Your customers are being told to only leave for necessities, your employees are working from home, and you’re looking around 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.
If you are looking for a partner at this time, (someone to help you navigate the uncertainty, help you get your technology updated so you can work remote, or just a peer to reach out to and collaborate with) check our Membership Directory!
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.
See what your local library has to offer! The Oil Region Library Association has resources for businesses like:
• Gale Business: Plan Builder pw: pl2612
• Gale Courses pw: pl2612
• Job & Career Accelerator
As well as other resources to keep active and minimize cabin fever like OverDrive (eBooks, eAudio), Kanopy (streaming), etc. Visit their website for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Update Your Skillset
Have you always wanted to learn photography to better market your products? Or maybe you need help organizing your information, or you’ve always wanted to perfect your bread making. Maybe you need a refresher in Quickbooks or to learn how to set up and update your website so you don’t have to hire it out. Heck, maybe you’ve wanted to pick back up the guitar. You’ve got time on your hands, it’s the perfect excuse to learn a new skill.
Systems can be great for your business. They help you to respond faster, not have to duplicate processing over and over, batch tasks, and can help you run more efficiently.
• Set up email auto-responses
• Create checklists for repetitive tasks
• Organize your physical and digital files
• Update your customer databases
• Clean out your inbox
• Set up online recurring payments
Tackle That Project
You know, the one you’ve been avoiding. We all have projects that we have been procrastinating about that we mean to do. They may seem to be too much time, energy or they will be too disruptive to business. Well, now that you’re out of excuses, it 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
Looking for someone to help develop your website, someone to provide legal guidance, or any other partner in this time? Check our Membership Directory!
Find a Mentor
It’s nice to get the perspective of someone who’s been there. And while you’ll probably be bereft of finding someone who’s gone through this exactly; you can certainly find someone who has weathered storms before. Below you’ll find a list of a few great programs for business owners or those looking to start a business. But reach out to us – we would love to connect you with someone in your field!
• Clarion University Small Business Development Center
• Small Business Jump Start
Get a Different Perspective
Look at your company as if it was someone else’s. What advice would you give them? How does your customer 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 things that could be added that would create value?
• Send a survey out to your customers
• Create a focus group
• Reach out to your peers
Keep communications with your customers and supporters as well as other businesses.
• Let customers know how they can support you during this time
• Continue to post on social media and send out e-newsletters
• Communicate with other businesses; check in with your peer group
• See what others are doing and where you can collaborate
• Network and connect through phone, email, or online business groups and virtual meetups
• Use telecom resources like FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and more. Let us know if you need help getting started!
Are there other 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 step out and try something different. You’ve got nothing to lose and could potentially have a lot to gain.
What will you have wished that you had done with this time looking back? Are there opportunities that you can support or offer your time to organizing? 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 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 with so much uncertainty. Take some time away from the business. Connect with family and friends. Reconnect with nature. Meditate. Get some rest. Take care of yourself and your body. Know that you are doing everything you can and allow that somethings that 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 it does bounce back; you’ll be ready, stronger than ever.