Advice for a Small Business during Covid-19

With the whole world being turned upside down by this virus, many individuals and communities are facing a difficult road ahead. But what can you do to help safeguard your business?  We’ve reached out to Kallum from Acorn Enterprise for some useful tips and advice…

Hey Kallum!

With the vast majority of people now working from home, how important is it for businesses to keep finding new ways to communicate?

This is fundamental.  The way you communicate with your customers and employees is going to have to change. However, this shouldn’t be too much of a shock for anyone because this has been happening for a while now. We now have a real pressing reason to embrace technology in a way we haven’t before. For the time being, we need to abandon traditional face-to-face meetings. But thanks to technology, it’s still relatively easy for businesses to speak to their team, customers, suppliers and others.

There are so many ways we can do this and even better, many of them are free! WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, email, and even, dare I say it, 2 cups and a bit of string – phone calls! The medium may change, however, this doesn’t mean that businesses stop. We simply need to adapt. Treat this as an opportunity: how else can you add more value to your communication? How can you use these platforms to leverage your business’ capacity and increase efficiency? What other customers can you serve by really adopting these platforms, maybe those not even in this country?

Does the same advice go when it comes to Marketing?

Absolutely, consistency is key! Don’t be invisible – quite often PR is the first thing to go out the window when businesses are struggling, but now is really the time to UP your marketing efforts/activities! All eyes are online right now so really go for it.  If you are open for business let people know.  There are lots of things you can be doing to boost your business and help your cashflow.  If you can’t open up shop take your services online, advertise gift vouchers,  deliver your products or offer take away services.

A very important point: this is not about exploiting people or taking advantage of the situation – that is WRONG! It is about ensuring that you have a business that can support you and your family at the end of the day.

Money is naturally a big worry for many businesses at the moment, what other tips would you give people to help their cashflow?

You’ve really got to look at all aspects of your business and ask yourself:

  • What can you do more or less of?  Treat this situation as a way to explore new products and services, evolve your business model, and remove unnecessary costs.
  • How can you continue to deliver your current products and services to your existing customers?
  • Can you offer gift cards? Where people can buy now and claim at a later date so that you have more money now.
  • Can you move to a monthly subscription business model, to ease your own cash flow and make it more manageable for your customers?
  • What new problems do your customers have that you can help them solve?
  • Are there new customers who you could serve with your current and/or new offerings?
  • If you’ve had work or projects cancelled, can you re-schedule them for a later date so you don’t completely lose out on this money?

The way you get paid may need to alter for the time being – at least with businesses handling less cash, the chance of banking chocolate coins diminishes! (boom boom).  Really think about how you are using your time. Now, more than ever before, you’re really going to have to focus on getting stuff done and watching the pennies. Always ask: is this the best use of my time and my team’s time?

So really people need to be looking ahead and making plans for scenario A, B, C… Z?

Exactly.  This will pass eventually so make sure you are ready for it. Treat this whole situation as if the world has hit the PAUSE button. Yes, there are a lot of negative consequences but there are also some positives. Where do the opportunities lie for you and your business?

Those projects that have been bubbling away on the back burner- those new product or service idea you’ve been dying to develop, that new market you’ve been looking to explore. Now is the time to make real progress without some of the day-to-day noise and fire fighting that comes with running a business (although, there may now be different fires and noise to deal with!).

If you stand still, your business may fail. If you wait for help, it may come too late. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, it may not be enough.

The world has changed.  How can you position yourself to take advantage of it?

P.s. Look out for government advice and business grants– and don’t be scared to reach out for help!


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