The ever-changing landscape is affecting us, in all aspects of our lives right now. It’s fair to say it’s taken us all by surprise.
Given that we are all having to adapt in many ways, what are you doing in your business to ensure it not only survives the next few months, but flourishes once this is all over?
Are you dreading if your business will still be here in 12 months, or have you already started adapting your business quickly to make sure you are in the best position you can be? As the saying goes ‘the toughest steel is forged in the hottest fire’. With that in mind, here are some of my thoughts…
1. Reach out to your clients
Now is the time to reach out to your clients and ask them how you can help them in these tough times. Here are some ideas:
- Free advice and implementation: If your clients are struggling with business – give them some free advice that you normally charge for. Help implement that for them at a discount, if you know the need it but can’t afford it.
- Be proactive to get information to your clients: If you have some industry knowledge that would really help them, share it with them. For example, if you’re an accountant and are aware of the new Government schemes that can help your clients, be proactive and let your clients know.
- Offer to pause retainers for struggling clients: If you are currently charging a retainer for a service, and your customers and clients are struggling, offer to put the payment on hold for a few months, if you can afford to do so.
2. Revisit Your ‘Why’
To start a business is not easy – it takes guts. We all get into business due to a passion and a sense of creating a legacy beyond just ourselves.
From the challenges of starting up with no budget, to growing pains, clients from hell and constant hurdles across the way, we can all lose sight of it. Perhaps no challenge is as big as the one we’re facing right now – so having and maintaining a purpose is key.
Simon Sinek, Author of ‘Start with Why’ suggests that Starting with Why, rather than How or What is the key to a finding your purpose, from then, you can identify the how and what.
- Why: Your Purpose, cause or belief
- How: Your Strengths, Values and Guiding Principles
- What: Products sold, services offered or your role at work
What is your ‘Why? Have you even thought about it? If not, now is the time. I highly recommend this book ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek.
3. Enhance Your Online Presence
I’ve been using Zoom in the pre-Corona days for online meetings, training sessions and generally catching up with fellow techy people. Now it’s become the go-to platform for pretty much any social interaction these days. If you’re a business that interacts with people, then you’re missing out big time if you’re not already talking to your clients online.
There are some immense opportunities to develop your business right now, despite the lockdown:
- Sell products online: If you are selling goods – do you have an e-commerce store? If not this would be the ideal time to consider, even having a simple way to sell your products.
- Have online meetings & online seminars: If you are a serviced based business, can you still do online meetings? Can you take payments online for those meetings?
- Create training courses: If you’re an educational based business that runs seminars and training, have you considered doing training online?
You don’t need to be socially distant in a digital world. Perhaps it’s a good chance to reach out to your customer base and find out how you can serve them better.
4. Learn New Skills
Also it’s a great opportunity in this period of lockdown to learn some new skills, either business development or specific knowledge relating to your own business. Also learning skills outside your business, can help keep you grounded mentally.
As every business is different, I can’t suggest specifically what you should learn in your field, but here are some ideas:
- Working Remotely: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/paths/remote-working-setting-yourself-and-your-teams-up-for-success
- Blogging for Business: https://ahrefs.com/academy/blogging-for-business
- Content Traffic Kickstarter: https://kimdoyal.podia.com/content-traffic-kickstarter
Learning new skills doesn’t just apply to you. If you’re a small business with furloughed staff, you can get them trained up so that once this is all over, you’ve got a much stronger and sharper team.
5. Become more productive
How can you become more efficient at what you do, and get the most from the least amount of time? It may seem we have more time, but it’s also likely we will get less done. Working from home has it’s charms but it also has it’s distractions (Netflix, children and food – seem familiar?)
Here are some basic tips I’ve learnt and implemented along my own journey
- Write your business goals. Both long term and short term. Write down absolutely everything in your mind – even if it seems insignificant at first. It could be some long term goal, or it could be a small task on a project you’re working on. It may take 30 minutes to an hour but get it out of your mind.
- Really fine-tune that list. Make sure to eliminate everything on the list that is not urgent or important.
- Create actionable tasks. From the list that remains, break that list into chunks – actionable things you can do each month/week/day to help you move closer to the goals.
- Use a tool to track projects and tasks. The key is to get everything out of your head – and leave that headspace for more creative thinking. Here are some I recommend. Feel free and see what works for you:
- Trello: Free and Paid. I am a big fan of Trello for it’s simplicity
- Asana: Free and Paid. Another popular project management tool
- Plutio: Paid only but it has other great features such as invoicing, proposals, contracts, timesheets + much more. This is the one that suits me, my clients and my team the most.
- Clickup: Free and Paid. I really solid Project Management Tool with lot’s of features and a beautiful UI.
- Airtable: Free and Paid. A cross between Excel and a database, you can use Airtable for pretty much anything that requires data, and with powerful filters, you can display content as you like. I also use Airtable a lot to store data.
- A simple pad and pen – sometimes that’s all you need.
- Use the 50 minute focus finder to actually work on the tasks. I urge you to watch this video and start implementing. It’s really made me about 4x more productive than before. The key is minimising distraction and working intensely in bursts of 50 minutes, followed by a 20 minute break. But watch the video.
- Take time to switch off. I start the day with some yoga, breath-work and meditation, and end the day with meditation. Keeping a clear mind gives more clarity and focus while you’re working.
Do you have your own process to make sure you make the most of your time? Feel free to share with me. I would love to hear about it and hopefully learn something new that can benefit me too.
Beyond your business, it’s really important to focus on physical and mental health. I know it’s very difficult to be locked at home, and it’s probably going to get harder over time. It’s vital to keep your mind busy, but also taking time to do activities which can help you stay fit, healthy, and relax.
Here are some resources I highly recommend:
- The Happiness Programme by The Art of Living: A breathing and meditation course that is currently being run online.
- The Coronavirus Challenge: A great and very informative free 10 day challenge to help boost your immune system.