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How We Are Operating During the Coronavirus Outbreak – Plus 10 Tips for Businesses During the Pandemic

March 18, 2020
During the outbreak
 
Our Service & Our Team
 
Our team have been fully equipped to work from home for a number of years now and we are thankful that we are able to provide an uninterrupted service during the current Coronavirus outbreak.
 
We continue to be fully operational and working as hard as ever to ensure we are helping our clients businesses to be as visible as possible online at the same time as ensuring we follow all advice and guidelines in relation to protecting our team and the wider community.
 
During this time our staff are mostly working from home and we are conducting client meetings via video conferencing rather than face to face. 
 
As most of our team are no longer in the same office, we now have two dedicated staff members answering incoming phone calls who are coordinating the appropriate member of our team to return calls promptly.
 
Our team are communicating with each other via our internal live chat and video systems and we are holding whole team meetings twice daily to ensure the well-being of our staff during this challenging time.
 
We are here to help your business through this difficult period and will continue to work hard to achieve the very best results throughout.
 
10 Tips for Businesses During the Coronavirus Outbreak
 
There is no doubt that this is a worrying time for business owners and employees. The uncertainty and restrictions around Coronavirus have already caused a number of businesses to see dramatic reductions in turnover and it is important for Directors and owners to take steps to adapt to the situation where possible, below are some helpful tips and advice.
 
If you want to talk to us about any further help you might need during the outbreak, please get in touch by email or phone. We are here to help.
 
1) Identify the threats to your business – Some businesses will be impacted harder than others, take the time to identify where the threats exist for your company and put some time into addressing how you may be able to reduce them.
 
For example, if you run yoga classes and your class members can no longer visit your premises, can you start offering classes via video online? You could also consider recording each video class and then packaging them up as a bundle for customers to pay to access online.
 
2) Identify the opportunities – We are not suggesting taking advantage of the situation here, but the Coronavirus outbreak may bring about a range of opportunities for businesses to change by exploring new markets, new ways of operating and adapting.
 
For example, if you pay rent for an office you may find that the home-working exercise is something you can continue longer term and consider cutting rental expenses in the future.
 
Or, if you run a restaurant and customers stop visiting you could consider offering food delivery instead.
 
Many businesses are seeing the current situation as an opportunity to move more of their sales channels online.
 
3) Loyalty – Many businesses will be anxious about a drop in customers causing a loss of revenue. It may be worth asking your loyal customers to help you out, this may be a sensible option if your business relies on a recurring payment model. Many customers will be understanding and will want to pull together to help the businesses they value, so don’t be afraid to ask.
 
Below is an example template of a ‘loyalty’ email we created to a customer of a gym that relies on month by month pay as you go membership:
 
Dear Customer
 
During the current Coronavirus outbreak we have been forced to close our gym. This has obviously resulted in a dramatic loss of income for the business and has left us fearful about the future and we are keen to protect our staff and ensure the gym is still here for everyone to enjoy when we come out of the current crisis.
 
We rely on our members monthly subscription payments to survive, without these we doubt we will be able to reopen after the forced closure.
 
I am therefore reaching out to our loyal members in the hope that they will support us through this challenging time, if we can all pull together then we can ensure the gym will be here for everyone to continue to enjoy for the long term.
 
I am asking for our members to continue paying their monthly subscriptions while we are closed, this will ensure we stay afloat. I hope you will be willing to help us, all payments made will be held as a credit and offset against future monthly fees, but we need to ensure we have them coming in during this very challenging period to be sure we all get through it together.
 
For any members who continue their monthly payments we will be offering three weekly one-hour group personal training classes via live video which you can join from home.
 
I hope you understand that this is a request I would never usually make, but we are faced with exceptional circumstances and knowing how much our members love the gym I am sure we all want to ensure it survives and continues to thrive long into the future.
 
Thank you for considering this and I hope I can count on your support.
 
4) Review your expenses and forecasts – Now is the time to go through all your business outgoings with a fine tooth-comb, take a look at what you might be able to reduce or cut back on. However, do bear in mind, that you might be harming a fellow small business if you start cancelling services, it is far better to approach the supplier and ask them what they can do to help during the Coronavirus outbreak.
 
It also makes sense to take a look at your projections and forecasts to ensure you have the best and worst case scenarios planned. You should ensure that you know in advance what you need to do at specific points in time. It is a fact that when we have a plan in place we feel significantly less anxious when faced with an uncomfortable situation. 
 
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help – If you have found that your revenue has been impacted by Coronavirus don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. As well as analysing your expenses and approaching suppliers for help, there are currently low interest rate loans, tax payment deferrals and business rate holidays available to assist businesses in staying afloat.
 
If you rent premises you may also find that landlords are open to giving you rental holidays and other service providers to your company may well do the same if you approach them.
 
Take the time to review all your outgoings and commitments and come up with an action plan.
 
6) Check your insurance – If you have business interruption insurance you should check your policy to see if you have cover during a pandemic, many policies exclude this, but do check it anyway.
 
7) Look after your staff – If you have staff and they are working remotely make sure you stay in regular contact with them and check on their overall well-being. Feeling isolated when working from home can be harmful to mental health and lead to people having heightened anxiety through feeling disconnected.
 
We have implemented two video team meetings daily with our staff and also hold regular one to one video calls with team members to ensure they are happy and to address any concerns, worries or issues.
 
The best free video chat services for business are:
 
Zoom Video Conferencing
Google Hangouts Video
Skype Video
Facebook Messenger Video 
 
It also makes sense to have a live chat system in place for your team or a Whats App group chat. Ensuring smooth communication channels while staff work remotely is crucial to maintaining excellent service and staff morale. 
 
If any staff become unwell or need to self-isolate, make sure they have support around them and if possible, offer to help with the provision of essential items.
 
8) Pay it forward – Consider how you can help other businesses or members of the community during the Coronavirus outbreak. You may want to think about offering reduced costs or deferred payments to anyone who is struggling, the ability to do this obviously varies from business to business but this is a time when we should all be helping each other and playing our part.
 
9)  Share the message – Take the time to encourage fellow businesses, staff and customers to continue to support the services they love during the difficult period we are all faced with. This could be through buying gift cards, maintaining recurring payments, giving tips or just helping out by giving something back. The more we all pull together, the easier it will be for businesses to survive and get through this intact.
 
10) Don’t panic buy – Even businesses are panic buying, there have been huge increases in orders of industrial hand sanitiser for offices, cleaning products and toilet roll. If we all stick to our usual buying patterns we will reduce the strain and prevent those who need the items most from missing out.
 
We are committed to helping our staff, clients and the community during this challenging time, if you would like to speak to us to discuss any concerns don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01252 329160 or by email to info@total-seo.co.uk

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