Open a new page in your note book and fill in the blanks:
April 2020: Lockdown for my business means _________________
April 2021: Reflecting on lockdown I am proud of my business because ___________________
Fight, flight or freeze
The past month has flipped our 2020 business strategy from a flying start to a vulnerable time of uncertainty. Sales of products/services have been transformed to support networks, donations and goodwill. Bricks & mortar to radio waves from our make shift home offices and the realisation listening is the greatest asset of all. So where do we fit into this new but temporary lifestyle and how do we safeguard our brand?
Every person has their story as does your business, so let’s get personal. Currently we are all experiencing lockdown from a different perspective for example working on the front line, living with family, living alone or adjusting to a rapidly changing business model overnight. Shopping local has never been more high profile and it’s these local businesses that are shining bright within their community. Fresh local doorstep deliveries, donations of essential protective equipment and morale boasting online engagement; make sure you are a part of this thriving community spirit. A small goodwill gesture could be your platform to recovery, because we all know people remember how you made them feel during challenging times. So, can you build, donate, give advice, be that listening ear or deliver? Adapt now and you will receive the benefits later.
Stay relevant, strategies have changed but your brand presence must remain active. Setting the tone of your virtual presence is paramount, hard hitting sales posts, although relevant a few months ago may now be seen as distasteful and greedy. Ask your team to read over your social material before going live, your message should be clear and empathetic. Show off your brands personality – share your business story and top tips, give a behind the scenes tour or ‘how to’ video, create some humour with the trending Tik Tok videos, demonstrate step by step guides, get chatty with online support groups, interact with quizzes and show your support for your community. Now more than ever people are relying on online content for education, entertainment and reassurance.
Your team are the backbone
‘A happy team is a productive team’ and for everyone life is not as we know it causing fear, stress, anxiety and a whole load of social media noise to add into the mix. Take the time to regroup, listen and reassure. Communicate, be realistic and empathetic because the kitchen table surrounded by family is a completely different setup to your purpose built office environment. Like wise for highly active jobs, trade workers and shop floor assistants can find it challenging to adapt and stay motivated. Show your team they are appreciated – share photos/videos of the people behind the screen/phone, acknowledge a task done well or simply pick up the phone and ask them how their day has been. By proving your teams worth they are more likely to go above and beyond. Don’t forget a key ingredient during these uncertain times – sharing. The more you communicate with your team the greater their understanding for the reasoning behind decisions being made. You never know, one wild idea from your team may just be the bounce to keep your brand fighting fit.
The journey so far
Acceptance of lockdown was a difficult challenge to swallow – dread, panic, fear, denial, anger, concern; a whole host of emotion swept through us
Will I get paid? Will my business survive? How do I protect my family? Questions we didn’t have the answers to and devastating thoughts after years of dedicated hardwork.
The spread of Covid-19 is out of our control but what can we control?
Draw out a timeline of your highs and lows throughout the years of your business model. What was working well, what required development and what did you keep putting off? Get critical, your strengths before lockdown should be your strengths during/after recovery. What is the lesson you are learning right now and what will your business look like on the other side? There are an abundance of free webinars available online to help you answer these questions or send our team at BBD a message via facebook and we will share our skills with you.
Communicate – it’s all in the detail to breaking down those barriers. Your team have just experienced the unthinkable, be empathetic and ensure everyone is working to their individual strengths. Measure – is your newly adapted business strategy working to it’s maximum efficiency and if not how can this be adapted? Your audience may have changed therefore your service will have different needs to meet. Getting your business heard is more important now than ever before, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Celebrate – take the time to acknowledge the whirlwind challenges of 2020 and reward yourself in anyway you see fit. Finally, say thanks – your customers old & new, family, colleagues, friends and community have been on this rollercoaster with you and are now a huge part of your businesses story; word of mouth is your free marketing tool.