Quarantine Part Deux: Small Business Guide for Lockdown
Quarantine Part Deux is here my friends. Many cities, including my own here in Denver, Co., are heading into full lockdown for the second time this year.
For small businesses already treading water from the past nine months, this can feel overwhelming. But here’s the thing my busy business friend, it doesn’t have to be!
Did we see it coming? Most certainly! Does that mean it’s any easier? F@%K No!
The silver lining is this…. Quarantine Part Deux was inevitable, except this time we have the experience to look back on.
In this blog, we are going to use the data we have from last time and use it to work through
- How to Manage Your Revenue Streams
- What Are the Logistics Going To Look Like
- And What the Bigger Picture is through Quarantine Part Deux!
Typically, as business owners, we usually spend this time of the year looking ahead to the upcoming year to create goals, budgets, and targets. However, considering what the last nine months have looked like, it all feels a bit pointless
Moving forward, “Lockdowns” and “Quarantine” are now apart of how our culture will respond to threatening events. As a small business owner, you will need to be prepared.
Even with uncertainty being ever so present, we can still create a basic structure that allows us to step through our business being forcibly shut down, preventing your customers to come into our physical business.
So the first thing we are going to do is to take a hard look at our revenue streams.
Look at what happened with your sales back in the spring of 2020. Even if you made nothing, this is a judgment-free space and that information can be used for the coming weeks.
So what are you thinking in terms of sales?
If you are thinking “zero”, it is going to absolutely inform you what to do with your business over the next couple of weeks, if not months.
I have a feeling it’s a bit more than zero because if you are reading this, you are in business, and you’re trying to figure it out.
- What Does Potential Revenue Look Like?
- What Are Your Absolute Existing Expenses
(i.e. Payroll, contractors, rent, utilities)
In the spring of 2020, what did money “in” look like (3 months’ worth of data is great!)? What is money “out” as of now?
Now, with that information, we can start to figure out what our acceptable minimums are, our baseline of operations are.
If you made zero money for three months, you may need to take a closer look at closing down. Maybe just over the holidays, or a couple of days out of the week.
Perhaps even drop a few of your services, products, and or offerings. Find out what payments can be deferred by working with your vendors about what they can expect from you.
When we take this step, we start to create a sustainable expectation of money in and money out. Not just for global pandemics, but for any of the challenges that small business owners are faced with every day.
Have a Communication Plan
I am a huge believer in invest first and most in your existing business.
Firstly, you need to decide what you are going to say to your existing customers and buyers.
Start with your Values (Click here to learn how to find your values) to create the vision that you will be sharing with them.
- What is going to be happening over the next few weeks?
- How are you going to be servicings your business?
- Explain to your customers and buyers how they can support you.
- Let them know what their support is doing.
- Personalize their support.
- Share who your employees are that are going to stay with you.
- Let them know what expenses your business is trying to get through over these next couple of months.
- Let your customers know how their investment is a ripple effect for you, their community, the local economy, for the individuals that work for you.
This creates loyalty and values that you will be able to count on their business.
Finally, finish up with some gratitude and a promise to help your people feel safe.
Once you have a solid external communication plan, it’s time to turn internally to your vendors, employees, the family and let them know what they can expect from you over the next couple of weeks.
Now that you have a basic understanding of your revenue (Money In & Money Out), that will enable you to figure out the acceptable minimum is, from there, develop a communication plan.
From here, let’s step into the nitty-gritty of logistics……..
The Logistics: What Is It Going To Look Like?
Now it’s time to start putting together a picture of the logistics and what it all is going to look like
- What are your opening hours going to be?
- What are your office hours going to look like?
- Who is going to stay on staff?
- Ask your people if they would prefer to get support or a paycheck during this time?
You may not be able to keep everyone employed during this time. You may have to furlough your people (a promise of employment when things are back on track)
As the business owner, you can completely make those choices alone, but when you bring your people in during those decision-making processes, you’re going to get a lot more information to make better decisions.
Have that conversation with those that you need to make payments to as well.
If you are depending on certain particular service providers for your business, what are they going to be doing over these next few weeks?
This is going to impact your:
- Customer service
- How you are doing business.
Ask your people what they are doing during the holiday to gauge what the pace will be during this time.
Understanding Your Timeline
How is your client deliverables going to be affected?
What can people expect in terms of turn around time, communication, bigger projects that we’ve been working on?
Now we need to prioritize what’s going to be most important.
Determine what it is you need from the information that you have gathered.
Now you can create a plan and some clarity for the next six weeks. Once you have done that, you can create space for bigger term planning.
Dial it back. Get through November, work out December, and potential January.
The Bigger Picture
Once you have created a secured plan for the next few weeks, take a step back.
Think about this time in 2021.
Get to a place of neutrality and think about, what it is that you want to say that you have done in your business, life, values by November 2021?
What do you want to be able to say that you achieved?
From there, what is going to change in your business? What are you no longer doing? Either by choice or not.
When you can take all of these things into context, what is the result? What have you created?
What new things are we calling in?
This is a creative process
Planning for the bigger picture requires imagination and creativity. That’s why I stress that you come to this point in complete neutrality.
Once you do arrive, you may feel freaked out and it’s going to impact your ability to be neutral for this creative process. Leave and come back later.
When you do and you have built out a truly inspiring and impact vision for next year, break it up into:
Quarterly Milestones / Monthly Focal Points
Once we do start to normalize these open shut societal patterns (because history repeats itself) you will be able to do your best.
And as always, I am here to talk you through the overwhelm.
Please reach out and let me work with you to break it down into bite-sized pieces so that you can actually digest each crucial step and create a holistic, nutritional plan for your business.