As another COVID-19 lockdown is due to begin, it’s time to look at how to protect your business from the damaging effects the virus and the lockdown may have. While many people were recently relieved that things looked set to go back to normal or at least into the “new normal,” unfortunately, it was short-lived as the coronavirus case numbers have increased again, and drastic action has to be taken. You may have learned lessons from the first lockdown, whether it is things you should have done, done differently, or not done at all. The critical thing is that this time you will know what to expect and work as best you can to protect your business. So, what this time?
Most businesses experienced their employees remote working in some way during the first lockdown, so they will be used to the process and know what works best for them. Some of your employees are best getting up and showered and dressed in their work clothes to get in the work mindset, while others find they work better in their comfy clothes and sat on the sofa. That’s for your employees to work out, but at least this time, they can be prepared either way, or they can try working a different way this time if they felt they weren’t in a good enough routine last time. As an employer, make sure that you have sufficient support networks in place for your employees; this means regarding technology and work materials and equipment that they need, but also, you need to be more aware of their mental health this time around. Many people’s mental health is deteriorating the longer that the pandemic goes on, and the more issues they have to deal with. Make sure they know they can talk to you if they need to and that you check in on them while they’re working from home.
You can take this time now to plan your next return to work, and while this means deep cleaning, disinfecting the office, calling in the Renew Crew to do a power wash, and maybe putting in more social distancing measures and hand sanitizing stations, it also means preparing your business for something new and different because the world has changed. Now it’s worth looking at next year’s plan rather than trying to save this year’s. Despite how it may seem, you’re actually in a good position now as you can adapt to respond meaningfully and creatively to the current marketplace. For example, marketing campaigns and images will need to include people wearing face masks and respecting social distancing. Take the time to think carefully about which direction you want to take your business in and understand what’s needed to bring solutions to the problems and overwhelming challenges your customers are facing.
If your business struggled during the first lockdown, then you need to be more careful this time. Of course, this goes without saying, but it’s knowing how to be more frugal that’s important. Do you know how you can maximize your profit margins? While it might seem like a good time to get certain jobs done, it is important to control your spending during this time and to put away any extra cash you can. Find out what you’re entitled to in terms of deferrals on rent and loans, and if there’s any way you can save money on your suppliers, then do so. Find out what other funding is available to you or if there are any temporary loans you can apply for.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that you never know what’s around the corner. If you want to protect your business, then you need to be prepared for anything and everything. This isn’t an easy thing to do while trying to run your business, but if you are on top of your finances and know what your business can take and what it can’t, then you can make plans. Try to think of every scenario that you can, and don’t forget to factor in what could happen to the third parties you rely on to keep your business running and providing a service to your customers. While your business may have a good chance of making it out the other side, some of the businesses that you work with and rely on might not be so lucky, so make sure you have a contingency plan just in case.
This is a collaborative post.