Productivity in Crisis: The Best Ways to Take Advantage of the Downtime
Due to the current coronavirus crisis, many small business owners are facing a great deal of downtime, both personally and for their businesses. That doesn’t mean however, that you have to panic! In fact, you can take advantage of that downtime, utilising the extra time on your hands (when there might not be customers in your business, or when you see more customers virtually rather than in person) to grow your business.
1. Reevaluate your business priorities.
During the normal rush of everyday activities, it’s easy to lose track of your priorities. There are things that ‘have to be done’ because they are the things you have always done or the way you have always done things. During this period of downtime, it’s time to evaluate your priorities and get a better feel for what’s really important to your business (and to you) and what you can allow to slide. Is it time to change up your product line? Are there services that are costing your business more than they bring in? This downtime is the perfect time to weed them out and make critical changes to your business structure.
2. Improve training and knowledge.
Both you and your employees can benefit from increased training during this downtime. Your employees too, may have extra time on their hands – time they aren’t sure what to do with, or that they’d like to spend being productive as well. Take advantage of this downtime to:
Acquire new certifications. This is the perfect opportunity to improve your knowledge about and status in your industry. Acquire new certifications or offer opportunities for your employees to do the same. Provide employees with a list of certifications and the incentives that go along with acquiring them. You can also assist employees with materials and guidance that will help them achieve their goals.
Provide increased employee training. Many of your employees may not be able to come into the physical location of your building, whether you’re operating with a reduced staff or unable to keep your physical location open due to current regulations. Virtual training options however, will allow you to provide employees with increased knowledge that will make them more effective and productive when they return.
3. Maintain and support your marketing efforts.
During this crisis, more of your customers than ever are spending time at home, with empty hours to fill. They’re searching for information about your business: information about whether you’re still open, when you’re going to resume operations, and what you’re still offering your customers. They want to be entertained and uplifted during a difficult time. Equally important, when the crisis is over, you want to still be top of mind for your customers. Try:
Updating your social media profiles and posting regular content. Throughout the crisis, many people are spending more time on social media as a way to pass the time. Keeping your social media profiles active, even if you’ve had to shut down your business, can allow your customers to stay connected with you.
Creating content. Videos, even just mobile phone videos, can catch customer attention and provide them with a source of entertainment in the midst of the crisis. Blog posts can provide consistent, reliable information as well as a distraction from current events. Infographics can amuse, entertain, and inform. With extra time on your hands, you can spend time creating those pieces of content and connecting with your customers more effectively.
Designing advertisements that uplift and support the community. During the coronavirus crisis, your advertising might look a little different. You don’t just want to try to sell products and services. Instead, you want to focus on providing an uplifting message that helps raise your customers’ spirits and shows them how you’re getting involved in the community throughout this crisis.
4. Create a solid plan for reopening.
In many areas of the country, you may not know when you can plan to reopen or what the restrictions on your business will look like when you do. You can still, however, create a comprehensive plan that will help you prepare for reopening whenever it happens. Consider factors like:
How you will notify your customers. Choose the avenues where you’re most likely to be able to connect with your customers: social media and email, for example. You might also want to issue an announcement on your website: a banner or pop-up that provides customers with vitally-needed information about your reopening. Keep in mind what your customers will need to know most, including potentially changed store hours, cleaning measures, or any changes that you’re making to your services.
What measures you will put in place to keep your staff and customers safe. How will you help maintain vital social distancing and cleaning measures as you open back up? Consider physical barriers and signs as well as increased sanitation measures across the business.
What reopening looks like for your business. Do you need to bring in employees slowly, rather than having everyone come back at once? Will you have different services on a temporary basis? Limited offerings, especially until you are back to operating at full capacity? All these factors can influence your business.
5. Build relationships.
Both your customers and your employees need that vital relationship with your company now more than ever. Take advantage of this time to build those relationships. Check in on your regular clients and make sure they don’t need anything that you can provide. Connect with your employees and offer what support you can during this time. Make plans for how to connect with your employees: through virtual meetings and phone calls now, and by offering opportunities for connection when your business opens again.
During a crisis, it’s often necessary to react quickly. During downtime, however, you have time to move beyond immediate reaction and take the time to plan and grow. Take advantage of this downtime to construct a plan for moving forward that will allow you to support and grow your business, even in a period of uncertainty. Need time accomplishing those goals? Contact us today to learn how we can help.
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