COVID-19 needs no introduction, nor does the difficulty it poses for businesses. So, with this in mind, here are 10 tips for COVID-19 business survival
Utilise Government Support
It’s there to be used; so, understand what government support is available for your business, and utilise it.
Take Some Time to Evaluate Your Business Model
A lot of businesses are experiencing downtime, or a slow in business, during lockdown; utilise this time effectively by having a look at your business model.
The likelihood is that at the end of this whole situation the world of business is going to look a little different; people will be more open to doing things virtually, because they will have got used to it when it was the only way to work. Can you capitalise on that? Can you add an online offering to your portfolio? Can you work with customers differently, both now and in the future? Can you motivate you team more in the future with flexible working from home, as well as in the office?
Plan the Short Term
What do the next month, two months or three months look like for your business? Are you receiving government support in the form of a cash grant? What does the exit from lockdown look like for your business? Is there anything you can capitalise on?
There are many more questions that could be asked here, undoubtedly – ask them. And formulate a plan. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail:
- Be decisive, practical and sensible!
- Be focused and effective – don’t waste time on anything that isn’t going to get results
Plan the Long Term
Once you’ve survived the immediate future, it’s time to prosper. So, what do the next few years look like for your business? Year 1, year 2, year 3? Think long term, strategize and plan.
What are your business objectives, goals and targets? What does your business model look like long term? Are there opportunities you can capitalise on? How will you support your customers? Write it all down and plan it.
Both your short and long term plans will have cash flow impacts, but it’s so important we’re separating it out. Plan your cash flow – cash is king.
If you’re receiving a cash grant from the government, how are you going to utilise it to the best of your abilities? Slow your cash burn rate short term and ramp up cash generation long term – write down how you’re going to do that, and then do it!
Talk to Your Customers
It’s important to keep that customer contact going throughout this ordeal. Everyone’s feeling it, everyone is experiencing it – connect with your customers during these difficult times. Be a voice of reassurance, of quality information and support.
Ask your customers open questions and listen to their answers so you can understand how you can best help them. If what you do is purely face to face, let your customers know why they should come and see you as soon as they can. Start booking appointments, if you can. Let you customers know you’re there for them.
Support Your Team
You might have a team working in a completely new way, virtually and from home. You might have a team that’s furloughed, as there’s no work for them at the moment. Wherever your people are, you can all support each other.
If they’re set up to work from home, keep them motivated, check in with each other regularly – there are loads of technological solutions available to enable regular contact, collaborative working and great ways of working.
If they’re furloughed they can’t work, but they can undertake training if needs be, and you can still support each other on a personal/social level. Have a coffee and a virtual chat, do a quiz, play a game. Keep each other safe and sane.
It’s easy to become weighed down with anything and everything at the moment. You might find yourself awake in the middle of the night, stressed and worrying. You might be obsessively checking news updates for more doom and gloom, that’s just making you feel worse.
Be aware of your own wellbeing and mental health. Limit your news intake to once a day. Exercise, utilise your one walk, run or cycle a day. Do some exercise in the house or garden. Be aware that burnout can happen in lockdown, the same way it can happen at other times, and listen to what your body is telling you. Spend time with your friends and family, even if it’s virtual time.
Lean on Your Network
The business community is a big one, and there are many supportive people and businesses within it. Utilise that support. Speak to the people and businesses that provide your professional services. Speak to your accountant. Speak to your bank. Join in with virtual networking groups and webinars.
We’re all in this together, and we should all be supporting each other!
Keep Calm and Carry On
Keep Calm and Carry On was a British motivational poster produced at the brink of World War II – that was 1939, it’s now 2020 and still very relevant!
Don’t panic! Don’t make any knee jerk business decisions – these have the potential to be more damaging than helpful, or to blow up any business relationships you’ve spent a long time building.
Keep calm and carry on – we will beat COVID-19, and make it out the other side of this thing!