No one could have predicted the changes that have happened in the world in recent months. Our lives have all changed dramatically, and it’s something that has impacted just about every country in the world. COVID 19 is the biggest pandemic that anyone living on earth will have ever been through in their lifetime- and hopefully, it will be the last. There have been all kinds of questions thrown around as to how and why this has happened, from EMF radiation to biological weapons being released and much more. But whatever the circumstances, we simply have to get on with things as best we can. Depending on what your business does, the crisis could negatively or positively impact your sales; some companies are seeing huge demand for products and are actually doing better than ever but many others are struggling. COVID 19 is the most extreme external force that’s ever happened in the world of business (as well as the wider world) since the entire planet has essentially ground to a halt. Companies are being forced to find new ways to sell, all while following government social distancing guidelines, and dealing with things like supply chain issues, changing customer demand and much more. If you’re a business owner and wondering what you’re going to do to keep things running during this difficult time, here’s what you need to know.
Many businesses already sell online in some capacity these days, so if yours does then there might not be huge changes that you need to make here. In other cases, you might need to move more of what you do online and find new methods for selling your products or services. For example, you might need to sell services via video chat if you’re a tutor, personal trainer, nutritionist or any other business that would normally see people in person. It might involve scaling up what you already do, or completely restructuring the way that your business works. This could be good for business long term as selling online more could allow you to expand your customer base, particularly now as everyone is forced to shop online when many might not have. If you’re going to be selling online, you still need to ensure you’re respecting social distancing guidelines, from warehousing and dispatch to maintenance, deliveries and more. Think about how you might do this in line with government advice, you might need to restrict or change some of your services or reduce staff numbers so that your workplace isn’t too busy. If you’ve not sold online before, you’ll need to liaise with a delivery company who can provide you with what you need, as chances are finding vehicles, interviewing and hiring new staff yourself is going to be close to impossible at this time.
Keep on promoting
Business slowing down is always a worrying time, and in the midst of this pandemic (when no one knows exactly when things will end or how they’ll pan out), your first thought might be to find places where you can make cuts. Marketing might seem like an easy place to make those cuts, however doing so would be a mistake. Remember, as uncertain as these things are, social distancing and lockdowns won’t last forever, eventually people will return into the world again and people will start using your business again. If you stop marketing you allow your competitors the chance to get ahead, and might slip off your customers radar altogether. Marketing now might feel like the long game but it’s important to do. With so many businesses closing completely, many are likely to assume yours has done the same if you stop marketing when in fact, some of your services may still be running or you may be selling online.
Look after your staff
Many companies have found ways to set up remotely relatively easily, if your employees are able to work from home it avoids unnecessary contact with others both in the workplace as well as on public transport on the way to work. This can come in useful later on even when things are back up and running properly again, as your employees will likely appreciate the opportunity to work from home. Research shows that when people work from home they’re happier, less stressed and more productive- so even if this is an occasional thing it could be useful later on. Right now, you have a chance to get home based working running smoothly so all of the kinks are ironed out. If your company’s profits have been affected and you’re finding that you’re no longer able to keep on all of your staff, look into what options your government has given you. Many have set aside money which allow you to furlough staff members and keep their jobs open, rather than make them redundant. This means that after the crisis, your staff can come back to work rather than you having to hire people from scratch. This is of course good for both you, and them.
It’s a worrying time right now in general, as well as specifically for business owners who have noticed declines in sales. Do what you can to stay afloat, and have faith that things will return back to normal sooner than we all hope.
What have you done since the pandemic was announced as a way to improve or maintain your business? What tips would you give to others in a similar situation?