Surviving the coronavirus: Tips for small businesses to beat the pandemic
It’s hard to remember a tougher start to a new year. First we had the worst weather on record, and now the world has ground to a halt with the invasion of COVID-19.
It all feels a bit surreal, like something out of a dystopian sci-fi film. But sadly, it’s all too true. And each day brings even worse news.
At the time of writing the UK hasn’t yet hit lockdown, but we are being encouraged to use social distancing, which means most of us are working from home. Plus, we have been advised to avoid pubs, restaurants, theatres and other social venues.
This can be boring at best and catastrophic for our business, at worst. So what can we do to keep our business ticking over and our brains engaged?
We’ve put together the following survival guide:
It’s easy to get in a rut when you’re stuck at home – day time TV is all too tempting. But make the most of this time to get those jobs done, which you never normally get round to completing. This could be going through your accounts, doing some filing, updating your website or CV, or setting up an Instagram account. Now is the time to take action and prepare and plan for the future – even if we are unsure what this future may be.
Revise your sales forecasts
Although this is a depressing prospect you need to take a long hard look at your figures. Consider your worst case scenario and work backwards from there. And be realistic. You can then brainstorm new ways to sell your products or services. More on this below.
Tighten your belts
As well as adjusting your sales figures, you need to employ cost cutting tactics. Look at areas of your business that can be put on hold, reduced, or cancelled completely.
One way to save money is to look for marketing tactics that don’t have a significant cost. So get creative using word of mouth, organic social media and key networks to sell your product or service.
Rethink your business model
With more people working from home, shopping online and spending more time – and money – on their sofa, you need to be aware of how these changes will impact your business.
If your products or services are aimed at an in-store, or face-to-face experience you need to re-think your business model to ensure it survives. This could be creating new products that capitalise on a digital world, or improving your content marketing and social media strategies to keep customers connected to your brand.
We have already seen a huge growth in subscription-based delivery services, and this is only going to increase in the current climate, so think of ideas that focus on remote services that enable people to buy from the comfort and safety of their home.
Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you need to lead a solitary existence. Communication with your colleagues is vital. So make sure you do daily Facetime meetings, or dial into Google Hangouts to keep the dialogue going and spirits high.
Set clear parameters
It’s also important to communicate how you expect your staff to work from home. Simple things such as what time they should start and finish for the day, and when they take lunch breaks should be established. It’s a good idea to create a daily plan of tasks, and keep in regular contact. Slack is a brilliant channel for this.
Keep up to date
Make sure you stay up to date with the latest news, so you can adjust your communications strategy accordingly. “What might have felt like a good message yesterday might not be the right thing today”, says Twitter, and by staying on top of the latest information on the virus, you can ensure your messaging aligns with important updates.
Consider your tone of voice
Twitter also recommends you adopt a positive tone of voice in your communications – and try to keep things light. “Right now might not be the best time to be snarky or sarcastic, while empathy, understanding and even certain types of humour may go a long way.”
Be kind to yourself
While keeping an eye on the latest news is important for your business, it’s also important to take a break for your mental well-being. So try to avoid the news for chunks of the day and get away from social media. Listen to podcasts, watch a Netflix series or use mindfulness techniques (we recommend Headspace) instead – anything to give your mind a rest from the impending doom.
It’s also a good idea to establish a daily routine when you’re working from home, which includes daily exercise and getting some fresh air (providing you’re not self-isolating). If you can’t go out, there are loads of online resources to get you moving, stretching and shaking it all off.
If you need help with your marketing and PR why not get in touch to find out how we can help. From social media campaigns, to taking your business overseas we have the experience, contacts and passion to take your brand to the next level.
Image credit: Captionery