STRATEGIES TO HELP YOUR BUSINESS
The country has recommended people stay in their homes. Airlines are grounding flights, the state has implemented shutdowns on schools and entire industries. Your customers are being told to only leave for necessities, your employees are working from home, and you’re looking around at an expanse of open space in what used to be a bustling business. What do you do when you can no longer function as the business you’ve always been? Use this time to work on your business, not in it.
Work on professional development
Learn more about your industry, growing a business and how to lead. You know that feeling you have when you come back from a really good professional training? Where you are motivated and can’t wait to implement the new things you just learned. You can still get that feeling. There is so much information to glean from books, podcasts or seminars.
- Books on Leadership, Communication, Marketing, Entrepreneurship
- Local Training Resources
Keep in touch
Because so many important meetings have been postponed or canceled, we understand it's been difficult to communicate with your employees, customers, business leaders, family members, etc.
Here are some programs to help keep you in touch with all the right people while following social distancing guidelines.
- Skype for Business: Audio and video conferencing. You will need to create a Skype account and then you're able to sync with SharePoint in Microsoft, and share media. FREE download.
- Facebook Messenger: Text chat, audio message, or face-to-face web conferencing within the app. May be useful for getting into contact directly with businesses through their Facebook page. FREE .
- Zoom: Easy to use, chat/audio/video available that can show in real-time and is available online or in the app. FREE to sign up by using work email. ZoomPlus offers more for a price.
- GoToMeeting: One-click meetings. Collaboration meetings made easier, webinars available, cloud recordings, Office365 plug in. Cost starting at $12.00.
- TeamViewer: Software for audio and video conferences. Interactive screen sharing, Cost starting at $49.00.
- Microsoft Teams: Uses SharePoint to share files in Office programs, conference calls, group chat. FREE to those with Office365 program package, Costs start at $12.95/month for others.
Systems can be great for your business. They help you respond faster, eliminate redundant processes, batch tasks, and help you run more efficiently.
- Set up e-mail autoresponders
- Create checklists for repetitive tasks
- Create a digital file database
- Update your customer databases
- Set up e-mail lists and clean up your contacts
- Set up online recurring payments
Tackle that project
We all have projects that we have been avoiding and procrastinating. They are often the ones that may seem to take too much time or energy or will be too disruptive to business. Now might be the perfect time to do it. Think of how good you’ll feel when it’s done, and it could be a nice distraction.
- Update your website
- Launch an e-commerce site
- Reorganize your office or store layout
- Upgrade computer systems
- Organize your physical and digital files
- Clean out your inbox
Check out what grants and resources may be available to you. We’ve created a page on our website that lists business resources and information that may be useful to you. Contact the Chamber if you have any questions or concerns so that we can know where you’re struggling and what assistance you need. We can advocate for you and your business and point you to resources or just serve as a sounding board. We have started a Business Leadership Conference Call Series that we will be doing every Monday and Thursday at noon. See our Events calendar for more information.
Find a mentor
When faced with a business dilemma, it’s nice to get the perspective of someone who’s been there. And while you probably won't find someone who’s gone through this exact crisis, you can certainly find someone who has weathered storms before.
Get a different perspective
Look at your company as if it was someone else’s. What advice would you give them? Try to imagine how your customers see your business. What suggestions might they have for you? If you were to start all over, would you do anything differently? Are there things that you are doing that don’t provide value? Are there benefits that could be added that would create value?
Keep communicating with your customers and supporters and other businesses.
- Let your customers know how they can support you during this time. Continue to post to your social media and send out e-newsletters. They want to hear from you.
- Communicate with other businesses. Check-in with your peer groups. See what other people are doing, communicate, and collaborate. Network and connect through phone, e-mail, or online business groups and virtual meet-ups. Don’t let the isolation affect your mental health. It’s nice to reconnect and realize that other businesses are facing the same challenges you are. Use telecommunication resources like Zoom, Facetime, GoogleHangouts or even just call them on the phone.
Collaborate and share resources
Look for ways to collaborate with other organizations. Are there ways you can partner with other businesses and pool resources? Could you trade services with another company during this time? Maybe you have a knack for accounting or a flair for design that another business may be lacking but they could provide you with marketing or technical support.
Are there new ways that you can provide value to your customers? Can you offer services or inventory in a different way? Could you offer online training or sales, virtual updates, delivery options, meetups, or classes? Now is the time to think outside the box and try something different.
What will you have wished that you had done with this time looking back? Are there causes or organizations for you to support or offer your time to or can you organize your own? Everyone is going to be feeling the effects of this. Reach out to your local nonprofit or check in with at-risk populations in your community if you have something to offer. At the very least, you may be able to use your platform to share what others are doing.
Things are tough now, but nothing is permanent. Take a step back sometimes. It can be overwhelming and scary. There's so much uncertainty. Take some time away from the business, connect with family and friends, reconnect with nature, meditate, get some rest, and take care of yourself and your body. Know that you are doing everything you can and allow that some things are outside your control.
Most importantly, know that you are not alone. Everyone is feeling uncertain. No one knows what the future holds. Prepare as much as you can so that when the economy does bounce back, you’ll be ready, stronger than ever.
If the COVID-19 crisis has caused challenges for your business that you feel the Chamber can assist with, we’d love to hear from you. Please give us a call at (801)472-7467 or email us at email@example.com.