Updated: Nov 21, 2020
"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles" - Christopher Reeve
With the realities of Covid19 and its effects on our daily lives - including widespread business closures, owners are now facing tough choices as they confront "Hard" issues - employee retention, mounting operational costs, and bankruptcy.
Now more than ever, there's a need to create a plan for business continuity, to forestall the after-effects of the global pandemic on their daily operations.
7 ways to build an awesome continuity plan includes:
1. Stay informed
Staying up to date with international and local news sources will assist business owners to become better prepared to treat with what is essentially, a very 'fluid" situation. Additionally, equipping yourself with the facts will help you to allay nervous inquiries.
2. Create a strategy to battle cancellations.
While it's expected that cancellations will occur, you should work with your customers/clients to arrive at a mutually agreed future date/time for product or service delivery. If this doesn't occur (ideally, you should try to do everything to ensure that it does), then your customer/client should be allowed to cancel and not incur any remaining fees-however, any retainer for product/service should be forfeited.
"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t." -Thomas Edison.
3. Manage your client relationships.
Your relationship with your customers/clients is going to be the MOST important aspect of your plan for business continuity. That's because being supportive and empathetic while acknowledging your customers'/clients' expectations, avoids cancellations and helps to reschedule future work. Reaching out to your booked customers/clients to find out whether they have any concerns /or are thinking about canceling a service, in-person event, or a consult will go a long way to reassure them- and might just be the key to having them keep the event/service on their schedule.
"Being flexible with rescheduling or being creative about how to interact may be appreciated, especially by clients with compromised immune systems or who care for those with compromised immune systems or elderly people.”-Nichole Beiner
4. Message inquiries/clients
As business owners, you'll also need to adopt a proactive strategy towards communicating with your clients/prospective clients. However, it should be a passive stance - designed to reach a broader audience. Acknowledge Covid19 concerns, and reassure everyone that you are prepared to deal with the uncertainties that come with the epidemic. You can also create a video message for your website, a social media post, email, or a blog post that helps to put everyone at ease.
5. Have a back-up Plan
This is important- in case you fall ill and can't work, you'll need to create a backup plan in your business continuity strategy. In such a circumstance, you'll need to identify staff member(s) who will step up if needed. Ensure that your customers/clients are aware of this-ideally this should be included in your contract for work/service.
6. Use virtual/video meeting software
With "social distancing" becoming the norm, many of your in-person meetings will now become "Virtual Meetings". You may want to consider an online video-conferencing platform like Zoom - although there's also Skype and for iPhone users-Facetime.
"On Wednesday 22nd March 2020, (the most recent day for which data was available), 343,000 people globally downloaded the Zoom app, 60,000 in the U.S. alone, according to mobile intelligence firm Apptopia — compared to 90,000 people worldwide and 27,000 in the U.S"- Forbes Magazine.
Other online software platforms that you can access for free includes:
1. Google Hangouts
2. Microsoft Teams
3, Avaya Spaces
5. RingCentral Meetings
6. Dialpad UberConference
7. Identify new revenue streams
It's never too early to start rethinking your service offerings-especially in the short to medium term. The idea here is to look for areas of "passive income" - to tide you over until things come back to normal.
1. Post any other skill that you may have- Graphic Design and Content Creation are always in short supply.
2. Get a "Side Hustle"- Platforms like Upwork or Fiverr offer opportunities to showcase your work- and get some money to reinvest in your biz.
3. See if anyone in your network needs help - Helping other creatives in your industry will help to support the ecosystem. while you wait out the epidemic-and a return to normalcy.
4. Turn your existing service into a digital or remote offering: You can offer "free sessions"- which will give you an opportunity to "beta-test" to see if it may be more convenient for your clients-and more lucrative for YOU.
This a very tough time for small business owners - We all need as much support as we can get.
If you need extra help, I'm always available-check out my 1:1 Coaching Sessions here