.
You can create a whole new community and enhance the community that you have, all because you’ve gone online and remembered that digital marketing is still relevant. Marketing is one of the most important tools that you have with you in this lockdown, and you can still maximize it as much as possible. It’s just important to begin!
Project Your Finances
You have time right now to work on your finances and track your costs. You can look at your projected incoming and outgoings and decide on how you will keep your business as stable as possible. This is the time to get this squared away and while you may have a whole team working on your finances for you, it doesn’t mean that you cannot get involved.
Improve Your Skills
We talk about you being present for your community and your clients, but you can be a client yourself for someone else. You may not be able to do much in your business, but if you’re running a fleet, why not learn how to manage them more effectively?
You could put yourself through a management course and learn how to communicate better and manage others. You could distance learn for this and spend time improving your own skills. This leads to you being a better leader for your team and it’s one of the best ways to spend your time in lockdown.
Create & Educate
You could flip it all over and create your own course to teach others. The most important thing to remember about your business in lockdown is your value. You need to be able to show others how valuable you are and you can do this with your own educational “how-to” videos about your business.
Of course, it’s not always possible to do this in all businesses, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try! Even a quick course on how to expand your reach on social media can help other people. The point is to get your name out there and create something interesting.
Look After Your Health
You’re allowed to get out and about for exercise, so make sure that you’re doing that. Your business is only going to thrive if you are smart about your own health – and that means mental health, too. Working on your health in this lockdown situation is one of the best ways to spend your time!
Do More In The Community
Where you can, do more in a business capacity for your local community. You can offer your lorries or trucks to help local businesses get their goods to the right places. If you run a fleet of cars, offer your help with getting key workers to their place of business and do it for free. You can help the locals and get your name out there at the same time.
Your time and your help is going to be invaluable to those who need it, and you can get your name out there, too. Your community is relying on your help, and this is so important to get through this lockdown together.
Spend “Time” With Family
You may not be able to go and see your family in the same way that you did before the world shut down but that doesn’t mean you can’t see them. Embrace a little digital tech with your family as you would your staff. Zoom quiz nights, Skype poker nights, and all manner of “dinners” out are a must, and your family will be happy to see your smiling face on their computer screens! Family time is so important, so while your business is important, don’t forget that your family needs your attention, too.
Check In With Staff
While you are in this situation, you need to keep an eye on your employees. Check in with them and their mental health and do it from a place of a compassionate employer, not someone who is checking to make sure that work is being done. You need to remember that you’re not the only person dealing with the lockdown and that even those on the road are going to feel isolated. Ask yourself how you would like to be treated in lockdown, and then apply that to your employees.
Plan Your Financial Year-End
One of the biggest tasks that you should consider is your year-end finances. You need to know that you have a sensible plan in place for when – if – your business can resume as normal. You need to have a clear financial plan to make coming back to work easier on everyone. The better you plan this out, the better your whole business will look when you come out of lockdown.