Please enjoy the first article from our director of marketing, Hannah Legault. Here are 5 real steps you can take to protect your business during the COVID-19 crisis.
1. Get your news OFTEN and from reliable sources:
Being an ostrich is not going to help you or your business.
You need to stay aware of what is going on so that you can adapt and make important decisions in a timely manner. If you need to take a break, make sure that you see everything that you missed. The decisions that the government takes today will affect your business tomorrow. Below are several resources that we recommend that will help keep you up-to-date:
2. Know your rights as a business owner and an employer:
Consulting with your lawyer now may help you put in place preventative foundations to avoid issue in the future. Your business lawyer has access to resources that you do not, and has the expertise to help you manage through crisis-specific situations. If you have tough decisions to make, thinking of your bottom line and your employees’ futures can be a hugely emotional and problematic situation to consider. Your lawyer will inform you of your obligations, responsibilities, and has the best interest of your business in mind. They will help you get the facts so you can make a decision with a clear head, helping to calm your emotions while also empathizing with you. In addition to all of this, your lawyer may be willing to make a payment plan with you so that you can get help now, and have some options for paying for the service.
3. Shift your daily focus:
It seems that almost every day, the possibilities of business to be done are shrinking. Since many businesses are now being asked to stop in-person operations, perhaps now would be a good time to shift your focus to your online presence, including your social media and website. There are many articles and resources (all completely free) online that will help you better understand algorithms and search engine optimization, so you can take this time to improve your presence online. Consider teaming up with other local businesses to give each other shout-outs across platforms. The followers you gain now will be the customer base you can reach out to when you are back up and running. There is also no end to the amount of options and strategies you can employ to improve your online presence. Not only will this occupy your time, but it will also be serving a valuable purpose for your business in the future.
4. Communicate with your employees, clients and suppliers:
Everyone in our city, province, country and indeed, the entire world, are trying to stay on the same page right now. We are all actively trying to survive not only an unprecedented situation with regards to our health, but also with regards to the economy and therefore our businesses. In this crisis, communication is key and that is a principle that applies on many levels.
You need to communicate with your employees: keep them abreast of what decisions you are making and how that will affect them in the short and long term. Give them confidence by explaining your long-term goals. If you are finding it difficult to decide what is and is not need-to-know information, consulting with your lawyer is not a bad way to go.
Communicate with your clients: your clients are the ones who gave you your success before this crisis, and they will certainly be the ones who bring you back to full fighting weight after this crisis. Keep your clients up-to-date with the decisions you make that will change their ability to benefit from your business. This is a good time to reach out via social media, your website, or an email newsletter. Even better? If you can manage it, why not reaching out to your clients with a phone call? Check in and see how they are managing, let them know about your own efforts as well. Chances are that they will remember that you cared about them enough to reach out.
Communicate with your suppliers: things are tough, and they seem to be getting tougher. If you would appreciate your clients letting you know about holding off on business, try to extend the same courtesy to your suppliers. If your cash flow is tight, try reaching out and seeing what options are available to you. Maybe you can get an extension on interest-free periods without losing service, maybe you can pay interest only until you are fully operational again. Regardless of the outcome, you will never know what is possible unless you communicate.
5. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best:
While we don’t recommend any rash or extreme decisions, you ought to be considering things at four scales:
- What am I doing today?
- What am I doing this week?
- What am I doing this month?
- And what will I be doing 6 months from now?
As a business owner, this isn’t your first time having to plan for the future, it may be different, but it is certainly not the first time you have had to think from many angles. You need to have a plan for worst-case scenarios, but you also need to look at the short-term: what can I do today for my business? Try to have a strategy meeting every morning: look at the news, find out how it affects your business and figure out what you can do today that continues your long-term efforts to progress your business.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Much like you, Force-Legal is a business that is trying to weather the storm at this point. We are doing everything we can to help our clients’ businesses, and we wish only the best for everyone. Remember that even if you are not a client of ours, we may be able to help you protect your business so that you too can survive this. All you have to do is reach out.
Here is hoping for a better day tomorrow.
An article by Hannah Legault, marketing director of Force-Legal inc.
Photo credit: Photo by Jeb Buchman on Unsplash