We’re in an unprecedented time right now with Coronavirus impacting many of you both personally and professionally. For small business owners, even small ripples can have a big impact. These impacts are being felt already with travel precautions in place, large scale events being canceled and supply chains being affected.
In times like these that we realise how small the world really is, and how deeply we depend on one another. We’ll all need to make sacrifices, and for the good of humanity they’ll hardly seem significant in the long term.
Today I wanted to share some advice and recommendations specific to you as a business owner for both your mental and business health. Both of these need an equal seat at the table with washing your hands if we’re to survive and even thrive through this experience.
Here’s what you can do today:
1. Understand what you can control, and what you can’t control
There is a lot of information and misinformation being distributed right now, and much of what is happening it is either out of our control or completely unknown at this stage. If you’ve found yourself glued to your News app you know what I’m talking about. At this point, a powerful choice is to focus on the things you can control. This may include getting backup plans in place, social distancing, or ensuring that your loved ones, community and neighbors have the support they need for now and the next few weeks in particular. Right now, it is more important than ever to be present in the moment, and park what you don’t have control over – it will worry you endlessly and unnecessarily at this point.
2. Draw up a ‘Best Case Scenario’ and a ‘Worst Case Scenario’ for your business
The absolutely worst thing in a small business is a surprise, particularly the ones that have a negative financial impact. At this point we don’t fully understand the breadth or depth of this situation, so it’s worthwhile taking the time now to contemplate both. With the strong measures being put in place daily, there is the hope and possibility that Coronavirus will be under control or at least slowed in the near future. Simultaneously it could have an incredibly large impact on all of us. Work through both scenarios and get a plan in place for both. Having this plan will help you sleep easier at night and put you in a proactive position moving forward.
3. Enable your employees to work from home
We’ve loved remote working forever, and this might be just the time for you to try it out. All the systems exist to support you and your employees to do this with some of our most frequently tools including Gsuite for emails and file storage, Zoom for team meetings and service delivery, and Monday.com for Project Management. If you have a larger team I had a great conversation with both Brooke Franklin GM of TOM Organic and Tim Baxter Marketing Manager for Who Gives a Crap on my podcast One Wild Ride on how they make this work for their teams. Some of their top tips included set days and times for the whole team to be available for meetings, distinctive boundaries around ‘off-work’ times, and Slack as a tool to facilitate communication. Take a listen here.
4. Check on what the ATO is doing to support you
These guys are stepping up to the plate big time. If you’re being affected by Coronavirus be sure to contact them, and they’ll work with you to tailor a support plan. You can see a full list of the help available on their website here Some of the highlights include: deferring your BAS payments, reporting GST monthly instead of quarterly (to access gst owed quicker), and allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. If you’re reading this email it’s worth your while absolutely checking out the ATO website, and then speaking with your Accountant about which benefits you’re eligible for.
5. Keep your community informed
Over the last few days I’ve seen global communications come out of AirBnb, Google, Qantas, Virgin, All Birds, Patagonia, Who Gives a Crap and many others. They’re all keeping their customers and clients informed on changes as they happen, as well potential changes before they happen. As mentioned earlier, unless it’s your birthday, no-one likes a surprise. Keep your community informed and ahead of the game, they’ll thank you.
6. Be flexible
Whether it’s with your travel plans, delivery of goods, or expectations of services, maintain an open mind and a flexible approach in that for a little while things may take a little longer than usual. It’s ok. Take a breath, and high five your fellow business owner in the understanding that everyone’s situation is out of the ordinary right now.
7. Where possible, maintain your commitments
The next few weeks are going to be tougher than normal for everyone, and especially small business owners. It’s more important right now than ever to maintain your commitments where possible, to continue to support fellow small businesses during this time. This might be maintaining your regular gym membership, physio appointments, online program, and numerous other goods and service providers. This time will pass, and our ongoing financial commitments will be key to the survival of many small businesses.
8. Have a creative brainstorm with your team
It’s almost certain that we’ll all be affected in one-way or another. In times of adversity and change the greatest innovations can occur. If you’ve got team get their brains to work and brainstorm potential new products, services or solutions. Even if you don’t have a team, grab some fellow business owners and use this as an opportunity to pivot and grow. Honestly, Warren Buffet will somehow make a fortune out of this, so challenge yourself to creatively innovate now too.
9. Be kind
Got spare loo paper? Give it to your neighbour with 4 kids. Have you checked on your elderly neighbour this week? Have you asked your fellow business owners if they need help, either physically, mentally, or emotionally? Make it your mission in times like these to get extra kind. Global pandemic or not, the world needs more kindness, always.
10. Stay positive
Yep, I said it. Already in Australia this year we’ve seen raging bushfires, followed by all-encompassing floods and raging storms, and now Coronavirus. While each have had a significant impact on all of us, what has shone through is care, kindness and compassion. We have experienced it collectively as a national community, and now we face this next challenge on a local, national and international playing field. Imagine if we met this with as much compassion as we have our previous challenges of this year. It would be amazing.
If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that Business Owners are some of the most resilient people I know. Out of challenges times emerges innovation, creativity, compassion and community.
Support is everything right now.
Be sure to take care of yourself, and one another out there.
Pru and the OC team x