Is there a way to make the most of lock-downs for your business?
Updated: Aug 26, 2020
At 3pm today all New Zealanders find out if/when the country is moving down in it's COVID alert levels. And whilst the statistics are damning with around business uncertainty today we look at a couple of ways of turning another 2020 into some much needed lemonade.
By now most small businesses have accessed "free money" or government loan schemes to help keep the workforce employed and stay afloat (if you haven't please google COVID business support right now). But is there more that can be done right now to help your business survive and ideally thrive in 2020? The bad news first, this isn't as easy as a quick Google search to find government support. But the good news is there definitely can be some simple actions to put in place to give your business its best shot in these crazy difficult times. And it all comes back to one key principle, business mindset. Even successful business owners will be skeptical about this and ask, why is mindset so important? And the thing is for these lucky people is it has either come naturally to them or, they developed it over time and it has become part of their day to day thinking in business.
An important mindset to get yourself into as a business owner or leader within a business in 2020 is seeing problems as opportunities and turning some or all of these opportunities into successful business decisions. This has always been a fundamental of business but right now this is more important than ever, because so many other businesses out there will not be doing this. So what are some examples of opportunities you can come up with during the problem that is Level 2 or 3 COVID alert levels? And how do we change a business mindset?
Use this a chance for a mental refresh/reset. If you like most people have been copping the punches that 2020 has thrown your way head on and not got into a business mindset that is 100% normal and okay. As we all keep hearing this is a once in 100 year event so nobody should be expected to roll with the punches easily. One thing we never seem to have in a "normal world" as business owners is time. Time for ourselves to think outside of the day to day goings on of running our business. In a strange way COVID has given us that chance. Even amidst all the scrambling with suppliers and employees right now there has to be a few extra hours a week you can find to devote to yourself.
Make your business a negative free zone. This could be something as simple as making it a COVID news free workplace. Or something a bit more effort based like dialing up your customer service to 11/10. One thing that is a given out there right now is everyone at one time or another during all of this has been disappointed by the goings on of the world. A positive business mindset can see this as the opportunity to do everything they can as a business to make people happy. Now we aren't talking about trying to make your Printing business Disneyland or anything too far fetched. But people will be drawn to positivity (or more specifically away from negativity) and this can be a chance to put yourself ahead of the rest.
Embrace government catchy terminology The message of "be kind to one another" is unfortunately something that needed to be reaffirmed due to a pandemic as we've all likely been guilty of being "too busy" to actively pursue this. Whatever your political persuasion is does not matter, these important words spoken daily at 1pm were head by nearly the whole country and that means your customers have been hearing that daily too. Try and incorporate this message into your business in subtle ways as there is a growing sentiment towards businesses who will operate with community spirit at the forefront. Across the ditch the early message was "we're all in this together" and whilst that hasn't always been acted out, it is another very important message to try and bring to the way you do business. Post-COVID we are all bound to mistakes, so any potential goodwill you can buy yourself through your actions is an opportunity that these challenging times is a bonus.
Plan! Plan! Plan! As mentioned in point #1 there must be a little bit more time now to do the tasks you always wished you had a chance to spend a bit more time on. Maybe in a "normal world" better planning would be a nice to have and you can get by making decisions on the fly. Unfortunately for some businesses a few gut feel mistakes right now could be the determining factor on whether they survive or not. For most businesses we would recommend one yearly budget and one re-forecast or at the very least check-in to see how we are tracking. But right now with cash-flow tight we recommend to break these up into smaller chunks and re-visit more regularly to ensure your business is agile enough to navigate through the tricky circumstances. We've now seen how a post-lockdown economy operates but it would be foolish to expect a mirror of that this time around. This "bounce back" is something we are constantly modelling and questioning and is an area we are ready to jump into to help you out.
Here's hoping we are just a few hours away from some good news, and if not we find another way to roll with these punches. And remember "be kind, be strong and we will get through this."