Coroavirus arrived more or less overnight and has changed the business landscape for ever. Almost all businesses have ceased trading due to the lockdown (cafes, cinemas, retail, events, sports clubs, restaurants, nightclubs), any business where there is a non essential social gathering.
When the lockdown is lifted and social distancing restrictions lifted, what will the world look like. Will your business survive? How will the economy in the UK look?
The answer is if you are serious about your business – YOU DON’T!!
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced many of us to stop and think about the way we live and work and how we run our businesses. How do we run our teams from our offices? Can we run our businesses remotely and online?
However many businesses have adapted. TV adverts for banks have now incorporated the virus to reinforce a positive message. How can you adapt your business, whether you are a global airline like Virgin, or a dog walker.
So when this is all over, how do we hit the deck running? In practical terms , we don’t! In reality, we don’t take our feet off the ground! We don’t stop running. If you are serious about your business, you work harder now that you have ever worked in your life. We keep running. However for some companies, this is not possible. Consider team-building events or exhibitions at the Excel or NEC.
If you want a 12-week holiday, the chance is your business will not be there when you wake up in 3 months. Just because we are all working remotely doesn’t mean we can’t keep communicating, sharing ideas, seeking opportunities, talking to clients and keeping our staff engaged while we wait for the UK to heal itself.
So, being positive, what can we do? How can we help ourselves? How can we ensure we recover and thrive after the virus? Here are a few tips to help you beat the virus.
Grants and loans are being made ready for businesses and employees. Funds are there to help, however, understanding issues like this on the .GOV website is never easy. Unravelling the advice and financial help and how it applies to you can be, and is, a maze. However grants for small businesses are coming online, and business loans are now being made available and terms imposed by banks are being regulated by Government.
The day’s of large plan offices in the city may be a thing of the past. Now you understand funding, evaluate your business. How bad is it? And be honest! Do you offer essential services that the public will need right now? If not, can you adapt, as the virus becomes more vigilant and lock-down continues? Key advice right now it to preserve cash, cut orders, slow/stop supplier payments, stop rent payments, cancel Business Rate DDs, and focus on credit control. The Government support on workers & wages is there to help, as is the deferment of Vat & July tax payments.
Can you change your business offering? Restaurants becoming takeaways. Gin producers making hand sanitiser! Has your business the opportunity to change before closing it down in line with Government legislation? If no hope exists, shut down, hibernate and plan for the future. If you are adapting your business to support the fight against coronavirus, this can be used as a positive PR message you may wish to use to boost your brand.
Talk to your customers! Explain how the virus has affected you and what you are doing to either hibernate or diversify. If you are hibernating, tell your clients of your plans moving forward. If you are diversifying, tell them what you are planning, which may be community projects, such as restaurants offering take-away meals for essential Key Workers, or charity donations of stock and products you can no longer sell.
Keep your clients close but keep your competitors closer. Before you plan your own marketing look to your competitors. Are they still marketing? If they are, you cannot afford to stop. If they are not, it”s your opportunity to dominate areas of the market. With less competition search engine results pages, and PPC (pay per click) will be cheaper. This is now a great time to create more traffic whilst the cost per click is lower.
When we come out the other end of these troubled times, the business landscape will have changes that we may not have foreseen. There may be new opportunities. So, now is the time for some essential “house-keeping”;. In the coming down months do something positive to get ready for change. DO NOT stop marketing your business. If you stop marketing, you lose momentum. Once you stop, people forget you. Keep waving the flag, and wave it hard!!
Lastly, stay focussed and positive. Businesses can survive and beat Covid-19 with a little planning and doing things a little differently. New businesses and opportunities will grow from this pandemic. Can yours be one that will grow, or do you need to re-build your company to meet the new world and economies.
The reality is that there will be a recession to come from this, what will this mean for your business and how do you plan in advance to prepare.