“Spring clean” the books. Deactivate old products and services, streamline your chart of accounts and look at each and every expense. Are there things you can cut? Do it now. Are there subscriptions or programs you’re not using that you can temporarily suspend or pause to save for a few months? Can you negotiate a lower rate with a vendor? Remember, you might not be able to control the input right now (revenue) but you do have some control over the output (your expenditures).
You might have a better chance of reaching your customers and getting them to review your business during this time because people everywhere are in the spirit of supporting small business owners. Also, although most people are super busy during the week and juggling kids and work, most people arguably have more downtime on the weekends while in quarantine. Focus on Google reviews first and then look to beef up your Yelp and Facebook reviews. It’s a simple as emailing your top clients and asking them to support your small business by giving you an online review. Or ask them while you’re on the phone with them (tip #3!)
If you’re anything like me, my LinkedIn profile tends to take a backseat to everything else, but it really shouldn’t. Now is a great time to update and enhance your profile – your personal and business page. Make new connections, post some updates, give recommendations and ask others to return the favor.
6. Invest in your employees
They really need you right now. And even if you’re not in a position to support them financially, you can support them by checking in, giving extra encouragement and praise and showing gratitude. Mail a handwritten card, offer optional, online trainings. Perhaps there are webinars you can teach (so you don’t have to spend money on speakers) that could benefit your team.
7. Demo a new CRM.
You’ve heard all about automation technology and the power it has to transform your business. And that’s NO lie. Many platforms offer free trials or demos. Now is a great time to explore new technologies that will help save your business time and money. And just like everyone is adopting puppies right now (because when else are they going to have THIS much time at home), now is the perfect time to do the tedious, all-consuming task of data migration if you do find the perfect software.
8. Re-imagine your service offerings or sales approach.
Never in a million years did I think we would introduce virtual nannies to our service menu, or that families would pay to have someone play with their kids across a computer screen. But COVID-19 has a way of turning the world upside down and your service menu should reflect this new reality. You might be unable to provide services or sell products the way you used to but there must be some way to pivot the way you do business that will create new revenue streams to help get you through this hump. We’ve seen so much awesome ingenuity and creativity among small business owners. A local toy shop owner is hand-delivering ordered toys. Dance schools are teaching classes via Zoom so jazz can be practiced in the living room. Doctors are dabbling in telemedicine for the first time. And you know what? I have a feeling businesses will walk away from this and be forever changed…continuing to integrate these awesome changes and new services!
9. Write standard operating procedures.
The goal of every small business owner – whether you sell cupcakes or provide pool cleaning services – is to create a company that runs without you. Or at least one that is able to run without you. One of the most important things you can do to ensure the long-term success of your business is to have all of your systems and processes written out in a document you might call Standard Operating Procedures
. If heaven forbid, something happens to you, how will your team know what to do? Or, if one day you want to take a 12-week vacation in Tahiti, can you step away without everything falling apart? (Doesn’t that vacation sound super awesome right now?) When you’re holed up at home, it’s time to finally get all those processes you have in place (but only in your head) on paper. Step by step, how do you take an order? Onboard a new client? Bill a client? Hire an employee? There are likely dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of processes you need to document. Take it one at a time. Check out Process Street
. These are great tools to get you started. Oh, and if you don’t believe me when it comes to the importance of this process, read Michael Gerber’s, The E-Myth
10. Refine systems and processes.
Now that you’ve written your processes down, maybe you’re looking at them and realizing that there must be a better, more efficient, cheaper, more effective, more accurate way of doing things. You are refining your systems and processes by taking one at a time and studying it carefully. Is this working? When I factor in the value of my time is this really making me money? Is this way of doing things too slow? Too open for human error? Does it include mundane, repetitive tasks that I could easily delegate to someone else or better yet, automate? If you change the order of things could it make a difference? We recommend putting each step on an index card and moving the cards around so you can visualize the sequence. On the back of the index card you can brainstorm ways to make that particular step in the process better. This is the epitome of working ON your business. This is the important work. If you’ve been doing things the same exact way for three or more years, you’re probably not evolving as you should be.
11. Invest in yourself and your professional development.
Your business should be evolving but so should you. Do some research on the best books for business owners (or ask us for ideas!) and commit to reading 1-3 of them before the quarantine is over or until business picks back up again. Every single time I read a business book, I walk away with a handful of things I want to change about my business. Those action items are added to my to-do list and implemented one by one. So, each book I read, brings me one step closer to reaching my full potential. Knowledge IS power. If books aren’t your thing, there are so many webinars out there that are free or low-cost. Sign up for some and make sure you follow through with your takeaways. We are hosting a 3-part webinar series for nanny agency owners that starts in May. It’s just $60 for all three courses and will help nanny agency owners launch or improve their temp service. Click here