While Coronavirus continues to have a big impact on daily life in the UK and non-essential premises have been told to close, your business does not need to come to a complete stop.
Now is the time to put plans in place for the future, when we return to ‘normal’ life.
Below, you will find 5 steps businesses can take to prepare and remain productive during the slowdown.
1. Adapting services to the current circumstances
Businesses are facing new challenges but there are also new solutions. Due to the current situation, many companies have had to close their doors to the public but this doesn’t mean they cannot adapt to the situation.
Many restaurants have introduced a takeaway or delivery service, in order to adapt to the current circumstances where people are advised to stay at home. Even bigger companies like Ford and Tesla are turning their attention to producing masks and ventilators that are in short supply, while their automotive plants are not in use.
Local examples include Why Not Coffee from Bearwood who introduced a coffee delivery service and Aldridge based Sandstone Yoga, who are running online yoga sessions.
2. Don’t be afraid of technology; take advantage of it
At the moment, the majority of businesses are trying to find solutions to carry on with their staff working from home and one key challenge is communication. However, thanks to modern technology, there are a variety of free tools available to help with things.
Online tools such as Zoom are great for hosting video conferencing or team meetings, you may not be able to physically be in the same room but you can still have vital discussions, keep everyone informed and make key decisions. Microsoft Teams also has some useful features when it comes to team meetings, scheduling and its chat function allows you to stay up to date quickly without clogging up your email inbox.
You can easily use tools such as Zoom or Skype to contact employees, customers, suppliers and other key contacts for your business. ACAS have recently published some advice for businesses who are adapting to working from home which may be useful – click here.
3. Use this time to improve your skills with free online training
If you’ve been thinking about learning a new skill or developing your current skillset, now is a great time to invest in some training. Whether you have the budget to pay for it or not, there are a variety of options out there.
Websites such as FutureLearn have free options where you can sign up online and choose from a wide range of topics including business management, digital skills and more. There are a range of support options available in the Black Country, if you'd like to know more, please get in touch with our team.
4. Ensure your products or services will still be relevant in the future
It is important that businesses have a strategy in place, not only for surviving the slowdown but also for the future and what comes next. COVID19 has forced the country to explore new technology and find solutions for a variety of issues in order to continue with a somewhat ‘normal’ routine at home.
This may affect things after the slowdown as more people will be used to digital solutions such as working remotely or utilising automated responses. It might encourage consumers to change their behaviour permanently, not just during the current situation.
5. Find new ways to stay relevant and on the mind of your customer
Sometimes maintaining an online presence can seem fruitless but in times like these, social media is a great way to keep in touch with customers. Many businesses are using this time to ask consumers what they want to see when they get back to normal or to show their values by posting about the importance of corporate responsibility.
A good example of this is MacDonald’s, they recently closed all of their UK stores but they are still active on Twitter, they recently posted ‘I wonder what song you think we should reopen with…?’. This sparked thousands of responses/discussions, hundreds of shares and over 7k likes - keeping them fresh in peoples minds and gaining traction online. They also recently posted about how they were donating leftover food from their restaurants to charities throughout the UK.
Posting more regularly to social channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram could help your business stay in the mind of your customers and potentially reach new ones. Using free tools such as Hootsuite or Later to schedule posts can save you time and allow you to appear more uniformed and polished.
More about the Black Country Growth Hub:
Growth Hubs were established by the Government to be an impartial and transparent guide for businesses like yours. No matter the size, sector or status of your business, if you are based in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall or Wolverhampton, we’re here to help! Our support is fully funded so it won’t cost you a penny.
Your business and Coronavirus:
If your business is struggling due to the Coronavirus, please make sure you get in touch with the Black Country Growth Hub team to see what support could be available to you.
Call us on 0300 770 2245
Email us at email@example.com