Many small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges. Whilst some sectors are more affected than others, every small business is dealing with the impact of coronavirus in some way. Whether it’s staff absence, a drop in demand or finding new ways of delivering services online, we are all in unchartered waters.
The government is doing what it can to support small businesses, but there are also lots of small businesses finding innovative ways to support themselves and try and find some positives out of this crisis.
If you’re suddenly finding yourself with a lack of demand and more time on your hands, these 5 actions from Get Ahead VA could help you weather the current storm:
Now is the perfect time for small businesses to review – review your website, your social media channels, your current marketing strategy, networking, marketing materials – everything. What is working well and what could you do differently?
It’s also a good time to look at how you are spending your time in your business and whether there are tasks that you could be outsourcing to allow you to focus on the highest value areas of your business.
Catch up on the to-do list
Many small businesses have a never-ending ‘to-do’ list; those tasks they would love to get round to one day when things are quiet. As a small business or when you’re self-employed, it is easy to get snowed under by the day job. But if the day job is keeping you less busy, this could be a great time to get around to writing some blogs, email newsletter content or updating your website. Why not draft some FAQs or make some ‘How to’ videos on those questions you often get asked?
Look at ways that you could deliver your existing services but in a new way online. If you run yoga classes, physical contact might not be possible but can you deliver your classes online? If you run a catering company, can you deliver?
None of these options may be as effective (or financially lucrative) as your current ways of working, but in times of major change, we all need to adapt. In the short term, these options could help you keep trading and buy you goodwill for when things do start to return to normal.
Now is a great time to experiment with new ideas of new solutions, especially if you have time on your hands. If you run a team, can you all work from home successfully and save longer-term on office fees? Have the courage to test and try things. In this uniquely challenging times, there’s possibly less to lose and more to gain.
Don’t be afraid to reach out
Social media gets criticised for spreading fake news and causing anxiety. But reaching out to others through social media – be it LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or any other platform could help you access positive support at a time when you need it most.
The old saying of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ remains true even in our modern world. Being able to share your issues and concerns with other small businesses can help alleviate fear and help you find solutions for both the short and long term. It can also build relationships and networks which may become sources of new business in the future.
See if you can make working from home, work.
Working from home isn’t for everyone. But for others, it has already become the norm. Technology means that you can still motivate and lead a team despite not being physically located together.
Platforms like Zoom are great for maintaining face-to-face contact and Slack or Whats App can replace the important ‘water cooler’ moment for social interaction. There are many great apps for working on live documents and sharing them including Google Docs, Dropbox/One Drive and Sharepoint.
Don’t forget self-care and the physical and mental well-being of your team. Regular breaks and exercise, rewarding yourself at the end of a particular task or activity as well as sitting in the best position will help you remain productive and positive.
No one knows how long the COVID-19 situation will last and how long small businesses will be feeling the affects of coronavirus. But a practical, positive, can-do attitude will help any business to see the positives and collaborate with others to cope with the challenge.