Life has gotten really, really weird.
The way we do things has been completely thrown into question. Especially when it comes to our businesses. Offices have been abandoned, many brands are losing clients and the future’s hard to read (to put it lightly). The result? A lot of us – especially small business owners – are feeling lost, uncertain, and nervous… an unpleasant cocktail of anxieties that we certainly won’t be wanting two of at happy hour, thanks.
But there is a small silver lining. Being thrown into such a unique situation has forced many of us to think outside the box when it comes to our business shenanigans – an attitude which can help you to grow in new and unexpected ways.
So to help you navigate the road ahead and make lemonade out of gross quarantine lemons (which is a thing, now), we’ve put together tips from the savviest small business owners across the UK who are tackling the pandemic – and changing the way their brands operate – a little differently. Notepads at the ready… you’ll want to remember these tips.
Hannah, owner of wedding planning company Complete Rose Events
“I’m offering complimentary Zoom sessions for couples who have had their wedding affected by coronavirus. I’m pouring all of my energy into this so that I can help as many people as possible!”
Key takeaway(s): Who says you need to be face to face with folk to nurture your brand’s relationships? Make sure you’re in constant communication with your clients via digital means, like Zoom or Skype. This will help them to feel safe and secure in doing business with you, no matter the changing tides.
Laura and Adam, copywriters and not-so-evil overlords* at content marketing company Jammy Bear Limited
*Because if you can’t call yourself “overlords” on your own website, where can you?
“We’ve harped on about the power of great content before, and we’ll do it again. Because it really cannot be understated – which is why instead of winding down, we’ll be amping up our content output over the next few weeks. Generating ideas, creating helpful guides, publishing motivational posts and sharing different ways of thinking that’ll help people through this crisis in as effective a way as possible.
Our ultimate goal is that anybody who engages with us – be that on social media, our blog or elsewhere – walks away feeling a little inspired, having learned something valuable that they can incorporate into their own lives. We’re in this together, after all!
Another thing that we’d suggest to business owners struggling in self-isolation is to use this time working from home to create a schedule that complements you. Some of us are night owls, others are morning birds. Some of us need regular breaks, others can sink into a project for hours, needing nothing more than a vat of coffee and the crooning voice of Lionel Richie in the background. Don’t stick to the routines you were in before all this began. Mix things up, and work in a way that reflects your habits and energy levels most accurately. You’ll see results.”
Key takeaway(s): Create as much informative, engaging and useful content as possible, to provide something of real value to your audiences. Also – now you have all this time on your hands – craft a timetable that really works for you, and stick to it.
Melissa, empowerment mindset coach at E-volve Global and creator of colouring printables website The Printable Boutique
“My business seemingly unravelled overnight at the beginning of this. I’m not eligible for government support as my business was incorporated last year, so I had to make some quick plans to stay afloat while working from home. This was a little stressful, to say the least – particularly as I’m also 23 weeks pregnant!
Fortunately, I had a business idea that I’d been working on for a while, that I thought would suit the current market. Two weeks ago, I launched it – a line of colouring therapy and journal printables for all ages, along with an online resilience course. With so many people homeschooling and in self-isolation, sales and feedback have been fabulous.
I’m still coaching, though, and to put my skills to good use, I’ve launched a free pregnancy support group on Facebook to help others – like me – with mindset support at this strange time.”
Key takeaway(s): Business owners – be resourceful. Is there something else you can offer to help people tackle this? An idea that’s been in the back of your head, or a service you can provide for free? Look for gaps in the market where you can bring your other skills to the fore… you never know where the road may lead.
Illiya, director of presentation design company The Presentation Designer
“Our first priority was to streamline costs wherever we could. This included, for instance, scrapping subscriptions that we didn’t use regularly. We also stopped paying for pro features on certain software, opting to use the free versions instead. Be as diligent with your own business, too, to see where you can economise. You might only save a little bit, but pennies and pounds put away now will help you be more financially resilient in the future.
Secondly… just take things one day at a time! Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not always achieving everything on your to-do list. Be honest about your limitations, and take a breather when you need to. Set manageable goals for yourself. Perhaps dedicate one day a week to working on internal projects, to help put your business in a stronger position when we eventually return to normal. Whatever progress you make – no matter how small – is still progress.”
Key takeaway(s): Respect your company’s limitations, as well as your own. Downgrade or stop using software that isn’t a crucial cog in your daily operations. Make sure that you’re prioritising your health, too – working in a way that complements your needs during quarantine.
Andy, owner of VPN review website Compare My VPN
“We’ve been utilising Zoom, Skype and Slack to keep on top of workloads and make sure our team’s always on the same page. For us, making the best out of this situation is all about having as much communication as possible – even though we’re all working remotely.
We’ve also introduced Friday afternoon beers (digitally, of course!), where the team has a drink together and catches up. It’s a great way to stay connected – both professionally and socially – during a time when many of us are by ourselves.”
Key takeaway(s): Along with your clients, you should be communicating as much as possible with your other employees – and not just professionally. Keep spirits high by keeping in touch, and showing your team that you care. The more business owners can foster a sense of community within their workforce, the easier – and more fulfilling – these next weeks will be.