Lockdowns, social distancing and staying home have been the new normal for nearly a month now – and the impact on business has been significant. Entire business sectors, such as the arts and events, have disappeared overnight. Other sectors, like online video platforms, have had to adapt to rapid growth in demand.
Many small businesses sit in between these two extremes. Whilst it is hard to comprehend in the current circumstances, business will get through this pandemic. This is a time to be flexible, adapt to change, and prepare for recovery. IPS are working with small businesses within the Indigenous business sector through our various projects around the country. Here’s our seven top tips for businesses as we continue through these uncertain times:
Communicate - Talk to your customers. Focus on the relationships you have established with them. Listen - it can help you understand how things have changed for your customers and what you can do differently to help them.
Collaborate – explore partnership opportunities with other businesses, ask whether you can work together to give customers new products or services, or package things in a new way. Buying from each other can also help in a small way to keep the wheels turning.
Pivot your business model – explore ways to do things differently. If you have a shop front, how can you join the online, e-commerce world? Explore all the ways you can deliver your product or service using a new or innovative business model.
Analyse - Keep an eye on all government (federal and state) stimulus package offerings and re-evaluate cashflow forecasts.
Continue marketing - There’s strong evidence that businesses that focus on marketing during times of crisis emerge stronger and with greater customer loyalty. Through your social media and newsletters, let everyone know what you're up to, and how you're adjusting to changing circumstances. This takes them on the journey with you and keeps you visible in preparation for the recovery period.
Community - Build a strong support network: a good leader/manager needs an environment of advice, shoulders to lean on, and ears to listen. Managing personal wellbeing with business sustainability is critical - you cannot give from an empty cup.
Practice Self-Care – although you might not think it’s relevant to your business, it is incredibly important that you’re looking after yourself during this time. Ambiguous and uncertain times can create anxiety, pressure and a lack of hope about the future. Taking time in your day to care for yourself both physically and mentally can help support your resilience. Going for a walk, doing some exercise, meditating, reading a good book, having a bath or cooking your favourite meal - whatever works for you, you should definitely do it.