1st Pillar: Start with Your Team

When it comes to your business, your employees are your most valuable asset. Right now, they are likely stressed, worried, or distracted.

  • Have team huddles every day to reinforce morale. Share some inspiring quotes or stories, or crack a few jokes. Ask for team feedback, and make sure your team members can see that you’re working through this time with them.
  • Keep in touch with your team members. You need to communicate with them often and consistently. If you can’t do it in person, use a phone call, or a video call through Zoom or Slack.
  • Consider remote team events like a virtual hangout or team happy hour. Extroverted team members in particular will appreciate this!

2nd Pillar: Make Sure the Important Stuff is Being Done

When your team’s work habits are thrown off, they may struggle to get as much done as before. You need to help them find a new, good work system.

  • Monitor your team’s work remotely – there is a variety of different software for this, depending on your industry.
  • Make it clear who is responsible for what, and by when. The more you make someone owner of a project, the more you make them accountable for it.
  • Trust your team, but verify that they’re moving forward.
  • New systems will have new problems. Be on the lookout for bottlenecks and things slipping through the cracks – it’s better to catch problems sooner than later.

3rd Pillar: Watch for New Opportunities

Things are changing quickly. People who are paying attention will reap the benefits.

  • Be ready to change how you do things. When you get new information, stop and think how it will affect you – and your competitors.
  • Look around at how COVID-19 is affecting your customers. Give them a call and ask them what problems they’re facing and how they’re responding.
  • Find out how you can help your community. It’s the right thing to do, and people will remember that you helped them when it mattered.
  • Be alert to new hiring opportunities. More talented people than usual may be looking for a stable job.
  • Consider social media and online marketing – people are going online more than ever now. Look for ways to provide them genuine value.

4th Pillar: Think in the Long Term

Always consider the long term implications of what you’re doing.

  • The only worse thing than panicking is making decisions while
    you’re panicking.
  • Frequently remind yourself of what is important and what is
    secondary.
  • Keep calm and keep winning your market.

Resources and Ideas to Help You Stay in Touch with Clients

A business that loses communication with its clients is a business that has lost its direction. Don’t let COVID-19 do that to you.

  • Your clients are going to look for your COVID-19 response online. Make sure they can find it!
  • Put key information in a banner at the top of all pages on your website.
  • Publish key information as a post on your Google Business listing.
  • If you haven’t been using your email list, start using it – well.
  • Start putting out a regular email newsletter to your clients, or revisit it if you’re already doing so.
  • Respect their inboxes! You should only be sending them truly relevant, useful content.
  • Sometimes a phone call isn’t enough. Stay in touch with clients via virtual meetings and tools.

If you’re a remodeler, your prospective clients can still give you a tour of their space by means of a video call.

If you’re a lawyer, screen sharing with a client can be an excellent way to discuss documents in real time.

If you’re a lawn care professional, you start a video call with a client and make sure they’re satisfied with your work, without having to meet in person.

Video Meeting Platforms

If you’re unfamiliar with the different video meeting platforms, here are some useful links and pieces of information:

  • Google Hangouts – Meet face to face with co-workers and customers.
    • Included with GSuite account
  • Zoom – Video communications; easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat and more.
    • Basic – Free
    • Pro – $14.99/month
    • Business – $19.99/month
    • Enterprise – $19.99/month
  • Join.Me – Screen-sharing and online meetings.
    • Lite – $10/month
    • Pro – $20/month
    • Business – $30/month
  • GoTo Meeting: Online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software.
    • 14 Day Free Trial
    • Professional – $12/month (up to 150 participants)
    • Business – $16/mo (up to 250 participants)

Resources to Help Small Businesses with Cash Flow Problems

Hopefully you won’t need these, but it’s important to know what your options are.

  • Due to COVID-19, small business owners in every U.S. state and territory are eligible to apply for a low interest Economic Injury Disaster Loan, from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
    • Currently, these loans have an interest rate of 3.75%. Repayment times vary, but can be as high as 30 years.
    • Here’s a link to a PDF that explains the process and what documentation you’ll need.
    • Here’s a link to the application page.
    • To talk to the Small Business Administration in your area, follow this link.
  • If you have a business insurance policy that covers business interruption, you should contact your insurance company to understand how that policy applies to the COVID-19 situation.
  • Many states have also set up loans or grants to help small businesses in this time. To check if your state has, visit the governor’s website.
  • You should also check your county and city website to see what resources they are providing.
  • Many banks are also providing COVID-19 relief of one sort or another. Forbes has put together a list here. Visit the page, and then search for your bank’s name to see what their response has been.
  • Facebook has committed to giving $100 million in cash grants to small businesses. More information on this program is coming soon; you can sign up for updates here.
  • If you need cash quickly, you might consider signing up for this service through Kabbage. Through this site, any business can sign up to sell gift certificates online, and anyone can purchase them to support that business.

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