There is of course one topic that is dominating currently, the COVID-19 virus. Our hearts go out to those who have already been affected by this unprecedented event. It’s spread will undoubtedly affect us all, both personally and professionally.
I have been talking to all my private clients, helping them and it’s clear that many of us business owners are rethinking their strategies and adjusting the way they work.
In my experience there are three areas which we need to focus on: supporting our customers, supporting our employees and thirdly concentrating on business stability. I have noted below just some of the topics that I have discussed this week
- Clear communication to all three groups. Reassure where you can, confirm any changes, but don’t be silent.
- Consider how you can help your staff work from home to keep your business operating. With a decent broadband connection many desk-based activities can be done from home.
- Talk to your suppliers – can you agree better terms? Morrison announced yesterday that they will cut the time that they take to pay their small suppliers.
- Take the opportunity to consider different operating models. Can you deliver your service over the telephone or via skype? Can you deliver direct to customers? The Daily Mail are offering 6 weeks free delivery of their newspaper.
- Could you offer vouchers to customers/prospects? This might be for self consumption or gifting. The benefit is cash in the bank now.
- Could you adjust opening hours to suit customers? Or adjust your terms and conditions such as your cancellation policy? I don’t suggest you blow up your business model but how can you give customers the confidence to do business with you?
- One of my private clients is dialling down their marketing and focusing on supporting their current customers. They have decided that this will serve them better in the long run.
- Is there an appealing offer that you can make to prospects? I saw a great email from Freelancer.com this week. It suggested that “Instead of sitting at home watching Netflix, now is the time to start that empire.”
Please don’t think that I am suggesting that you profit from other people’s misfortune. The above advice is designed to keep your business operating. In the main people will still need what you do. In fact, they may need them more now than ever before.
Stay positive. A benefit of operating a smaller business is that we tend to be more agile and fleet.
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