Although lockdown may mean that customers cannot visit your store, you can still be productive by building your customer relationships, upskilling your employees, catching up on administration tasks or look at business strategy and optimization task so that you can hit the ground running after lockdown ends.
With the majority of New Zealand businesses unable to open during the COVID-19 crisis it is common for business owners to become disheartened that they are losing precious sales and customers and staff during this time. However, the lockdown doesn’t mean that your business has to cease; rather it can be a good time for you to reflect on different aspects of your business and look at different ways to fine-tune your operations before heading back to work. Here are some quick tips on what you can do to keep your business poised to succeed.
Build upon customer relationships
Your customers are hurting right now and do not really understand what you can do to help them or when you will be up and running again. Keep in touch with them via phone, email or even social media to keep them informed about changes in your business operations and when they can expect to see you fully functioning again.
Some businesses are able to operate online via ecommerce sites offering home delivery solutions. If this is you don’t forget to let your customers know that you are still trading in a different way.
The Regional Business Partner Network has confirmed that they are offering businesses support during COVID-19 in a variety of ways, so visit their website to find out whether your business is eligible.
Develop your internal workforce
Instead of treating the lockdown like a holiday you can upskill your employees in key areas that are strategically valuable to your business. Struggling to understand how to influence your business’s financial position? Take an online course in business administration. Struggling to understand social media? Take an online crash course. Want to understand the marketing numbers provided by Facebook and Google Analytics? Read through the user manuals online.
Just because you are not in a shared location doesn’t mean that you cannot meet up to discuss strategy, tactics and operations. In fact, now is the best time to keep your employees informed about what is happening and how it will affect them. Remember it’s not about having all the answers, but it is about sharing the experience and letting them know they are not alone. Numerous studies (;; ) show that taking a little time to show care and consideration for your employees can boost their motivation and loyalty to your company so don’t give up on your most valuable asset.
Catch up on administrative tasks
It is always important to try and keep on top of things so now is a better time than any to make sure your paper work and accounts are in order. Get in touch with your accountant to ensure everything is up to date.
Review your customer database and confirm you have the correct details, and tidy up your website or social media pages.
Strategize and optimize
Why not take this time to look at your optimize your business. This can take the form of assessing operations and identifying areas where you are not meeting expectations and look at ways of reducing costs. For example, if it necessary to have new customers register using paper forms? Perhaps now is a good time to computerize your registration process to save on printing costs.
Are there new avenues of value that you could offer to your customers? This could come in the form of offering extensions of the current products or services, adding complementary goods or services or entering a new market, although all of these things should be done with caution and consultation.
Why not look at how you can improve your customer’s service and relationship? This could involve exploring new marketing strategies and technologies to help you reach your audience.
No matter where you are or what business you are in, this lockdown has impacted everyone. Now it is important to continue to stay strong, united and keeping your business on its feet.
Kia Kaha New Zealand.
 Omar, M., Jusoff, K., & Hussin, H. (2010). Employee Motivation and Its Impact on Employee Loyalty. (7), 873-873.
 Pepe, M. (2010). The impact of extrinsic motivational dissatisfiers on employee level of job satisfaction and commitment resulting in the intent to turnover. Journal of Business & Economics Research, 8(9), 99-107. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/751427400?accountid=14407
 Park, S., & Rainey, H. G. (2012). Work motivation and social communication among public managers. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(13), 2630-2660. doi:10.1080/09585192.2011.637060