Coronavirus (aka Covid-19) was declared a public health emergency by WHO on 30th January 2020 and self-isolation is said to be the best precautionary measure. People all over the world are instructed by WHO and local governments to stay home and isolate themselves. According to Australian PM, social distancing helps to slow the spread of coronavirus. It doesn’t matter who you are, it is the time to self-isolate yourself.
If you are a business owner and practicing self-isolation, there are several things you can do to be productive during your stay-at-home. There are tons of things that you can do from your home to make your self-isolation productive for yourself as well as for your business. Here are the top 10 tips for business owners who are in self-isolation.
1. Set Isolation Objectives
Let’s start your self-isolation by creating objectives and goals that will help you make your isolation productive. Set goals for your business based on the isolation period. How you’ll manage your business from your home, what you’ll do and how you’ll do it.
Set clear business goals for the isolation period by defining tasks that you’ll do. For instance, if your business doesn’t have a website, the first thing you need to do is create a website so you can keep doing business from your home.
If you already have a website, consider selling online from your website. Create an e-commerce store to start selling online. Set goals by deciding what you want to do during this period for your business. It could be a single task or a set of multiple tasks. Maybe, try completing tasks that were pending for weeks during isolation.
Whatever it is, you need to get your mind clear. Create a plan of action to make self-isolation fruitful for your business.
2. Take Your Business Online
Not all businesses are online. If you own a small local business, it’s highly likely that you don’t have any online presence. It’s time to take your business online. Running and managing your business from home isn’t just possible but quite probable. The survival rate of non-employing businesses in Australia is 60% that shows managing your business single-handedly is possible.
Here are the actionable steps you can take to start managing your business (irrespective of its size) from home during self-isolation:
- Create a work environment in your home preferably a separate room
- Create a business website (if you don’t have one already)
- Use a project management tool (e.g. Trello)
- Head to freelancing platforms (e.g. Upwork) to find talent that will help you during this pandemic
- Create a WhatsApp business account and share it on your website so customers can contact you
- Use VoIP phone service (e.g. Nextiva) to run your call center from home by interacting with customers
3. Promote Remote Work Culture
A call center experimented by letting half of its employees work from home. The other half performed their duties normally. After nine months, employees who telecommuted were happier, less likely to quit, and were more productive than the control group.
Allow your employees to telecommute because they’re going through the same self-isolation phase. What you need to do is create and promote a remote work culture so your employees can easily (and quickly) adopt it.
Follow these tips and techniques to create and promote remote culture:
- Acquire necessary tools and apps
- Let your team be present online for a specific number of hours daily
- Use Slack to engage and connect your teams
- Assign tasks that they can do easily from their homes
- Conduct at least one web conference meeting daily
4. Use the Right Tools
You can’t manage your business remotely without the right tools. Here is a list of tools that you must have in your tech stack (besides the ones covered above):
- Google Drive for collaboration and file management
- Todoist for productivity
- Time Doctor for time management
- Zoom for video conferencing
- Slack for project management
- io for time zone management
- Jell for reporting
5. Use a Chatbot for Customer Support
Nothing will work better for your business than a chatbot at this time. You must respond to customer queries, you need to communicate your Covid-19 strategy to customers, and you have to stay in contact with your customers during this time. It’s challenging to have your customer support team respond to all customer queries at this time. A chatbot can rescue your business effectively by responding to customer queries intuitively.
Yes, they’re safe-to-use. You can use a chatbot on your website, customer support tool, messenger, and other platforms that your customers use to contact you. You need to inform your customers that they should expect a delayed response from your end due to Covid-19 and what you are doing to cope with the pandemic to ensure the timely delivery of products to your customers.
Here is an example from Facebook Ads:
Not to mention, a chatbot can do much more than sending automated responses. You can create a chatbot for your business during isolation with chatbot maker tool like Chatfuel. Here is a guide on how to get started.
6. Update Local Listings
Have you updated your local listings? You should. In fact, this is one of the first things you should do. Update your phone number, business timings, and any other details that you think are critical for your target audience currently.
Google released a statement about local listings and what it is doing to provide accurate information to its users. Google has now made it easier for businesses to mark themselves temporarily closed. You must update business hours or update your current status immediately to keep your audience informed. If you are switching to VoIP, update your numbers accordingly.
7. Stay Active on Social Media
Leading telecom companies in Australia are offering special Covid-19 packages to its users with a focus on data. Telstra and Optus are offering free mobile internet during the pandemic. Your ideal customers are more likely to spend time on social networking platforms during isolation.
You need to be active on leading social media sites. If you don’t have business accounts on the leading sites, create them and get active. Engage with your audience. Keep them hooked. They’re getting free data and they’re in their homes so there isn’t anything better than connecting with them on social networking platforms.
8. Make a Routine
It is hard to make a routine and stick with it during self-isolation. You might end up becoming a night owl if you don’t make a routine. Create a schedule and stick with it. The best way is to set working hours preferably in the morning for yourself and your team. For instance, you can start the day at 9 am with a meeting. This will help you keep things tight and you’ll have a routine to follow.
Also, don’t forget to make time to exercise during the day.
9. Read Books
This one is my favorite. There isn’t any better time to read books than now. You’ll get a lot of spare time during isolation for yourself and your family. Let’s use it productively. Read books. Book sales have already surged in the past few weeks, so this is something that people love to do.
Planning is critical at this stage especially contingency planning. Do you have a contingency plan for your business? What you’ll do if this pandemic lasts longer than expected? What you’ll do when this pandemic is over?
You need to prepare a detailed plan for your business as to what actions you’ll take to keep your business running and to avoid the economic recession after the pandemic is over.
If you’re struggling to manage your business cashflow, we have something that can help. Download our FREE Cashflow Plan to get back on track!
This is a difficult time, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do business anymore. Instead of waiting, you should think of switching from bricks-and-mortar to an online business model as it will have long-lasting benefits.
Let’s make self-isolation productive for your business with these tips and techniques.