In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals and begin to panic, especially if you lead a small business. Although times are stressful, there are things you can be focusing on as a small business owner. Here are our top five tips for small business owners:
1) Take Advantage of Deals
Plenty of remote work tools are offering discounts and extended free trials to help employees ease into full-time work from home in small businesses facing the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some of our favorite tools that keep team Marketwake collaborative even when we can’t be together.
- Zoom: You’re probably already using Zoom for video conferencing, but now is a perfect time to really ramp up your usage and enjoy all of its features. You can seamlessly chat and screen share to collaborate on projects, or if you really want to spice up your call you can do so with a custom background.
- Loom: Loom helps businesses communicate effectively with their super-simple video platform. Use Loom to document workflows, send quick feedback, or surprise and delight customers with personalized touchpoints. Through July 1, 2020, Loom is offering unlimited recording on its free platform and its ‘Pro’ plan is now free for educators – forever.
- Teamwork: Teamwork is a super-affordable project management software to help your entire team stay on track, even remotely. Time-tracking, gantt charts, project templates – Teamwork’s features are seemingly endless.
2) Keep Culture at the Forefront
Your employees are your most valuable resource – make sure they are given opportunities to stay productive and engage with one another. Many of them are working remotely for the first time and are likely looking to you for guidance, so be sure to lay clear expectations. Encourage video conferencing over voice calls, drop a virtual happy hour on everyone’s calendar, and make sure you are still celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones with slack messages and videos. Life still goes on (even virtually) – lead by example and make sure your team knows that you’re there for them.
3) Keep Your Online Properties Secure and Updated
Even if you are cutting back on headcount, tech, or other places, your company can still appear as though it’s ‘business as usual.’ One way to do that is to make sure that your listings are up to date – daily. With the situation changing every day, it seems like everything is in flux. However, you can be the proverbial “rock” for your customers by making sure they know when you’re open, how you’re meeting the demand of changing conditions, and what you’re able to offer in the days ahead. Momentum is the best way to achieve that by making sure your listings are accurate and up-to-date across 70 sites and by helping you rank high in Google My Business.
4) Prepare for the Worst, Expect the Best
Schedule your freak-outs. Give yourself 10-minutes to think about the worst-case scenario. After you’ve allowed yourself to imagine the worst, plan out three extremely tangible things you will do in that case. Once your scheduled panic time is over, do whatever you need to for the rest of the day to focus on what you can control. Plan for the best as well! Is there an opportunity in this new reality for your business to expand to a new market? Can you re-package your current service offerings into something that is valuable in the current climate? Be flexible and prepare to jump on new opportunities as they arise.
5- Stay Calm:
Now is the time for leaders to lead, and even in the worst of times, you are still a badass leader. Your employees, customers, and community are looking at you to be a conduit of calm. Stay positive and always remember your “Why.” You knew there would be ups and downs when you became an entrepreneur, and although you probably didn’t anticipate anything quite like this, your leadership matters now more than ever. Be kind. Be empathetic. Be smart and encouraging. You’ve got this.