We are living in completely unprecedented times. The global pandemic of Covid-19 is something that no business on earth was prepared to handle, and we are way outside the rule book when it comes to business crisis management. At this stage, there are many more unknowns than answers to questions, and the situation is unfolding on a daily basis. The new constant is very rapid and bewildering change. Any good small business quickly learns to be adaptable – but then things are revolving as rapidly as the current situation, how can you hope to survive?
Keep On Top Of Information
The first factor that business owners need to stay on top of are all the volumes of news and information appearing daily about Covid-19. Knowledge is power, so making sure you’re updated is key to steering your response. Just as you would do a competitor analysis to find out about a new product in the marketplace, so you need to assess all the new information to decide the best position to take. Events are unfolding at breakneck speed, so set up news alerts on your phone to make sure you’re aware of the latest developments. This has the benefit of helping you to understand how to mitigate the impact of the virus on your operations – think sit-in restaurants that have quickly pivoted to doing takeout, or office cleaning companies selling their supplies to households who can’t get hold of what they need. Second, the more informed you are, the better the communication you can set up with your staff. As a leader, you will need to work out your position early and have thought through some possible answers, as employees will be looking at you to do so.
Prioritise Your Communications
It’s a time of rampant uncertainty, with delays and unforeseen complications around every corner, so communication is absolutely key to make sure expectations are managed and everyone is as clear as possible. Use the opportunity to find a tone of voice which is reassuring, although it is okay to say that you don’t know all the details. Having a decent email marketing system will allow you to tailor communications to different audiences and set up workflows depending on their interactions. It also pays to have Cloud Hosting so that documents are accessible by staff working from home and so that you can get to the things you need no matter where you are. Customer experience is still paramount, and your clients are likely to remember the companies that perform especially well – or especially badly – when the crisis is over. People are willing to forgive a little disruption in service, but companies who are open, honest and transparent will come out of it a lot better than those who are not.
Ultimately, the longevity of your business depends on you keeping safe. So don’t take any chances with risking your health. Stay away from crowded places, follow best practice advice from the World Health Organisation and make sure that you maintain great hygiene. It could make all the difference between the survival of your business and having to shut up shop. Put a business continuity plan in place and aim to follow it if needed.