Please don’t waste your time in lockdown. Treat it as an opportunity.
What is the very best use of lockdown time to keep our businesses moving forward?
Answer: Business Continuity Planning – not only with a strong focus on our current market segment, but zooming in on the potential that the crisis is opening up for us in other market segments.
I like to practise what I preach, so here’s how I’ve been developing and fine-tuning my own Business Continuity Planning for Into the Blue Ltd:
As soon as the announcement was made two days before lockdown, I made sure I was fully conversant with the terms of the government’s announcement to allocate an extra $4 million to affected businesses via the Regional Business Partner Network (RBPN). Part of that allocation was to be used to provide FULLY FUNDED BUSINESS ADVISOR support up to $5,000 per business
The categories for which that funding is to be used are:
- Health and Wellness
- Business Continuity Planning
- Finance and Cashflow Management
All of which come under my remit as a Business Advisor
I then registered a Covid-19 service in the RBPN “marketplace” and immediately dispatched an e-mail to my ‘pipeline contacts’ containing details and links on RBPN funding and eligibility, in addition to full information on my newly registered service, “Covid-19 Crisis – Business Support and Continuity Planning Service”. The same detail was posted to my LinkedIn page.
It’s all about keeping on top of a fast changing situation, because excessive demand on the first day of lockdown saw the RBPN drop the fully funded Business Advisor support limit from $5,000 to $2,000 per business. To balance the scales, though, they announced they were happy to move applicants to their pre-existing ‘Business as Usual Co-funding Model’ which funds 50% of the first three months of a registered service up to a maximum of $5,000. And this a model with which I have already had significant experience.
So, I decided to make a special offer to all the struggling businesses out there in the form of a deferred payment plan on my RBPN registered “Business Improvement” service for the first three months.
To get this offer out to as wide an audience as possible, I sent a second e-mail broadcast to my pipeline contacts, updated my LinkedIn page, and, for the first time, updated my Facebook presence.
In addition to the email, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, and with the continuing help and expertise of my magnificent Support Office, I have completely updated my website www.intotheblue.co.nz to reflect the Business Support that I am offering to both my current and potential clients through the Coronavirus /Covid-19 crisis.
At this point, you may well be asking yourself why all this is so important?
Well, it’s because there has been, and will be, a market shift in the support that both clients and potential clients will need from their Business Advisor in the short and middle term.
- Human Resourses (HR)– How do we optimize our workforce (both employees and contractors)? How do we treat that workforce?
- Health and Wellness – Recent experience has taught me that the importance of this often undervalued business advisory service is overlooked at a corporation’s peril – especially during this Covid-19 lockdown period. One very obvious concern is the stress being piled onto borderline workaholic business owners who are currently experiencing severe difficulty dealing with the lockdown and the threat it poses to their lifetime’s work. Another major area of concern is the discomfort that technically inexperienced people find themselves in when forced to work from home and then needing to be walked through initiating technical changes outside of their comfort zones.
- Business Continuity Planning – What is the economic landscape going to look like post lockdown and up to and after border restrictions are lifted? There will be a need to investigate how Covid-19 is going to affect your current market segments and market channels plus potential markets that have been less affected by Covid-19 such as the primary sector.
- Finance and Cashflow Management – This includes keeping on top of often daily updates on what funding and tax relief is being offered by the government, banks and other institutions.
Why was it important for you to read all this? Because, apart from giving you more information on what I am offering, the direction in which I am expending my energy during this difficult period serves as an example that we all must be more proactive, more agile, and more prepared to hit the ground running when the dust has settled.
For example, I have seen countless instances recently of out-of-date or partially completed websites – not a good look, considering your online presence is pretty much all a customer or potential customer has to go on during lockdown. So, now’s the ideal time to do something about it. Start thinking about your marketing strategy post lockdown (which, incidentally, comes under Business Continuity Planning) and update that website (which is yet another service I can offer through my support office).
My message to you is simply this: Please don’t waste the time that you have in lockdown. Treat it as an opportunity. There is a lot to do in order to be prepared for when lockdown finishes and there is government funding to help pay for that help. During the lockdown all support will be by way of telephone and Zoom meetings (which is far superior to Skype, as it allows for the sharing and completion of documents online).