The last few weeks have been inundated with urgent notices and shifting communications on a global scale because of COVID-19. There is no question that business has felt the effects of this novel virus impacting our world. While this challenge will continue to unfold in the next weeks and months to come, it is critical for the success of any business to establish a plan for how to manage this crisis. Take a moment to assess what your business needs, and be ready to pivot and implement strategic changes that thoughtfully can be the anchor for riding out this season.
Here are some steps to prepare your business for success through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay up to date with CDC and Government Changes
If you are anything like our team spread across the world, you are watching closely what is happening in every government, assessing restrictions, regulations, and timelines. The CDC and individual Embassies are posting around the clock to keep people informed. By staying up to date, you can follow who may be going into lockdown and what precautions you need to take for proper hygiene and immunity support.
Everything continues to develop rapidly. Whether you have a remote team or an office, we highly recommend that you stay up to date with governmental ordinances pertaining to all aspects of your business relations.
See updates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.A. about COVID-19
Review and Update Cancellation Policies and Change of Date Policies
Most companies have a cancellation policy in place for their business. This is a perfect time to remind yourself of what they are. In light of this pandemic, regardless of your location, your industry or if you are tied to travel or events, you will likely have clients backing out of contract agreements or looking to postpone commitments. This is an area that remains critical to surpass the onslaught of changes and cancellations.
When clients present their requests for changes and/or cancellations, it is important you are aware of what all parties have agreed to. Check the guidelines you’ve laid out and speak to those clients that express concerns regarding their projects with you. Calmly remind them of the guidelines they have agreed to, before implementing a response to their requests. Sometimes your approach to a sensitive situation can alleviate the stress that caused the abrupt request in the first place, and reassure your client that you have their best interest at heart.
Be Proactive in Client Relationships and Potential Cancelations
Right now is a great time to reach out to your clients and let them know the steps you are taking to support the health of your company and those around them. If you run a brick and mortar business, this means talking about cleanliness and measures you are taking to disinfect surfaces and public locations.
If you have not already reached out to them directly, make it a point to direct your communications to them regarding these items. Assure them of your concern for their well being. Reinforce the steps you are taking to make sure to deliver for them. And reiterate what all parties have already agreed to. The more you remain on the offense with your client on any problems that need solutions, you will only gain trust from these clients, boosting your impact.
Clients may still want to cancel projects or put projects on hold. This is a great time to remind them of the value of your business relationship, and what you are willing to do to work with them through this unique period of time.
Send Letter to Clients Reassuring Your Commitment to Support
Be super proactive before clients reach out to you about their projects. This is the time to show your clients you care about them and their success more than ever. With growing fear in the global media, now is the time to let your clients know you understand their struggles and are here to help them. Make an effort to ease their fears and help them find solutions if needed.
If you want an example letter to send your client, check out these sample letters for other companies:
Change all in Person Meetings to Digital Meetings
Alright, this may be a stretch for some of you, but this is the time to become a fully WFH (work from home) workforce. And while this may feel super stressful, luckily there are models in place for you to learn from in this ever-changing time. Here at ARC Websites, we have been a full-time remote team since inception, and we know how easy and difficult it can be at times.
The first thing you’ll need to get started on is going through your calendar and contacting all your scheduled in-person meeting parties. Due to public gathering restrictions, ask them if they would be willing to meet digitally instead of in person. This provides an easy invitation to your digital platform of your choosing.
The best way we have found to have online meetings and group meetings is through [Zoom] (https://www.zoom.com). They have been leaders in video conferencing for the last few years and are super reliable. They have a free version for just 1:1 meetings, as well as plans for multiple person meetings for as low as $14 a month. (*rates may vary during the outbreak).
Digital meetings are great for travel, WFH/remote work, and just staying connected to your team while the world decides what to do with itself.
Find New Revenue Streams and Pivot in Your Business
You might be thinking to yourself “My business thrives on 1:1 interactions or groups, how am I going to survive??”
Well, my friend, this is the time to think of additional services or ways to create new streams of income. Those of us that will survive the crazy downturn are already thinking outside of the box on how to support our current clients. We are also strategizing on new methods to acquire new potential clients as we hold on and attempt growth during uncertain times.
Host webinars, create online courses, get equipped, learn new skills from online courses. This is the time to be creative. You will have at least two weeks to work hard and learn some new skills to implement.
Get to it!
While we all take on the challenge ahead of us, here are the next steps you can do today to maximize the success of your business in changing times, to the benefit of yourself, your team and your clients.
Take Care of Yourself
Now, this may seem like a no brainer, but people are scared and panicking right now. You MUST take care of yourself and find some sort of inner peace during times of chaos.
Start a meditation practice, do yoga from home, do what you need to do so that you can remain sane.
If you feel that you are sick or are infected, check with the CDC and your local health care provider on what steps you need to take to get and stay healthy with COVID-19.
Check-in on Your Team (Local and Remote)
You should probably do this first… but take stock in your team and how they are holding up. They are likely fearful, most of them have families of their own and everyone is trying to remain safe while COVID-19 takes ahold around the world.
Give them the option to work from home, or the time off if they need it. I know companies are letting their sick go home without the added consequence of losing their jobs. It’s time for you to make similar decisions for the sake of your employees.
Remember your team supports you and your business. A strong team is a backbone to your business’ success. Now is the time to show your team members that you care and that they are fully supported.
Time to Build an Online Community
If you haven’t started to put your attention into building your online community, here is your golden opportunity. We are a marketing firm after all! We are always looking at ways that we can grow and scale our own business. So why shouldn’t you?
This is a perfect time to grow an online community and play to the strengths of your business.
In times of fear, people are looking for communities and places to look for an outlet from all their struggles. Create a Facebook group or a YouTube channel to grow that community.
If you want to learn how to grow an online business that is remote or WFH book a call with us and we would love to help you. You can get on our calendar here.