Updated: May 1
According to a Goldman Sachs survey carried out in March 2020 51% of business owners said they would only be able to operate for another 0-3 months because of Covid.
With that in mind how have the last 7 months been for you and your business? Have you radically changed the way you work and your business structure? How has that gone?
There’s been huge change over the last 7 months and I know the companies and business owners I work with have had to completely overhaul a lot of the way that they work but they’re starting to thrive now because they’re adapting to the new way of working and thinking outside of the box at things that they might never have even entertained before the pandemic.
For some businesses the pandemic was the worst thing that could ever have happened, they were smashing it before it hit and weren’t prepared for anything like this to happen and when it did it completely knocked the business owners for six and for some other businesses the pandemic is the best thing that ever happened as they have used it to grow, change and improve their businesses. Which one are you? Are you smashing it more now than you thought you would when you first got the news we were being put into lockdown, staff had to work from home IF they could work from home and the whole world was changing? Or did that happening really hit you and you’re struggling to adapt? There is no right or wrong for this, we are all human and for business owners especially owners of small to medium businesses who are carrying all of the responsibility themselves it was a HUGE shock and change to go through.
I wanted to share 5 tips that I have used with companies and business owners that I work with that could help you and your business during this change. I follow the 5 values of A.M.O.U.R with these:
A – LOVE YOURSELF:
Be kind to yourself, if you are the sole Director/Owner and you run the business by yourself and have staff looking to you for the answers this is the toughest most stressful thing that could have happened and for some people it’s so much easier to focus on what you think you should be doing and what you’re not doing and everything you’re doing wrong instead of focusing on the massive achievements you have conquered since the pandemic hit.
In the Goldman Sachs survey that was carried out at the beginning of this pandemic, 75% of business owners said their sales had been impacted and on top of that the new legislative changes that came in overnight and seemed to change by the minute for you as a business owner it was and is A LOT to deal with!
Are you working with a coach to keep you motivated and focused and putting plans in place that you can use in your business? In a survey done by The Angel Advisors in Australia in October 2019 it showed that 12% of business owners surveyed said that they confided in their coach more than anyone else as coaching is a completely confidential and non-judgement space that survey also found that 70% accepted that business coaching is “very valuable”, 57.1% said that it lowered their feelings of anxiety (could you do with that at the moment with everything going on?), 62.4% said that they developed a more intelligent goal setting and 25.7% said that it had generated more salary (income).
So the A in A.M.O.U.R stands for love yourself, if you’re not already doing this stop and appreciate how much you as a business owner have done and achieved over the last 5 months during a time that not one of us has ever lived through.
M – MOTIVATION
Have you been motivated throughout lockdown or has it been up and down or have you found it really challenging?
In the Goldman Sachs survey that was carried out at the beginning of the pandemic about working at home a whopping 53% said their employees did not have the telecommunications to work from home so for you as a business owner this was then an additional cost to your business to get them set up working from home so that your business could continue running and additional stress for your employees worrying about job security if they couldn’t get everything up and running so they could work remotely and all of this overnight while the country was in lockdown and all services were running on skeleton!
With that in mind, now 7 months in, how are your employees doing working from home? Have you set up systems where you’re checking in with them? Do you have a plan that you’re working with where your employees are supported either by you or your HR team or their managers and if their managers are supporting them are you there to support your managers?
Do you have a plan in place that you’re using to keep your employees motivated even when working at home? Are your employees more productive with the new way of working or less productive? If they are less productive have you looked at ways to get them motivated and working more productively?
Going from working in an office together to overnight being told to work from home remotely was really challenging for everyone. For parents especially when all of a sudden they were working from home trying to focus on work and looking after and home schooling their children.
Your employees are the people that you need to be the most motivated as they often times are the face of your company so if you are feeling motivated and you’re feeling positive and excited about the changes that you are making in your business this will then feed down to your employees but if you’re feeling the opposite this will also feed down to your employees. There have been a lot of surveys that have shown a high percentage of employees are struggling with the new way of working and don’t feel supported by their employers (keeping in mind my first point that the business owners are now juggling things that they had not had a chance to prepare for on top of trying to support their employees and how they are coping) so by having a clear plan in place and working with your employees to find out what support they need it can take that pressure off all of you.
Keeping your employees up to date on the changes that you are making and how it is going to work and what part they play in that (do your sales team have clear guidelines of what you are selling and how your products/services are being delivered remotely now and are your customer services team up to date on any delivery delays, or changes to the way you were working previously so when your customers call they are up to date on what is going on and fully able to look after your customers?) can make them feel supported, involved and most importantly MOTIVATED! Happy employees talking to your customers will positively impact your company compared to scared, unmotivated and unhappy employees speaking to your customers.
O - OPPORTUNITY
This is the biggest one for business sustainability! Are you looking for new business opportunities? Have you updated and changed the way you are looking at opportunities for your business? Are you looking at different ways of growing your business in the new world that we are living in?
Are you taking all new opportunities by the horns so to speak and looking at if they work within your business’ vision and values? Are you creating new opportunities for your business? Have you had to completely change your original business plan that you might have been working with since you went into business and radically change the way your business works? Do you have a clear business plan? If you don’t now is a great time to sit down and do it, what is your vision for your business? WHY are you in business? What value do you add to your customers? Why should people work with you and not someone else? Who is your ideal client? Has that changed or evolved now due to the pandemic or are you still working with your original ideal client? If so how has their lives changed? How can give value to them?
U - UNDERSTANDING
Do you understand your cash flow? (you would be surprised the amount of business owners that don’t and think you need a degree in accounting to understand this when that’s not true if you have a clear understandable cash flow and budget)
How often have you visited your cash flow since the pandemic started? Do you have a clear cash flow in place that you are using to forecast and monitor your sales and spending? (And using to plan different scenarios?) Have you been through your current and historic cash flow to look at where you can make savings? Are there things that your business is paying for each month that you don’t really need? Are there opportunities that could increase your sales and you have a budget showing what the cost will be to set it up compared to the sales that you predict it could make so that you understand the risk involved before going ahead with new ideas and making sure that the new sales opportunities are profitable before going ahead with them? (if you don't have a cash flow and you would like an easy template to start with that you can adapt to you I have created some templates here)
Have you received the grants that you are entitled to? Have you received the funding that you are entitled to? If you need to have you looked into the loans that are available throughout the lockdown? In the survey that was done 67% of people surveyed said that they were uncertain about how to access and apply for emergency funding and grants, was this you? Did you have a conversation with your Accountant or Bookkeeper? Or if you have a Financial Coach is it something that you explored together so when you had the conversation with your accounts person you knew what you were asking for?
I have worked with businesses in the past that previous to working with me just wanted the headlines and had never wondered about how the figures came together and when budgeting pulled figures out the sky with no plan in place on how to hit those targets or if the costs being budgeted were realistic to the sales that were being predicted. By having a full understanding of your business budgets when you are creating your budgets, especially in the world we are living in at the moment, you can then use those budgets and cash flow forecasts alongside your goals and plans for your business. If you have clear goals on where you want to take your business and the plan on how you are going to do it and you then sit and do your budget and cash flow it is a great tool to make sure your plans are financially achievable with what you currently have or if you need to look for funding or additional revenue streams.
R – REAL LIFE
So now you’re looking after yourself, your employees are working at full potential and are motivated and happy, you have your plan in place and you are looking for opportunities and you’re budgeting and planning side by side, is everything realistic? Have you set real life time frames? Are you working towards your business’ full potential? For some people sitting and putting together all of these plans can seem daunting and we can underestimate what we are capable of doing because we fear failure so we hold back so that we don’t fail. Or we go completely the opposite way and completely over estimate what we are going to do in the next 6-12 months and set ourselves up for failure when actually if we had extended those time lines slightly we might not have failed.
If you feel that you are holding yourself back financially and in business and would like to explore what blocks you might have that are holding you back to clear those blocks and plan for your full potential I offer a Money mindset coaching package here and my business coaching package here can also help with if you want to make changes and think that I could be of assistance. Or why not book a free 30 minute consultation here to see if we are compatible and coaching can be of value to you?