Working Through Covid-19
Though China and other economies are starting to recover, here in the United States, we are still in the midst of a Pandemic. We are facing many uncertainties concerning our economy. COVID-19 is creating a ripple effect that will impact us for some time.
As the COO of Pazos Law Group, I’ve implemented an emergency plan to get us (our team) through the next few weeks as well as a long term strategy to see us through months to come. I asked my team to be adaptable and creative. Our workplace as we knew it 2 weeks ago, is no longer. No matter the industry you are in, the size of your company, this is not the time to stick our heads in the sand and pray for a bailout. Even though the new norm calls for social distancing, ironically we need each other more than ever before. Fortunately, we have the know-how, the ingenuity and technology to keep the world going ‘round. So let’s put our knowledge to work.
“Don’t assume your clients no longer need your services.”
REMOTE WORK SOLUTION
As part of our emergency plans, we immediately implemented a remote work option. Here, at Pazos, we had already tested our remote work equipment and gave it a trial run. Testing our remote equipment / software and making sure our employees were familiar with them, gave us the ability to quickly offer a work-from-home option.
Ask your staff for input. Your employees are versatile and their individual knowledge of tech solutions may surprise you. There are many FREE communication tools that can serve for different purposes (Skype, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts for instance.)
Make sure what deliverables each team member is responsible for completing. Define clear expectations. For example, if team members are to attend a daily tele-conference call, plan on a daily time that works for everyone.
Keep the team motivated by setting aside some time for team building exercises. This website https://www.thegogame.com has fun activities like Head-to-Head Social Games and Buzz In Pub Trivia. Your staff will appreciate the social interaction.
SUSPEND NON-ESSENTIAL BUDGET ALLOWANCE
When planning an Emergency Work-From-Home policy, your last resort should be to layoff team members. I understand that sometimes, it is the only option available to keep your business afloat. Laying off team members affects every part of your business. If possible, ask non vital team members, like contractors, to either cut back hours or simply suspend their services for a while. Be transparent with your staff, contractors, and vendors. You can offer them a small bonus when business is back to normal. You’ve spent months if not years, cultivating these relationships and / or training these people. You want to make sure, they will be there for you, when business picks up again.
I also cut our firm’s monthly budget by reducing our ad spend budget.
Analyse your advertising budget and decide what goes into the essential and wishlist buckets. If spending money on ads is no longer permitted, you can still do some marketing. Get creative. Social Media can be a much cheaper or a free alternative to PPC Campaigns and/or Direct Mailers. Communicate with your customers and offer them different ways to buy from you or use your services. Here at Pazos Law Group, we now offer digital one-on-one consultations with our attorneys. We’ve waived our consultation fees and offer online bookings.
Social media also offers a wealth of information on communicating with clients during these uneasy times. One helpful resource for customer communication is Facebook’s Business Resource Hub, which has guides and tools for customer support and engagement during the coronavirus crisis.
SHIFT YOUR SALES STRATEGY TO ONLINE
If you’re closing your store, find ways to keep your employees earning a paycheck by selling on social media, putting your email list to good use or using a video tool to reach new leads.
PLAN FOR THE LONG-TERM
Now that we have more time on our hands, doing some much needed maintenance , is a good idea. Look at your website. A lot of small businesses no longer have a brick and mortar. Their website is the first impression they give to potential clients. Making your website more user-friendly, amping up your SEO, writing those blogs you’ve put off for months are all good ways to improve your business.
Look back at January and February of this year and decipher the good, bad from the plain ugly.
Grab a whiteboard, and for each area of your business, create three lists:
- What outcomes you want more of (the good)
- What outcomes you want less of (the bad)
- What outcomes you don’t want at all (the ugly)
Keep in mind that things on the “bad” list could turn out positively with some tweaking.
If you do this and set out to accomplish the outcomes from your list, this will make it easy to evaluate whether you fell short or didn’t aim high enough.
Remember, your team needs a leader and you need a team. We’ll get through this together.