What can entrepreneurs and small businesses do to cope with the rapid changes affecting the economy right now?

Without judgement to the hype, panic and hysteria associated with COVID19, the fact is that businesses are going to be affected and many business are going to have to change the way they do things. Even if it’s just for a little while.

Here at Impressence Web Studios, we are thankful that in our business we already work remotely, so we are able to continue our normal operations. That’s not to say things might go quiet, but we can still operate in the usual manner for our clients.

The degree to which your business will be affected is going to vary greatly. But regardless of whether you can work remotely, or remain dependent on face-to-face interaction, there are things you can do to reassure your customers and to help keep your business running.

Keep your customers informed

Communication is crucial. Let your customers know what is happening in your business right now. This will keep you and your business in their minds, and continue building that trust factor.

Some things to let them know about:

  • Changes to business hours
  • Changes to business location
  • Changes to order fulfillment processes
  • Anything in your business that remains the same (reassuring them you are still operational)
  • Measures you are taking to conform to government isolation and hygiene advice
  • Measures you are taking to assist the well-being of your employees & customers

Even if you are a business that already works remotely and/or doesn’t have a high face-to-face component, it’s still a good idea to inform the public of your continuing availability. By making it clear that your business has a continuity plan during the pandemic, it will assure your customers that you are there for them during this time of need.

Stay Active & Visible

Show your customers and potential customers that you are still marching on! That will also ensure you are still in their minds when things start to settle down and they are looking to move forward again.

  • Post regularly on your social media channels
  • Post regularly on your website – this will also help maintain your visibility on search engines
  • Check in with your clients and ask how you can help them

You never know, you just might attract the attention of a new audience who may not have needed your services before, but do now.

Take Necessary Precautions

If your business continues to operate as normal and you’re required to have face-to-face interaction with clients and customers, be sure to implement measures to help prevent the virus from spreading.

Here are some suggestions you might want to apply in your workplace or business establishment:

  • Enforce a policy for your staff to regularly wash their hands or sanitise
  • Observe social distancing
  • If anyone from your staff is feeling even slightly unwell, advise them not to report to work and to seek medical care immediately
  • Disinfect surfaces and areas such as door handles, light switches, office equipment, and other high contact areas
  • Keep yourself healthy and stay hydrated

We have already seen some great posts from businesses who are taking measures to minimise the spread of the virus, particularly businesses in the food and hospitality industry. Things like encouraging payments via tap/pay-wave (meaning customers don’t have to touch the eftpos machine), taking payments over the phone, doing deliveries and ensuring contact surfaces are regularly disinfected.

We all know that the global aim is to “flatten the curve”.  So make sure your business is doing what it can – and let your customers know you are being socially responsible.

Stay calm, be flexible and think outside the box

Panic is contagious. Even though right now you might not be fighting in the aisle over toilet paper, in the back of your mind you are concerned about how this virus is going to impact your business.

Stay calm. Panic clouds our ability to think clearly. Right now, you need to be thinking clearly.

Have a look at your current products and services and look for ways you can produce or administer them differently. You might even find better ways to do what you’ve been doing for a long time. This is a wonderful time to be reviewing your processes.

Changes in the economy always open up new opportunities – look for those. Keep your eyes and ears open to the needs of your clients and you might find new ways of serving them.

Plan for the future

Some of your leads might have hit the pause button. Maybe some, or many, orders have been cancelled. It can’t be denied that business will slow down for many.

If this is you, stay positive and look towards the future. We often complain about not having enough time to work on our businesses, so perhaps this is your chance to do it! Use this time to build your business from the back end.

Here are some ideas:

  • Start exploring that new product idea you’ve had floating around in the back of your mind
  • Produce more content that is helpful to your clients and target audience
  • Educate yourself on areas you need to grow in – there are a myriad of resources available e.g. books, YouTube training videos, online courses
  • Get more active with your social media channels
  • Get in contact with your mailing list – or if you don’t have one, get one started!
  • Setup those automation processes that will make things run more smoothly when business picks up again
  • Take a creative break to re-energise, re-ignite some other skills and just refresh your creativity skills (write, draw, crochet, play a musical instrument – all these things help unlock new ideas!)
  • Get involved with online networking and make some new connections

Keep in mind that when your business survives this crisis, it will become better prepared for whatever business hurdles there are in the future. Having a negative outlook won’t serve us well so have faith in your industry and have faith in your clients – they’ll reach out to you again when things start to normalise.

And remember, let’s stick together and help each other out! If we band together, we have a better chance of getting through the next several months.