Stephen Larkin offers business owners his eight tips to help them get through the current situation surrounding Covid-19.
Don’t ignore the facts
Covid-19 is an incredibly serious issue – one that cannot be overlooked. Cities right across the world have gone into complete lockdown, while in Ireland all schools have been shut. The number of cases is increasing rapidly, so listen to what experts are saying and don’t open your businesses for the sake of it. Whatever goals you set out to hit this year will have to be reconsidered because Covid-19 isn’t going away anytime soon.
Health is most important
It is absolutely critical not to take any chances as you are the driving force and engine of your business. That being said, your staff must also be at the forefront of your decision-making. Put your personal care, your family and your employees first. They will thank you in the long run for making the right decision.
Keep your customers updated
Things are constantly changing, meaning businesses owners’ plans are most likely pivoting as a result. It’s so important that you engage with your customers on as many platforms as possible. Be sure to tell them what you’re doing, how you’ll be providing your service during these difficult times and anything else they need to be aware of (delivery delays, open less hours, etc.).
Try boost team morale
At times like this, team moral is likely to be down with so much market uncertainty and jobs being at risk. You need to communicate a positive message to your staff and reassure them that they will be supported. Involve staff in the next steps you are planning to take, because it will make them feel valued and will show you really care.
Use this time wisely
At things slowly come to a complete halt, you should use this time to your benefit. Take a look into the business, identify what areas are working well, and the areas that require improvement. After you’ve identified this, make a plan to address the issues that exist in your company. This will help you hit the ground running when the situation improves.
Remove excess fat
The coronavirus is already having a detrimental impact on businesses right across Ireland, and unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. Now is the time to ensure your business’ long-term survival. Money is going to get tight, so if you’re spending important cash on something that isn’t necessary, be sure to cut those payments off before it’s too late. There is going to be light at the end of the tunnel, but right now no one can predict how far away that is.
Show sympathy during these difficult times
Most business owner are used to battling hard to sell their business or their product. But now is not the time for that. People are currently in panic mode and thinking differently, so you’ve got to be thinking about your marketing from that perspective. Focusing solely on sales in the current situation will not do your brand any favours – in fact, it may work against it. Be helpful and supporting, and people will still buy from you.
Learn from Covid-19
This isn’t the first global crisis and it certainly won’t be the last! As a business owner, you should be planning ahead and expecting this to happen again at some stage. Preparing for the next crisis (or the next phase of the current crisis) now is likely to be much more effective than an ad hoc, reactive response when the crisis actually hits. Document any learnings from this current situation and use it to your advantage in the future.
By Stephen Larkin
Published: 17 March, 2020