Are you currently worried about your small business’s future? The coronavirus outbreak has turned the entire world upside down. There are times when it feels almost like a movie; it’s surreal. Many Americans are locked down in their homes, watching the news, wondering what’s next. But small business owners have even more worries.
With social distancing becoming the norm and mandatory closure of non-essential businesses, entrepreneurs are trying to figure out how they can protect their businesses until we get to the other side of the crisis. The government is even providing help to small businesses with funding, grants, and other resources to help limit the damage.
I’m not going to lie; it’s not going to be easy for anyone. This situation is unprecedented in modern times, and things are changing by the day. But there are a few things that you can do to safeguard your business and weather the storm (trust me, I’m doing all of them myself right now).
Entirely Revamp Your Business Plan
Every year in January, I revamp my business plan. It’s a detailed file on my computer filled with the hopes, dreams, ideas, issues, and challenges that my business will be facing over the next year.
Well, my January draft of that certainly went out the window in the last few weeks! The realities of coronavirus sinking in. We’re going to need to make some significant changes to our yearly business plans moving forward.
As it’s impossible to know what’s next (frankly, the last few weeks have been one unwelcome surprise after another), you can still update your business plan with what you currently know. Maybe even make some plans for the future. If it’s going to be a tough few weeks or months, it could be helpful to sketch out best-case and worst-case scenarios in your business plan.
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Improve Your At-Home Communications With Staff and Customers
Since we are all working from home now, we need to change the way we communicate. Thankfully, services like Zoom and Skype have made it easier than ever to keep in contact with clients. This allows you to have face-to-face communications without needing to leave the comfort of your at-home office (which you really should have set up by now).
Of course, you will also need to improve communications with your other employees who are (presumably) also working from home. If you aren’t using a team messaging platform, I highly recommend setting one up. The one I use is TeamWork Chat, but there are dozens of others like Slack and Microsoft Teams. They are usually free to use and will help you streamline communications with your team during this difficult time.
Pivot to Digital
In a world where everyone is stuck inside, the internet has become more critical than ever (Can you imagine what this level of social distancing would have been like before the internet? I can’t).
If your small business is entirely online, then I have some good news! Your business won’t have to shift too much to adapt to the new “normal.” That doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels, though. Your product lines can most definitely remain in place. Keep in mind you will need to change your digital marketing messaging over the next few weeks.
For example, if you have an editorial calendar for your weekly blog, you might want to go through it and come up with some new topics that are relevant to COVID-19. This material won’t be “evergreen” (at least, it hopefully won’t). It can be a great comfort to your customers that you recognize this isn’t business as usual and that you’re changing your marketing message to match.
If you’re primarily a brick-and-mortar business, the shift to digital will be way, way more disruptive. As your location will be closed for the foreseeable future, you need a way for your customers to learn about and purchase your products. It might be time for you to embrace an eCommerce solution and start an online store. If you already have a fantastic website, we can get everything set up for you. Matching the aesthetic to what is already there. Then we can follow up with your digital marketing and a landing page. Telling your customers about your shift to online. This strategy could pay off dividends after everything has reopened. You will now have a robust online storefront along with your physical one.
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As I said above, whatever your strategy to get past the coronavirus, I firmly believe that revisiting your business plan should be a key part of it. If you’ve never written one before or need some guidance on how to expand the one you have written on a napkin on your desk, I can help with my free Write Your Own Business Plan: Workbook. Inside, I will walk you through the process step-by-step. And if you need someone to help you flesh out your plan a bit, I’d be happy to help there as well!
I’ve Been Getting Questions
I’ve been getting questions non-stop from my clients, asking me how they can protect their business. I hope that my advice is somewhat comforting to them. The reality is that we simply don’t know how long this crisis will last. How many people will become infected? Or what the economic climate will be after it’s all over. What I can do is offer you help in this time of need.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about COVID-19 and are struggling to keep your business up and running, I can take some stuff off your plate. Giving you room to breathe. You can contact me today for a free consultation. We can talk about your situation and what I can do to make things more manageable. I firmly believe that small business owners like us will get through this. We will be even stronger on the other side.