PART 1

The SARS-CoV-2 aka COVID-19 and You

There is no way we can disconnect from the reality that the COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic and it’s impacting the life of the world’s population now and will reshape our future, whether we like it or not.

To support you during this time, I created some tips to help you navigate this “emergency”.

To make things easy, I’ve divided this into 3 parts. Part 1 is about the day-to-day impact, Part 2 is about how to minimise the impact and Part 3 is about gaining a sense of certainty and being prepared for once the “emergency” is over.

As you know, only time will tell when we will be out of this situation. It seems that it can last through to mid-April or longer. Now is the time to start to reassess what you have been doing and to turn things around to ensure future sustainability.

Is COVID-19 Changing the Way We Do Things?

Absolutely. It has and it will. This is why I want to explore how COVID-19 is changing the way we do things.

In case you’d like to know more, there are many sources of information you can follow to have data about the virus and how it’s impacting world’s health, one that I found quite interesting (although a bit scary) is Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now by Tomas Pueyo, which contains lots of data on the pandemic and how it evolves, or you can visit Avi Schiffmann’s website, a 17-year old American who created it at the end of December, when information available was confusing and which is constantly updated.

With many cities around the world calling for lockdown and with many companies asking their staff to work from home, there is a new reality unfolding in front of us, which till a few days or weeks ago, we only thought of as a remote future possibility. 

But, what comes with it?

There are and will be many consequences, both positive and negative that will come from this so-called “emergency”. It will impact our habits, the way we work, the way we socialize, I would even say it would impact our spending habits.

There are different opinions on this regard, some people say that this is the breaking point that will help a new economic model to emerge faster (it’s doing it slowly); others that it might contribute to making us more socially isolated.

I like to think that yes, this “emergency” will accelerate a change in the global economy to begin to downsize areas or business styles that are simply unsustainable and let sprout a more sustainable economy, giving small business and entrepreneurs the opportunity to play a more protagonistic role, as we move towards a new economic paradigm.

What does the lockdown mean for solopreneurs and small business owners?

Well, maybe you and your business team are already working from home since day one, as you provide online services, so for you, the main change is that you have your whole troop, aka, your children and spouse at home, making it harder for you to maintain your working schedules,  routines, and productivity.

But, for other businesses like restaurants, retail shops or neighborhood stores locking down means no clients visiting their premises, therefore none or minimal income which might threaten the future of the business.

If you’re in this kind of business, you probably need to review your business model, exercise your creativity and identify opportunities for new income sources; but also find out what are the lessons from this “emergency”, how you as a person and business owner can get stronger from this experience, including how to become a successful entrepreneur in times of uncertainty.

Do you have a Crisis Management Plan or have you thought of having one?

The response to this question most probably is NO, as research shows that small and family-owned businesses hardly have ever thought they would need a Crisis Management Plan (CMP) or believe that this kind of system only applies to big corporations.

 There isn’t much information easily available online on preparing CMPs for small businesses; however, in the blog of eggmarketingpr.com, I found this interesting article Crisis Management Tips for Small Business Owners with tips, which I summarise below. Although the plan should be created before the crisis hits, it is never too late to learn and perhaps you still can use them now.

  • Keep a positive mindset. Plan your business in an ethical manner, so you gain the trust of subscribers and clients. Drive inspiration from your organizational mission and vision statements.
  • Admit you have a problem. You can’t deal with it effectively without admitting your business has been hit by a problem. Also bear in mind that despite the nature of the problem that has hit your business, you have the capacity to drive it out of the crisis.
  • Reconnect with your core values. Reconnecting with your core values is key to avoid making wrong decisions. Having a clear vision and core values will help you run your business ethically, despite the issues it might be facing.
  • Reduce your expenses. Try to minimize or cut your expenses low, you also can cut or postpone projects that suck lots of money from your budget, with little or no profit. If it breaks even or is profitable, focus on a 20% general expense cut; but if it´s unprofitable or pre-revenue, aim for a 25% expense cut.
  • Survey your team for talent. Could you re-organise your team to increase productivity without having yet to let go of some of them? If you need to dismiss some of them, which criteria would you use or what options do you have?
  • Find external help when needed. If your business is hit by a crisis, you need to seek help from professionals with immediate effect, especially in the areas where you lack the required skill to resolve the crisis, and the sooner you do it the better. 
  • Be ready to learn. Every crisis is an opportunity for you to get out of your comfort zone, come up with new solutions and amplify your skills. Think proactively and strategically and you’ll become a leader that controls circumstances and not the other way around.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll explore options to make the best out of the lockdown, minimising its negative impact on you and your business.