We find ourselves in uncertain, challenging and unprecedented times. No one really knows what will happen next, when things will start to return to “normal” or even what the new “normal” will look like. I saw a great debate recently which asked “Which parts of ‘normal’ do you wish to maintain?”, personally, there are things I plan to do differently. Whilst we are all in this situation together, for sure everyone is having their own individual journey. Certainly many are experiencing anxiety, stress and worry about what the future holds and how to move forward.
But, in amongst this, there are some rays of hope. I love the kindness and support that people are showing both to the NHS key workers but also by supporting those in their local communities. I LOVE the lack of car and aircraft traffic and with the recent lovely weather, I have really enjoyed my surroundings. I am lucky enough to live in Windsor, which is beautiful – for sure the impact on the environment can only be positive.
As the government begins to consider how to restart the economy and how to come out of lock down, I have spoken to some inspirational small businesses to gain some words or wisdom on how to survive lockdown. In some cases to also prepare to get your small business moving again. Whether today, next week, next month or another time is the right time to consider things, these are here for you to refer to when you are ready.
Below, 15 business owners share their small business tips to help us survive lockdown:
It is important to thrive not simply survive during these challenging times. Through the art of mindfulness, really listen to your body, honouring all emotions that arise for you and taking the time to support yourself in every way. Mindfulness can really help you to navigate calmly through this challenging time. We wanted to share our Eight Mindfulness tips and also some Mindfulness F.O.F.B.O.C exercises for you to practice.
2. Keeping Fit
Working out and training at home has never been easier. Exercise can be included into the schedule around work commitments, home schooling and busy family life. It’s important to focus on maintaining fitness for our minds, as much as bodies, rather than setting new and ambitious fitness goals right now. Find something fun to do and move like no one is watching!
3. Organise Your Finances
Whilst you have more time on your hands why not take the opportunity to sort out your financial paperwork? Are all of your documents stored securely or do you need to safely dispose of some?
The key to your business’ strength and resilience right now is visibility. Who will we remember? We will remember businesses who have helped, supported, advised, encouraged and collaborated. Networking is all about digging your ditches, so relationships are built, maintained and still in place for the opportunities which are sure to follow and you will get through this. Join online network groups to increase your business visibility.
I’m all about productivity. I love feeling I’ve been productive and helping my clients ‘get stuff done’. However, these are challenging times. So please don’t tell yourself you’re failing if you didn’t do as much work as you wanted to today, or join that online exercise class you promised you would.
Be kind to yourself, take one day at a time and you will get through this.
Right now everyone is managing this crisis as best as they can and everyone (whilst there maybe similarities) will be going through their own unique experience and journey. “Be the leader you wish you had – be it at work, at home and in your community”
During this Crisis no one has a definitive answer about what the future will look like, this situation is going to test our resilience, endurance, attitude, commitment, perseverance, kindness and accountability perhaps like never before. So, as you draw on the leader within yourself, understand that this is not about ‘doing it alone’, it’s about people. The people around you, staying connected, working together, living together, listening to each other and supporting each.
However, if you feel overwhelmed, worried and have concerns there is support out there. It is OK and it is good to talk.
7. Food on a Budget
In these unprecedented times we are focusing more on experimenting in the kitchen and eating together as a family. Keeping an eye on the budget may also be a consideration. My top budget tips would be:
To buy store cupboard staples in bulk and make your own flours. Herbs and spices are much cheaper if purchased in bulk then decanted into smaller containers. If you already have herbs and spice containers then just refill these with your bulk bought ingredients.
You can make your own flours from: dried chickpeas which can be made into gram flour- simply process to a flour using a food processor; you can dry quinoa in a dry frying pan then process to a flour consistency; grind brown or white rice to a flour consistency in a food process and grind almonds.
8. Taking care of your feet
This can be split into two thoughts – foot care and footwear. Regularly caring for your feet and wearing appropriate footwear for the activity you are doing such as dog walking or gardening is important to consider.
Checking in with your feet weekly, is easy to do and should include thinking about keeping your feet clean and dry, especially between your toes; checking regularly for sores or anything unusual; trim and file your nails carefully to prevent them becoming ragged or too long; and as a treat why not also apply some moisturiser.
It’s been difficult as a family business who does so much business face to face to take the leap to working entirely from home. In recent weeks we’ve set up social and business meetings via virtual conferencing systems and it’s been a lifesaver for us.
Keeping in contact both internally and with business colleagues is important. Don’t forget to also keep connected with friends and family in your down-time, whilst we all do our own hobbies, including gaming and painting miniatures.
Planning removes fear and uncertainty. Take this time to reflect on your business, using this as an opportunity to redesign key foundational elements: what does your perfect team look like? How would you communicate with your customers in an ideal world? What does perfection look like? Then, how can you use this time to create these changes in your business?
11. Keep talking about your business
Now more than ever continuing to talk about your business to both current and potential clients is really important. By keeping forefront of mind, offering support where you can, means that as we come out of lock down they will remember you.
Take some time to evolve your marketing plan to consider current challenges, perhaps focusing on an activity and content for the next 3-months. There are many different techniques you can use to connect with your ideal client, from social media; sending regular newsletter/ email marketing or simply picking up the phone to reconnect with someone.
12. Build Partnerships
Look and find small businesses to collaborate with. Consider, who also deals with your target market? I’ve decided not to contact venues yet but work with mobile bars, bridal shops, stationers, event planners, hairdressers, make-up artists etc. I’ve created a financial business arrangement for recommendations.
13. HR Tips
“Lockdown is over.” As a business owner does that fill you with dread or excitement? The choice is yours, taking the positive out of the current situation has got to be the way forward. As a small business owner, could you provide more working from home opportunities?
Really think about this as an option to encourage the use of technology such as Zoom, could now be a regular work tool rather than the necessary way to enable you to work.
Embrace new skills and ways of working, to make some positive changes to your team, your business and your future. Now is a great time to consider the options and put the plans in place to be the employer you have always wanted to be. If you need any help with putting in place options and correspondence for different working arrangements get in touch as we are here to help.
14. GDPR Tips
Now we are supposedly quieter, it’s a great time to have a data sort out. It will give you space back and make you less likely to have a breach. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Only collect what data you need, if you have it – you have to maintain it and keep it safe. Lock data away and always use passwords!
- Review your processes. People often collect data because they always have, but if it’s not useful to you then delete it.
15. Coaching Tips
In this time of staying at home, our lives can blur between home and work. Consider a regular structure and routine to your working day, which includes some down time. So many of us have become used to literally running through the day, that we forget how much of a difference it makes to take some time away from the desk. It leaves us more refreshed and gives us more clarity to bring to our work. Here are three top tips:
- Have lunch away from the desk every day
- Build in planning time before you start work to enable you to highlight priorities.
- Take some fresh air exercise or hobby time every day.
Thank you to all of the inspirational business owners who have contributed to the above and shared their small business tips to help us survive lockdown. Support comes in many forms and I hope that this will help us all keep focused and move forward along our own business journeys.
Take care and stay safe!