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Business owner productivity during lockdown

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There has been a lot of coverage during lockdown about learning new skills – with people teaching themselves how to play the Adele back catalogue on the ukulele, or finally getting to grips with laying a patio. But there are activities that would bring real benefits to your business if you can use this time to put those into place.

Yes, it is difficult to re-motivate yourself when the rug has been pulled out from under your feet, but the markets are showing signs of recovery and, let’s face it, if you don’t try to re-establish your business in its best possible form, your competitors will benefit.

Various news outlets are currently reporting that ministers are thought to have pencilled in May 26 to encourage Britain to get back to work, although the date has not been finalised at this time. Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, has talked of “easing into” the next phase, moving out of lockdown and into what our new working environment looks like.

We spoke to several specialists in our network to see what steps they would advise company owners take to help prepare themselves. So, if you are looking to get your business back on track in the coming weeks, we’ve got some tips for you.

 

Rachel Widden - The HR Dept

Firstly, you should prepare by ensuring the working environment is safe to ask employees to return to. You can do this by carrying out an objective risk assessment and acting on any hazards it identifies.

It’s likely that you’ll need to reassure employees that it is safe to return to work, by communicating well and sharing evidence of your risk assessment with them. There are many ways in which you can support employee well-being, however an Employee Assistance Programme which provides confidential counselling is an affordable and effective way to start.

Your industry may look very different once the lockdown ends and, in response, you may well need to look at a workforce restructure including redundancies and/or lay-offs. It is wise to consider this all now, so that you’re able to follow the correct processes and have all of the correct paperwork in place if the time comes.

 

Charlotte Waters - Morton Waters

Scheduling tools like ContentCal, or even just a spreadsheet, will enable you to map out months of social media content in advance. An hour or two a day for a couple of weeks and you could fill up your social channels until the end of summer. You could also put sometime to checking out how your social media profiles stack up against others in the market and making any improvements to header images, bios etc.

Understanding exactly who your customers are, and why you are a great solution for their specific needs, will give your future marketing campaigns a much better chance at success. Taking some time now to understand more about their motivations, and how these match up with how you see your company’s strengths and weaknesses, would be time well spent. You can get our ebook on creating customer personas here.

Finally, if you want to be fast out the traps when the opportunities arise, create an eshot template that represents your business really well. Mailchimp and other email platforms provide templates that can be adapted, or you can ask a designer to create a bespoke one that gives you more flexibility and better reflects your brand. With this new email template to hand, you can make sure all your contacts – existing customers, lapsed customers, referrers, suppliers etc – know that you’re back and ready for business.

 

Martin Brown - Elephant’s Child

When you think about the extraordinary times we are all facing, you could see it as the biggest challenge or the biggest opportunity. We are all essentially reduced to a start-up – so how will you now choose to push on?

Looking at revising, or in many cases creating, a business plan is an excellent place to start.

We’ve considered that there are three phases that businesses will now be facing – Survive, Stabilise and Thrive. Reviewing where you are now, and what you need to get to the Thrive phase is going to be essential.

This enforced period of less or no trading activity has given a lot of business directors cause for thought… why do I run my business? Am I getting enough out of it? Am I doing enough for others? Can I change how I run it to get the benefits I want? Working through these questions with a business strategist can help you to see how your business can evolve to give you the life you want to live now.

There has also been a lot of consideration around sustainability and how each organisation could improve its footprint. But there is also now an opportunity for thoughts around how your organisation impacts others and what kind of lasting impact you want to have. We’ve all seen companies rising to the challenge, being compassionate, reaching out to help others – how can we also make these lasting habits?

 

Online support

Searches for online learning have almost doubled from where they were this time last year and there are many fantastic resources available to improve your skills. A quick Google search will show up lots of results but some in particular that could be useful

Inspiring leadership through emotional intelligence - Google

Understanding your sector - Open University

Effective communication in the workplace – Open University

The Science of wellbeing – Yale University

 

These are only some of the experts within our network, many of whom would be happy to give you some guidance. So, if you think some external support could be useful to help you navigate your way to ongoing business success, do drop us a line – we’d be happy to put you in touch.

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