We’ve been in lockdown for nearly a month now, and there’s a huge range between how businesses have fared. I’m lucky that I don’t depend on physical contact, or on physical supplies or products. Even so, one or two clients have put work on ice, and I’m prepared for more of that before the lockdown ends.
Others are far less fortunate, however. I know a number of business owners who are pretty much shut down for the duration. It’s a scary situation, and it leaves the question of what to do until everything starts up again.
Taking a Break
You could take a well-earned break, of course. Maybe you have a garden to enjoy or DIY to catch with (safely, I hope). Or you could catch up with all those boxsets you’ve been meaning to watch. You can start up again when the lockdown ends.
The trouble is, of course, that everyone else will be starting up again at the same time, and the playing-field is going to be nothing like the one you left. The businesses who succeed are going to be the ones who’ve repositioned themselves to take advantage of this and kept their market engaged through the lockdown.
Working on Your Business
While there’s no harm in having some relaxation, maybe you could spend the lockdown preparing for the new, post-coronavirus world we’ll all eventually emerge into. Here are a few things you might think of doing:
- Work on your written communication, including social media, blogs, newsletters and emails, to keep your clients and contacts updated and confident that you’ll be there when they need you.
- Most sectors are changing all the time, and we need to learn new skills to keep up. There are plenty of online courses you’ve been meaning to take for ages, but have never had time. Now you have.
- Your website isn’t a static, one-time job. What was effective last year may not be this year, and post-lockdown is going to be particularly different. This is a great opportunity to revisit design or content (or both), whether that means a refresh or completely revamping it.
- Network network network! Business networking hasn’t disappeared — it’s gone online. I can personally recommend 4Networking and Business Buzz, but many others are available. Whichever suits you best, keep networking.
- Write and post regular blogs, keeping yourself in front of your market and reassuring them, whether by offering advice or simply providing a journal of your lockdown — though you need to keep up a positive outlook, of course.
- The business shows and exhibitions you planned to attend haven’t been cancelled, just postponed till later in the year. When it all starts up again, everyone’s going to want their displays and merchandise at the same time. So prepare now and avoid the rush of the people who didn’t have your foresight.
- Remember that business plan you made at the beginning of the year? Let’s face it, it’s not going to your original expectations, and it may not be worth the virtual paper it’s virtually written on. This is a perfect opportunity to revisit it and plan for various possible scenarios.
- If you’re anything like me, you’ve mean meaning for ages to investigate automating your systems but haven’t had time. For instance, I’ve been intending to check out whether Xero or QuickBooks would suit me better. If you’ve been putting off this kind of thing, now you have the time.
- If you’re really desperate, you could get your tax return done while you’re not rushed. Go on, make your accountant’s day.
- Have you considered writing a book showing your expertise in your sector? It’s the perfect way of getting your name out there — and this is the ideal opportunity to get it done.
And there are many other options, depending on the nature of your business and how completely you’re closed down. You can use the lockdown as an opportunity to get fighting-fit for the future — and still have time to watch a few boxsets.