COVID-19 has forced many business leaders to adapt quickly or face the end of their company.
But, not all of them are planning for the short and long-term because they think this will be over soon, and life will “go back to normal”.
“Many companies may think this is just a blip to be handled and will be gone soon. Experts are predicting that the restrictions being placed on many businesses beginning to reopen could be in place for 12-18 months. Businesses need to prepare for this to be a long-term shift, and also consider that a scenario like this could happen again when looking at many of their policy changes.” - Rhonda Beard, Bench Builders
The changes taking place due to COVID will leave a lasting impression on the way the world conducts business.
A shift to remote work and employees demanding a better work/life balance is inevitable, and if you don’t prepare now, your company will quickly fall behind.
Keep reading for tips from our experts to help you create and implement a new COVID Company Policy that keeps your business afloat in the short-term and ensures continued growth in the future.
1. Review Your Finances
Analyze your finances to see where you can cut costs to reduce your expenses.
For instance, are there any services you aren’t using, but you’re still paying for them because you forgot to cancel the subscription?
If you can’t figure out who you can contact to cancel it, you can call your bank and ask them to reissue new credit and debit cards. Make sure they give you new numbers and ask them to keep your subscriptions from carrying over.
Then you can add the services you actually need to the new cards, so you aren’t paying for unnecessary subscriptions anymore.
Go through all your expenses line by line and cut your costs as much as you can. Be careful not to cut costs on anything that would inhibit your company from moving forward, however.
Create a backup plan for cash reserves and consider utilizing lines of credit to pad your reserves. Banks don’t like to lend money to businesses that need it, so it’s best to ask for a loan before your business gets into a pinch.
No matter what you do, don’t skimp on labor. Labor is the most important investment for your business.
2. Rethink Your Business Strategy
Rethinking your business strategy is crucial when faced with a crisis situation like we’re in now — thanks to COVID.
Prioritize short-term revenue generators while still planning long-term revenue generators that’ll allow you to stay afloat now, as well as thrive when this is all over.
Your products and services may need to change or be adapted in some way in order to fill the gaps in the current market.
Companies such as Ford have found themselves manufacturing ventilators instead of automobiles in order to survive and fill a need in the market.
Restaurants have quickly pivoted from offering dine-in services to providing contactless deliveries or curbside pickup.
It’s quick thinking like this that will keep your company from going under and enable you to continue paying your workforce.
Plan out the next 12-18 months carefully, and don’t be afraid to bend, break, or reinvent your business model. The rules of the game have changed dramatically, and your company has to change with it.
3. Implement New Remote Work Policies
Have you found your workforce suddenly working from home with little to no time to prepare?
You’ll need to adapt your current policies to align with the new telework taking place. When coming up with your new remote work policies, remember to be flexible.
“Flexibility is key. Employers should design their remote-work policies around outcomes, not processes. That is, employees should be expected to accomplish their goals, but how they do it and when they do should be left up to the employee.” Bench Builders
Please don’t force your employees to clock in and be present on the computer unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s better to allow them to work out a new routine that works best for them because they’re likely more productive.
Being at home with their families means they might be dealing with their spouses and children's schedules, so the normal 9-5 could have them working at the worst times.
Give them the flexibility to decide when to work, but be available to answer questions and help them develop a new routine if they’re struggling to find a healthy work/life balance on their own.
4. Clarify and Change Your Messaging & Marketing
Marketing that you’ve had planned for months might suddenly not be ideal for your customers and what they’re going through.
Many people have found themselves out of work and struggling to survive while waiting on unemployment benefits to kick in or stimulus checks to arrive.
Others are working from home, so they aren’t struggling financially, but they’re quickly becoming bored and isolated.
DigitalMarketer had planned a campaign surrounding the removal of certifications from their digital marketing courses pre-COVID.
When COVID struck, their campaign no longer fit the conversation their customers were having, so they quickly ditched that campaign in favor of offering their courses for free.
The payoff for them was huge. They had 61,469 new students sign up for their courses as of April 3rd, 2020.
Think about what your company can offer to help them through these challenging times, and change your message and marketing to get it to them quickly.
What problems can your company solve for your customers right now while they’re quarantined? What about afterward?
5. Involve Your Workforce in Planning and Discussions
You should utilize your employees when planning your next steps. Their ideas could end up being the exact thing you need to move forward.
Keeping them involved in the planning process helps them feel more confident and secure about their jobs. They know you’re taking the situation seriously so that they can be more confident in your leadership.
“Everybody on our team has personal relationships that they care deeply about, and they’re getting pulled in a lot of different directions. But, again, we’ve got a 30-60 minute meeting every day that just gets everybody really focused in on our highest priorities. Then we talk about what got done the day before and what we’re gonna do today and how that all fits together...” - Doug Keim
Host daily, bi-weekly, or weekly meetings throughout the crisis to keep your employees updated and get their input.
Keeping them involved with frequent meetings allows you to control the spread of misinformation and avoid the rumors that could impact your employee's morale and companies’ reputation, possibly even in the media.
6. Help Your Sales Team Pivot
Your sales team likely pays their bills and survives on their commission more than their base pay.
“This is one of the teams that I worried about. They would all go back to their base pay, which was not enough. They need these commissions in order to make their salaries.” - Donald Miller
Consider adding new products and services that are easier to sell in the current market and have a lower price point so they can continue to make the level of income they have grown accustomed to and need to pay their bills.
Set them up for success by equipping your sales team with new sales materials and make sure they understand the value of your new product or service offers so they can effectively communicate the value to your customers.
“On the sales side, I think the other key was we very quickly clarified our value proposition, and we published sales tools that were designed to pitch quickly and get quick wins. Very quickly, we put sales tools and sales scripts together, so everybody was very, very aligned in terms of the message to the marketplace.” - Doug Keim
Let Us Help You Create a New COVID Company Policy
Many business owners are overwhelmed and struggling to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Mike and Rhonda have been helping these leaders keep their businesses going and strategize for the future.
“One of our clients had to quickly transition from no employees working remotely, to 100% remote. They found several things that were key to a smooth & effective transition — daily 1:1’s, frequent check-ins by managers, regular Zoom Meetings, adding time on the front end to simply catch-up with each other, and recognizing the stress & anxiety employees may be feeling but continuing to provide confidence in their teams that "we've got this."
- Bench Builders
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