For many business owners, the coming weeks and months, will be an even bigger challenge than the ones you have already faced. You’ll have a lot to consider and plan for to try to get as many staff back into a working environment as possible whilst also trying to predict business levels and juggle cashflow.
You may feel you don’t have the fight in you but to quote my mother, who is the strongest person I know, “life only tests the strongest of us” and with people relying on you, you have to put whatever fears you have to the back of your mind and focus on the things you have control over.
Whilst you need to have a great handle on your numbers, numbers alone aren’t enough, so we’ve put together a list of suggestions to consider:
Educate -On the changes you are putting in place to protect your customers and staff
Update – For any orders that were put on pause, speak to your customers to see who are now wanting to proceed. For those who aren’t yet ready, book in a follow up call.
Praise – Thank them for bearing with you through any delays caused
Support – Ask them for their support by either a testimonials or referral to help support your business.
Plan – Find out which of your staff can return to work. For many their children are still off school and they have lost the help of grandparents. You may also have staff in the vulnerable category who need to continue to isolate.
Educate – Many staff may feel a bit reluctant to return where they have been used to being paid 80% not to work and may be totally blind to the fact their job is at risk as they’ve never experienced the downturn in the economy that we are yet to face. It’s important you help to reset their perspective and share what you may have learnt from prior experience.
Prioritise – You may well be faced with bringing a lot of your team back part-time. Whilst parts of their workload may be reduced, others may not, and you don’t want them choosing which parts they do in their reduced hours. In this critical time, it’s important to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and what’s at risk.
Flexibility – Your staff will need to be prepared and able to step into other roles to ensure your customers don’t experience delays or reduced quality of service whilst people are down to part-time working.
Healthy and safety – There is a LOT to consider to protect your staff, your customers and your business from employment tribunals if you don’t protect staff! Protective gear, increased cleaning, changes to the way people conduct themselves. We now have a one-way walking system in our office!
Reduce paper – Passing paper around may become a thing of the past now we are all so conscious about spreading germs. You may also have staff working from home and need to access things easily. Now is the time to agree a process for saving documents, telephone notes and emails going forward to allow for more flexible working and less disruption or delay to your clients if they have to wait until someone’s working day.
Database – Make sure all your client, supplier and potential customers email and phone numbers are in a central location to make it easier for staff to step in and help on other roles if needed.
Every minute that you’re getting lost in the day to day operations of your business, picking up slack and sweating the small stuff, you’re not spending time on medium or long-term strategy. Before you know it, another week has passed, a month, a year, and you still haven’t had a chance to sit down, assess the reality of your situation and set goals for your business’ future.
For most business owners, this time out was decided for you, but it’s important you make the most of it to consider your future strategy as we return to a very different world. What do you need to do to adapt? Is there a new market you could now enter?
Make your business less dependent on you, by using our techniques for effectively delegating, and using technology to take the work off your hands and get tasks and responsibilities sitting with the right people.
There are many marketing tasks that can be done to help your business now and in the future:
- Make calls to your customers and potential customers reassuring them you’re still around and finding out what their problems are. You might be able to help them.
- Write and film new content you can post to reassure your customers you’re still working hard and promote your services / goods to potential customers.
- Research and assess ways you can adapt to the current market or build new areas of your business. Connect with your customers, suppliers and potential customers on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. You can then share updates on your working arrangements and any content you put together. The first point may actually be to set up social media platforms for your business!
- Ask for referrals – ask your clients and customers to refer you to anyone and everyone that might be interested in your services. In this climate, you should not feel ashamed to say you need or want more customers for none of us know how many of our existing customers will survive this long term.
- Social media – If you feel too embarrassed to ask for referrals, ask for support by getting your staff, friends, family and customers to share all your social media posts. Definitely let us know and will help you too as we are invested in making sure you survive.
Our clients who’ve been with us for years know that our range of services, advice and support go way beyond that of just your figures. We are happy to be here to act as a sounding board for you in the good times and through these more challenging times. With the experience of working for owner-managed businesses in all industries we can pull on the best practices from all and help brainstorm with you.
Contact me today!
Emma White FCA | 01474 853856 | email@example.com