Most solopreneurs work from home. They don’t employ staff and rely on networking events to be their contact with other people. Networking events provide support, referrals, ideas and a chance to meet with other business owners. Many of these events have now been suspended.
The self-employed will be the most affected financially. They do not have the cushion of an employee salary or full sick pay. This will especially hit service-based businesses as projects, events, beauty salon visits, non-essential health appointments and training courses are being cancelled or postponed. Non-essential luxury goods will also see a downturn in sales.
The Coronavirus outbreak means many people will be self-isolating. Each day make a point of calling others in the same situation to lift your spirits.
If you are now finding that you have much more time spent in your home office, you can use this time productively.
Here are some ideas of what you can do if you are faced with this and how you can use you can make a difference to your business rather than binge-watching Netflix!
Time to tidy or decorate your office
If you have a home office spend this additional time clearing and tidying it up. Freshen it up with a lick of paint and reorganise it. File paperwork and check through old paperwork you no longer need and shred it.
You can spend time reviewing your marketing plan and making plans for when this subsides. Maybe you have never had time to write a marketing plan – now is the time!
Spend some time creating or reviewing your business plan. Where would you like your business to be in the next 3 years? Create ideas of how you will achieve this.
Review your website, social media and Google analytics
How good is your user experience on your website? When was the last time you checked your social media insights and really looked at what is working and what isn’t? Check your Facebook insights and see which posts get the most traction. Check your Twitter and Instagram analytics. Spend time following new people, commenting on posts and checking out your competitors. These are all things you can do that will progress your business.
For some businesses, you can directly create content relating to the coronavirus. How is this affecting your industry? Make sure you keep your clients informed of your policy.
This is an ideal time to create a content calendar, images, find useful information, website links and articles around your industry. If you have time on your hands use it to do this. Canva is great for creating graphics which look professional and you can create a bank of images to use this year.
Get on top of your accounts. It’s a job most people hate to do and its something you can do during this time. If you are not using an online cloud system now is the time to start! Check out Xero, Kashflow or Quik Books. Investigate online payment options for clients. Look at ways you can streamline your business finances. Receipt Bank means you can scan receipts into your phone. You can also use apps to record business mileage.
Arrange online meetings
You can use Zoom, Skype and Facebook, your iPhone to speak to people face to face but online. If meetings are cancelled use this method or catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while.
You probably have a pile of business cards sitting there on your desk. Sort them out! Decide which people you will follow up with, which ones you will connect with on social media and which people can you connect to people in your network.
Plan the next 6 months
Make your plans for when all this is over. Think about how you will be able to manage financially. What steps do you need to take to manage this situation?
When we have been running a business for so long in a daily routine, we don’t spend time creating new ideas. Think about what new services you could create. Spend a few hours thinking about how you can improve your goods or services. Why not arrange an online meeting with other businesses owners and innovate together?
Write that award entry, book or blog!
You may have never had the time to write! Check out what awards are taking place this year and start writing that award entry.
Have you been considering writing a book? Now is the time to start planning it.
Write some blogs for your website. Share your knowledge and expertise.
This can easily be done from home. Create a vlog or instructional video. Upload onto YouTube and social media. Go live on Facebook on your page or group. Create a video you can use on your website.
When was the last time you cleared your inbox? Time to sort and clear and get your emails working better. If you haven’t created an email list of your clients you could consider setting up Mailchimp or Constant contact and building a list of clients, you must ask permission first.
Review your literature
Have you a brochure or leaflet you have been meaning to do? New business cards? New branding may also be on your list. Now is the time to work on this area and create something fresh and exciting that you can reveal post coronavirus!
These are difficult times. Try not to panic. This will be over soon. It will be a difficult few months but one which will pass. The main thing is to use the time productively and work on your business. Look after yourself and keep well.