We wish everyone good health during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know the reality of this virus is deadly and is spreading rapidly. Many businesses are required to shut-down during these troubling times to help flatten the curve of infection. While your business may be essential, and you’re doing your best to not get sick, others are stressing out about losing business and income. While we recommend everyone to practice CDC guidelines and do your best to help limit infection rates, we also know there’s a need to help businesses that are struggling financially or not able to operate at 100%. These are tips we feel are helpful for companies that are limited during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Organize Your Business Life
That pile of paperwork on your desk isn’t going to file itself! Now’s an opportunity to organize your business’s paperwork and find documents that you know you’ll need sooner rather than later. Find files you know you’ll need for Insurance audits, tax documentation, state certificates, city business registrations, and many other critical documents. You’ll thank yourself later on, as this will save you tons of time in the future.
2. Finding a way
One of my favorite quotes is from Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, “Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way.” Business, just like life, always finds a way. What is your business doing? Is your business a non-essential business that shuts its doors and turned off the lights? Are you throwing in the towel and just waiting this out? Or are you finding a way? What can your business do to survive? Let’s take a look. Let’s say that you have a business that sells non-essential goods; we will use art supplies for this example. If you’re not able to sell supplies, what can you do to generate income? For starters, do you have an e-commerce website that allows you to sell and ship supplies to customers? Maybe it’s time you start one. Are you an artist yourself? Maybe you can give in-person or on-line art instructions. Subscription services are the latest trend. Maybe you can start a monthly Art Box that constantly supplies artists with paint, brushes, and canvases. If you’re not worried about money, do something for your community to show people that you’re invested for the right reasons. Host an art contest for children, offer free lessons to the community, post free videos on techniques, and new supplies. Give back, think big, and find a way to keep your business relevant and thriving.
3. What’s Your Company’s Bottleneck
And what can you do to improve it?
During a business lockdown, use this time wisely to see how you can enhance bottlenecks in your business. It’s always a good idea to self-evaluate and see where you or your employees struggle. Where do you find yourself spending the most amount of time on? What can you do more efficiently and effectively? Don’t be afraid to ask your employees what they think is ineffective and overly time-consuming. Talk to people in your industry. I understand that businesses can feel like they compete with each other; the truth of the matter is that there’s usually extra meat on the bone for everyone. Try talking to others who may face the same problems and might have more effective solutions. Share your information and solutions as well. Many times you will find the most successful people in a specific industry commonly do this. People write books, make videos, and are constant wells of information. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone to improve; we usually have to.
4. Technology is Both Good & Bad
What should you do about it?
People are creatures of habit, and while it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it might be hurting your business. As the famous Bob Dylan song goes, “The times, they are a-changing” and boy is he right! In specific industries, products, services, and methods may not change as quickly as others; most industries change yearly. Is it time for your company to research and implement new products and software? We often see people hanging on to things because they “just work” or they know how to use them. While we understand that one may not have the money or time to invest in newer products and technology, you probably need to. One of the advantages of technology is making things faster and more efficient. We will use cell phones for this example. How painful would it be to use a cell phone from 2005? Yes, it can make telephone calls and do some basic messaging, but that’s about it. Cell phones have changed a LOT over the last decade and today people can almost use them as a complete replacement for a computer. While cell phones may be an extreme example, the reality is that most products and software have made major improvements over the years. Newer computers can be hundreds of times faster and more efficient than a computer from a decade ago and tens of times faster than a computer from 5 years ago. This means that your business can work much faster and more efficient than you think it can. If you’re relying on an older Point-Of-Sales software that is older than your firstborn child, chances are that you’re missing out on a lot. Newer POS software implements new features and services that business needs in modern times and will make your business simply better. The down-side to technology can be the learning curve and acclimation to new products and software. But isn’t now a great time to learn?
5. Get Social
You’re probably involved in some sort of Social Media already, but are you actively posting content or engaging with your audience? During this stressful time, show your audience and your community that you care, and you are here to help. Share news, tips, and information about what your business is up to and how you can help them. It’s also a great time to get ahead of the game. Let’s face it, Social Media can be a bit of a drag and very time-consuming. Use this time to schedule posts for future dates. If you’re not sure what to post, schedule posts during holidays or dates that you know will happen. There are also many programs that will allow you to post on multiple-platforms all at the same time. Try out Buffer, Sprout Social, Hootsuite, or Loomly, they may make your life much easier and help keep your business engaged and on people’s minds. Use this down-time to brainstorm ideas for posting, you’ll be glad you did when life goes back to normal.
As always, NMCO is here for YOUR business. If you’re in need of website updates, videos, branding refreshers, or just someone to help consult your business, NMCO would love to be your partner.