I’m Tina Dulieu and as a business growth strategist and founder of Coaching Dynamics, I’ve been involved in businesses of all kinds and sizes for many years both as a director and advisor, and I thought would share a few strategies with you today that may be useful.
The lock down and social distancing due to Coronavirus has turned our lives upside down and put us all in a position we could ever have envisaged in our wildest dreams. It has had a detrimental effect on many businesses and the past few weeks has been about doing as much damage limitation as possible. Fire-fighting to close premises or arranging social distancing measures if open, setting up home working for appropriate staff, keeping clients in the loop and keep them on board, making decisions on furloughing staff, applying for Government grants and assistance, contacting banks and suppliers.
The situation businesses find themselves in is unprecedented but possibly not insurmountable. The key is in turning these obstacles and challenges into opportunities. It is an opportunity to review your business, your staff roles and teams, your processes and, most importantly, the strategy for your business for when things return to normal trading... and they will.
Here are some practical strategies for you to consider and implement, as appropriate for your own business:
The gift of a Round Tuit
There is a time-management prioritisation matrix I use that matches Urgent/Not Urgent tasks with Important/Not Important tasks that looks like this:
If, in pre-Covid19 times, you had filled this out with all the tasks you wanted to achieve over the next month, most likely the following would have happened:
a) All the tasks in the Urgent and High Importance group of tasks would have been done, due to the very nature of the fact that they are urgent and highly important and would generally have been planned in advanced. I call these the ‘Proactive Red Tasks’. These are the necessities of business life that keep the wheels churning.
b) All the tasks in Urgent but Low Importance box are usually tasks that are urgent to others but not
necessarily as important to you. However, they get done because they are the reactive tasks that shout the loudest, the firefighting tasks and the tasks where others put pressure on you to get them done. I call these the ‘Reactive Green Tasks’.
c) Now, the tasks in the Not Urgent but High Importance group are often the strategic tasks for the business that you plan and truly mean to do because they are important for business development and growth, but they get pushed back by the Red and Green tasks that are ‘urgent’. I call these the ‘Proactive Amber Tasks’ because these are highly important for the business. Amber tasks are often put off due to firefighting. Today I, and Covid-19, are giving you the gift of a Round Tuit! This allows you to now take the time to think about, strategise, plan and action, all the tasks that you meant to do but didn’t get ‘round to it’!
So, what tasks are, or could be, in your Amber Tasks lists of high importance? How is the time to take the opportunity to do them! Here are some suggestions:
Review all the processes and systems in your business.
- Are there certain processes to the way you work or deliver your services that you’ve been meaning to document and implement?
- Are your staff compliant with the way that the business runs and do you need to do virtual training sessions? Training can be given even if they are furloughed. Zoom is a great platform for this and I have been delivering management training sessions on it, you can see everyone and screen share documents and PowerPoint.
- How about your accounting systems, do they give you what you need? Perhaps now is the time to investigate and watch tutorials. There are many out there, personally I am a fan of Xero.
- Is now the time to get your team to write that Operations Manual you’ve been intending to do for ages?
- What other systems have you been meaning to look into? Now is the time.
Communication. Who could you communicate better with and what messages do you want to get across? Keeping in touch with your clients and customers is paramount at this time.
- What new or recent services, products or features have you been meaning to better advise your clientele about and encourage them to use either for now or when you re-open?
- Could you do a survey of your customers or clients to find out what services or products they would like to see for the future, or to ask for specific information on your services or products. Survey Monkey is a great platform to do this.
- Could you write blogs for your website or social media to communicate with others and make new connections too? Could you record videos?
- Use virtual video conferencing to see and speak to your clients.
- Communicate with your suppliers of physical items, are they doing any deals at the moment? They want to keep their customers too.
Take time to really strategise for your business.
- Your business has undoubtedly taken a hit; what are your new targets for each quarter in terms of number of customers or clients, staff you employ, outgoings? It is important to do a cash flow forecast.
- Have you read up on and applied for all applicable Government grants and help there is? Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
- Do a GAP analysis on your services. In other words, list what is available, who and how many of your clients or customers use those offerings, what is most popular, what is least popular and analyse why. How can you encourage more up-take from current customers? Are they all aware of everything that is available?
- Do a Role Mindmap for yourself and your team members – here’s an example of a MD’s role mindmap:
- What responsibilities do you want to reallocate? You could do one for each person or the group. What are the things that ‘only you can do’ as the business owner? Do you focus on them? You can hand draw Mindmaps and use them for anything to want to map out or think through, that’s how I always start my through processes. This one was done on lucidchart.com
Opportunity No. 4:
Have a brain-storming session with your team or partners, always an inspiring thing to do. What else can you do? I am sure your list could be very long! Whatever you choose to do, ensure you are proactive, excited and resourceful. You will then keep your customers, keep positive and, most of all, ensure that you have a business to come back to!
I hope it has been useful to do some reflection on opportunities for your business. Do let me know what strategies you’ve been engaging in that have kept you motivated.
If you’d like to chat with me further, you’ll find my contact details here on my website or message me on LinkedIn.
Keep proactive, innovative, inspired and, most of all, stay safe!