By Anurag Saboo, co-founder of BullBear
There’s no doubt that this is a troubling time for all small businesses. Many freelancers, business owners and workers across the country have had their plans derailed and lives shaken up due to the COVID-19 crisis. But where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. Here are some key pieces of advice for entrepreneurs on how to keep powering through in uncertain times.
Consider pivoting your business or expanding your services
Depending on how your business has been impacted by coronavirus, you might want to consider pivoting your business or expanding your services. The chances are you’re already online and accessible to lots of customers, but take that one step further and determine how you can help your customers during the crisis by helping them with their problems. If you run an app which links customers to their favourite takeaway, could you consider linking up with supermarkets to provide food delivery services? If your business enables people to chat digitally to each other, could you run demo classes to help the elderly get online to use it to connect with their family? Whatever you decide to do, pivoting your business to help your customers will ensure your business stays relevant and in turn, keep it running.
Stay motivated and focus on your wins
It’s sometimes difficult to focus on the good that comes out of situations. But reflecting on your wins will help you to stay focussed and positive when it comes to running your business, it will also help you to keep calm and collected when addressing your employees about the difficult time you're in. It’s important to communicate with your team your plans, next steps and how you will adjust in light of the events.
Perhaps start thinking about what your customers might want or need when restrictions start to be lifted. For example, you might want to offer customers the option to buy vouchers for when the crisis is over.
Keep your expectations realistic
If you’ve recently started a business, you might want to review your goals and targets for the year in light of the crisis. It’s good to dream big but it can be demotivating when you don’t reach those targets you’ve set for yourself and your team. Revise your plans and think about what is realistic and what you can achieve. Share these changes with your team members so that you can work collectively towards the common goal.
Keep in touch with your employees
Although working from home might not be new to your business or your workers, it’s still important that you check in with your team regularly to see how things are with them. Try having a weekly call with the whole team to check in about things other than work, perhaps for a quiz or just to see how people are doing. This will make people feel less isolated and enables people to connect with their team members, even whilst they’re away from the office. Team interaction will keep your employees motivated, which will encourage them to be more productive and in turn, help your business keep going through the crisis.
Look after your own mental health
There is no doubt that as a business owner you’re feeling stressed and anxious about where your business is going, how your team will cope with remote working and many other concerns, but take time to remind yourself that you’re doing all that you can do right now in the current circumstances. Take some time out for yourself in the evenings and the weekends so that you can step away from your business to avoid burnout. Keeping a balance will help you to manage the stress and anxiety you feel. And remember, where there are challenges, there are also opportunities!