Let me get something out of the way. First and foremost, I will not be touching on the reasons that you should be staying home right now, nor the political agendas, nor any of the million other things that I’m not qualified to answer. I am not a doctor. I am not a politician. I am a Director of Operations for a Digital Marketing Company – so this blog will only have my opinions, ramblings, and things that I feel qualified to eloquently speak on.
Now that that’s out of the way – Quarantine, or “being required to stay at home” – sucks. All things considered, I feel like I’m doing OK with it. I mean, I’m an only child from 1989 and I’m used to entertaining myself. I could go on and on and talk about all the reasons that our government imposed it or the negative economic impact or the usual humdrum negative bullshit that the rest of the world is talking about, but I thought I’d put some ideas out there to help people get back on track and in the positive growth mindset post-apocalypse. Here are some things that I’ll be working on while my husky and I are working from home:
Give your business some birds’ eye perspective
There’s no better time, because you’ve GOT the time this time (Try to say that 5 times fast)! Here’s a couple places where we’ve been able to help our customers:
- Analyze your Marketing Strategies and their returns on investment. Where can you improve?
- Consider your customers’ buying path – what leads them from brand awareness to recognition to consideration to purchase to becoming a raving fan?
- How is your presence online?
- If you didn’t know of your business and just found your website/social media page/ad, what would you think?
- If someone was a fly on the wall and listened in on a normal workday for you, what would they think?
I pose all of these questions primarily to challenge you to think outside the box on things you can do to improve your business. As business owners, it can be very tough to look at our businesses from the outside-in as opposed to the inside-out.
Improve your Processes
Obviously I had to touch on this. My favorite book in grad school was “The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt (see: https://www.amazon.com/Goal-Process-Ongoing-Improvement/dp/0884271951). I don’t want to give away the plot or commit any spoiler fouls, but the book is a great story that practically summarizes bottlenecks and the Theory of Constraints.
To offer some practical perspective – in your business, what takes up the most time OR what is your limiting factor? Is there something you can only do a limited number of times, or is there a certain task that holds you up?
My business partner and I go back and forth on this subject all the time. Both fortunately and unfortunately, most of our services and packages involve a LOT of moving parts. This means that we might have 29/30 things completed for the customer, but the 30th thing is the constraint that holds us up from going live with a brand new campaign. We’ve learned, adapted, and overcome… but there are still many things that we have room to improve on. 😁
Another great example is task management. Even though my business partner and I wear many hats and we’re well-qualified to do many of each others’ business chores, we’ve taken this time to really staple down the roles that we each have, so that we can improve the delegation in the future. Food for thought!
Come up with a plan for normal business
I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but THINGS WILL RETURN BACK TO NORMAL. It might take a little while, even after the “stay at home” mandates are lifted, but things will return.
How are you going to respond? How are you going to regain your customers? Should you offer customers an extra incentive to do business with you again? One of the hardest things about this time period is that it is more difficult than ever before to stay in the same level of communication and trust with your customer base – ESPECIALLY for businesses that have to shut down in this time and can’t work remote. Whether it’s a free month of service to help the business economically or a temporary discount/incentive, your customers need to know that you care about them. I’m pessimistic about most business’ ability to work even harder, after this economic downfall, to regain their customers.
Although this comment may seem incredibly self-serving (Hey, this is MY blog… not yours! 🖕🏼😜), we’re seeing a lot of companies rescind and withdraw their marketing budgets. CONSIDER THE EFFECTS OF THIS. If you require the same amount of leads to operate and you’re cutting your marketing budget in half, you’re either going to have to work twice as hard to get the same amount of leads (let’s face it, we’re all pretty much going to have to work twice as hard after all this is over), OR you’re going to let your competition that didn’t cut their budget steal some market share from you! Beware!
My recommendation: Take a deep breath. Assess the marketing efforts and platforms you’re using that are working and those that aren’t. Trim the fat. Play the game smarter, not harder. Better yet – Contact Us and we’ll steer you in the right direction! (Yes, that IS a shameless self plug)
Apocalypse-Proof your Business
I full-well realize that this is impossible for a lot of us. If you’re a restaurant, for example, you can’t just teleport food over to someone like it’s Star Trek (yet). However, if you’re a service provider, why not take this time to put some digital work-from-home blueprints in place? We’ve been very fortunate in that everything that we do is digital (duh), online (double duh), and not to mention I am unwavering in my belief that printers operate solely on black magic and the souls of the damned… I digress, there are a ton of tools out there that make it a little bit easier to operate when you work from home.
We really like https://monday.com/ for team task management. You can give folks on your team a due date and set up notifications for it, which can keep them a bit more honest on their working hours. One of the softwares we haven’t really experimented with (yet) is https://slack.com/ for team communication. I could easily see where we’ll implement it in the future. Also, our company LIVES on https://www.zoom.us/ – Go Premium or Go Home.
Some Resources that Might Help!
So there’s two big-time resources for Post COVID-19 business recovery. The first is the Paycheck Protection Program (https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp) and the second is the standard SBA for COVID-19 relief (https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources). Just wanted to include these for everyone.
Lastly… That thing you’ve been thinking about?
Be like Nike and JUST. DO. IT.
In a time where all of us can easily be negative, distracted, and stressed out… I’d be remiss and off-brand to not take the opportunity to offer some optimism, hope, and light. These bad times will end. Things will return back to normal. Give yourself something to look forward to – something to hope for. It’ll keep you sane. I’ve been saying that I wanted to concrete in my back patio since I moved into my house 2 years ago. Guess what I have scheduled for May, pending apocalypse?
Until then – hope I’ve given everyone some hope and/or a spark of inspiration in a dark time. Stay safe and 6 feet away from each other, wash your hands, and abide by your local government’s recommendations. We will get through this – together.
If you’ve liked this read, please consider following us on social media OR donating a roll of toilet paper to… Just kidding. 😜
P.S. Can we all just put on a “Corona 15 lbs.” and not talk about it…? Asking for a friend…