With things in flux and seemingly getting worse by the day it’s easy to tell oneself there’s no end in sight, but as the economist Herbert Stein once said things that can’t go on forever, don’t. And this pandemic is no different. There will be an end to it and things will (eventually) return to normal.
1. Slow Down
The landscape will be different however and by calmly evaluating your business and taking care of your mental wellbeing first and foremost you’ll be able to spot the opportunities and help your business ride this wave. Managers are going to be asked to remotely do more in handling the pressures and morale of their team members. A key take-away from the already established work-from-home research is remembering not to micromanage your employees.
Know and prepare for these changes with additional training and support to help weather this storm. Tips for effective management can include using Agile practises in your marketing or sales team, have established team check-in times or daily stand-ups, have up-front discussions about hours working, and take advantage of the communication technologies out there. This might be a great opportunity to see if the benefits of telecommuting can change your company’s environment for the better.
2. Keep Your Routine
It won’t be exactly the same. But it’s all too tempting to slip out of bed in your jimjams, grab a caffeinated drink and immediately start work. Keep the same structure you’d keep at the office. Having a daily routine with set time for email checks, headline browsing, and social media scrolling will keep your day on target and help define work time from home time. Experts advise having your important decision making done first thing in the morning when the mind is fresh, and remember this applies when trying to get that critical decision from clients too.
The old adage dress for the job you want still applies. Studies show the clothes you wear can effect your mental and physical performance. While we are not advising a 44 page manifesto for uniforms, the mindset a professional appearance has upon work performance is very real whether you’re in an office or working from home.
3. Leverage Technology
Social distancing has meant we just lost a very important tool; face time with clients. Without the critical discussion over a cup of coffee, we have to leverage other tech to maintain our connection with clients. Emails and text messages are of course good ways to maintain quick contact, but video calls can really help towards replacing face time.
Keep any video meetings going as smoothly as possible by knowing in advance what tools need to be shared, what platform you and the client use, and be prepared. Remember experts say the most important thing is to start your meeting on time and stay on topic, keeping an agenda before a video call is as important as before an in-person meeting. Brring Conference is the only conferencing product that will call all participants at the correct time so there is no hassle of forgotten pins or late joiners.
With everyone on their screens at home now is a good time to nurture your customer base with a strong stream of content in the form of email campaigns, podcasts, e-books and lead magnets. Webinars guiding customers through your product are another way of maintaining a personal touch without having to call every customer individually.
4. Close Contracts
Money, budgets and costs are on the forefront of everyones mind during this time of uncertainty. With things going up and down by the day the market uncertainty will strongly affect peoples’ decision making skills. Close open deals as soon as possible, offer sweeteners for up front payment or annual payment discounts. Pre-paid contracts can be better than monthly ones in a volatile market as clients are going to be constantly re-evaluating their spending. Planning is good but action is better, close those deals and secure your funding.
5. Change Time Frames
Things are changing rapidly now – your plans should be reassessed – things you were considering monthly should be reassessed weekly, your weekly plans daily. While management tends to resist disseminating plans, creating a working memo of your ‘current live view’ can help your team keep focus. Remember in planning for the worst case scenario it will help your company stay afloat longer even if the worst case does not pan out. No-one wants to be perceived as unaware, and with new information constantly coming, plans and schedules need updating based on timely, up-to-date decisions.
6. Opportunity is Knocking
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity – Albert Einstein. And no, we are not discussing blackmarket toilet paper. Everyone is experiencing a shift in the way they are working and is open to finding new solutions to their problems. Look for new types of customer segments who could benefit from using your products and services. The market is changing for everyone and industries that were previously just outside your field might be ripe for your product pitch. Opportunities are out there, you need to be willing to look for them with an open eye and open mind.
That could include running new ad compaigns to new target audiences or leveraging your existing assets, in particular your website which might benefit from a lead generation tool like Brring Live Dialer.
7. Evaluate Your Costs
Risk assessment and management is something we all naturally do. Companies and boards will be using this time to identify new ‘black swans’ looming towards their business as well as potentially revisiting any terms and conditions or initiating a ‘cooling off’ period. It’s time to take stock of your costs. While everyone is feeling a pinch can you renegotiate a contract to a better price? Can you pause any non-essential items? It is time to evaluate the needs vs nice-to-haves, and nothing should be off the table.
Follow the four key components of a Business Continuity Plan: scope and objective, operations at risk, recovery strategy, roles and responsibilities to ensure you follow a balanced plan and all employees are onboard.
8. Global Pandemic
Lastly, remember the current crisis is not affecting you alone – it is also affecting your customers. Consider discounts, promotions and extensions – remember the cost of acquisition for customers these days is higher – it’s often cheaper to discount an existing customer than to acquire a new one.
Whilst you should evaluate your costs don’t cut your own prices to the bone. The prices you set now will set expectations down the line. Make sure you have enough margin to keep your own head above water. That said – empathise with your customer’s plight especially those in front line work and hospitality. Be flexible – things will pickup, so how you handle yourself in this crisis will be remembered long after we are out of this situation.
At Brring we are stepping up to help out. Not only are we offering free video conferencing for people to use but Live Dialer is totally free to start out with and pay as you go after that. So start converting more browsers into buyers.