COVID-19 is an emerging and rapidly evolving pandemic currently facing our world - it has quickly become apparent that our daily lives, businesses, and the economy will all faced an impact. While the health and safety of ourselves and our families, comes first and foremost, here is what every business owner should know while preparing and mitigating for this shift.
First off, know the news but try not to overdo it. It is important to stay up to date on information from sources you trust. There is a fine line between checking an update and overwhelming yourself with headlines. You control how much information you are exposed to and how you protect your mental health. Stress can lead to sickness just as much as any virus.
Healthy & Safety. The health and safety of your customers and employees comes first. Advise your employees if they feel sick, they don't come in. Enhance your standard cleaning practices. Consider implementing a temporary telecommute policy. Ensure the necessary resources are available for safety practices. Make sure you are constantly considering all options and the impact on the health or safety of customers, employees, yourself and the community.
Have a plan. This situation is changing rapidly, have a 1 month, 3-month and 6-month plan on how this could impact business, payroll, and other expenses and strategies that you could use to pivot your business and make it out on the other side afloat. Understand your contingency plan and when it would be time to start adjusting and what will that shift look like.
Respond to business. Be mindful that everyone is impacted and responds differently - be accommodating, be kind, be understanding. Customer needs may shift and they request refunds. Honor your refund or cancelation policies. Some entities in your supply chain may be impacted more than others. Consider online payment methods, live streaming events, and think about how to accommodate and serve during this time. Just remember how you respond in desperate times, leaves a lasting impression.
Communicate. Be open and transparent about how your business is handling the changes. Keep your customers in the loop - email newsletters, updates, post on social, add an info bar to your website. This goes for your employees too - tell them what you've informed your customers so everyone is on the same page, let them know what you are considering (unpaid leave?, telecommute?, etc.), what are their options, and where the company is shifting so they can prepare. Also, your employees see day-to-day operations. Ask them what are the trends and what they have noticed - they may know information that you don't.
Get Creative. "There are no issues, just opportunities." - Laura DiFrancesco. Use this time to get creative, gain perspective, and implement long term goals into your business that you think will make an impact down the road. Think about how you can better serve your customers and pivot your business model to meet their current needs. Entrepreneurs are always evolving, improving and thinking of new ways to generate revenue. THESE ARE YOUR ROOTS, YOU PROBLEM SOLVERS, YOU. Now, go do your thing!
What is Flourish doing?
Let me introduce you to the Flourish Online Community!
I (Lindsay, co-founder here! Hi!) got to thinking about what we can do to support all of the people who are now social distancing, feeling the impact on their business, and missing that sense of community in their daily lives.
WELL, we are taking Laura's words to heart (see quote above) & just announced our online community! Now entrepreneurs, creatives, and leaders in business to connect collaborate and inspire. The idea behind this community is to create a team/company environment for individuals who don't have their own work-family to help them out or cheer them on.
This is a space for questions, thoughts, goals, education, resources, articles, connections, advice, sharing, and support.