During the housing crisis of 2008/2009, my husband and I were running an architectural marketing company and overnight the phone stopped ringing, emails dried up and clients stopped paying their bills. Our world finds itself in the midst of very uncertain times again, but we survived the 2008 crisis and we can survive this as well.
Below I’ve listed some of the practical things we implemented immediately to protect our business, and these are things you can do as well, no matter the industry you are in.
Sitting around shell shocked and not acting is going to be the thing that kills your business. Take a moment to mourn the business you had and what you may have lost and then pivot and work through all the suggestions I offer below.
Take a full audit of your income and expenses
Taking a full audit of where your income and expenses sit at this moment will give you the easiest way to increase your profit margins and that means cutting out absolutely everything that isn’t necessary. Each company will have a different set of needs and where they sit financially, so it’s important to take stock of what is most important for your company.
Build your email list
No matter what industry you are in, you want to have a way to keep in contact with your loyal customers/clients. If you don’t have one yet, you need to build one. Trying to keep contact with customers only through social media isn’t a viable plan.
Use your downtime wisely
As business owners, we are busy working our businesses and rarely do we get the opportunity to stop long enough to take a true inventory of our business. Really look at what’s working. Is there something that you are holding tight to and in reality, it’s not a successful avenue of income? Are you up to date on your accounting and taxes? Are there services you dream of adding but don’t have the time to implement? What about your website and social media presence? Can you update your website and clean up and create a consistent brand style across all platforms?
Build a side-hustle
Building a side-hustle now may seem like a waste of time as so many are watching their businesses crumble, and many are out of work. That’s just not the case, now is honestly the best time and the reason being you will be filling in the gaps of a new way of life and work. We don’t know how long this will last and waiting around for life to return to normal when the reality is it may never return to the “normal” we knew before.
As you dive into your own business don’t forget to offer support to the businesses around you. We may not be able to help everyone, but we can focus on businesses in our network, or local community and offer up assistance. Trade services to assist each other or share information and ideas for growth. We don’t have to isolate our businesses even if we are isolating ourselves at the moment.
Make a to-do list
Keeping a running list of all the things you want to work on, research and incorporate into your business or side-hustle will give you a place to return to each day for guidance. There are going to be days when it feels overwhelming and you might feel defeated, but that’s the perfect time to return to your list for the next thing to work on. Just keep going.
Emotions are running high. Families are isolated together with partners and kids all underfoot. Finding your space to work will be important if you are working from home but being patient with each other will go a long way. The stress and worry can eat away at you and create tension between relationships, so find your patience and grace.
Take care of yourself
During these uncertain times as you fight for your business don’t forget to take care of yourself. Your health and well-being are a big asset to your company so add a bit of self-care into each day. Drink plenty of water, take a nap occasionally and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Take 30 minutes to an hour in the morning to get your head on straight. Take a walk or workout, eat a healthy breakfast, drink a cup of tea or coffee while you enjoy a good book. Don’t let the stress of business permeate every part of your life.
So, take a deep breath and begin!