The fact is that about half of American businesses are shut down by government order and many that are open are seeing a slowdown in business. AccuNet is considered an essential business because we support the financial systems and networks that keep businesses doing business and allow employees to work from home. Some of our clients are actually booming during this pandemic but most are taking a hit. So what can we do?
- Remember, before the slowdown, finding employees with skills was the main factor impeding growth. Hold on to your employees, build loyalty, and have the resources to do projects that pop up because other businesses are shut down. Be ready when the rest of the economy comes back.
- Pay for this slow time by utilizing the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will pay for 10 weeks of payroll expense and some overhead if you retain employees. Get an application in with an SBA loan provider now! There will be a line and the SBA will be slow to process it.
- Now is the time to train; re-certify; pick up a new products; do in-house system upgrades; automate manual processes; fix and streamline business processes; refresh your website; do market research; clean up mailing lists and marketing lists; call old opportunities; call inactive customers; call lost deals (they may have a new attitude about you now); update your website; publish a newsletter; post articles and uplifting messages on LinkedIn and social media; send out a mailing to customers offering to help and listen; get rid of the junk; clean and organize your office, stockroom, filing cabinets, warehouse, server closet, etc. Do all the things that you were too busy to do during a booming economy.
- Ask employees what is the one thing they would fix about their job or your company’s processes. Weigh all the ideas on ROI, create a budget (although many fixes will cost nothing but time), delegate responsibility and authority, and let the creative people in your company make your business better.
- If your employees have more time, then every customer interaction should be a “10”: fast response and thoughtful and complete execution with follow up and confirmation of resolution. Outstanding customer service now is worth years of loyalty later.
- Ask customers what is one service they wish you offered? Evaluate, prioritize and execute.
You have a huge resource in your people and their excess capacity. How you utilize this resource is one of the few things you can control. As my cross country coach used to say, “You make up the most time on your competitors when you run faster up the hills; everyone runs faster on the down slope.”