Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, most businesses have slowed down. A recent Goldman Sach’s survey found that more than 50% of 1,500 small business owners said they couldn’t continue for more than 3 months at current rates. Rather than wallow and wait, though, take the opportunity to do those things that you never have time to do. Here are nine things that you should do now so that you’re ready to excel when this crisis is over.
1. Maximize your security protocols.
New security threats pop up every day. Even amidst COVID-19, hackers developed phishing attempts to prey on peoples’ thirst for news surrounding the virus. What happens when a hacker gains personal information from one of these attempts? Often, the value isn’t in the initial data theft or financial potential therein. Hackers really don’t care what your password to one particular site is. Instead, they sell the information on the Dark Web. Take the opportunity to lock down your security protocols, now. Start with determining if your information is on the Dark Web, then set up ongoing monitoring to maintain awareness. Beyond the Dark Web, make sure you have a security plan in place that includes your firewall, antivirus, and protecting remote connections.
2. Write your compliance plan.
There are new privacy laws popping up all over the world, including data privacy laws across the US. How are you going to be compliant with customer, prospect, and website visitor data? In addition to website compliance, take a look at PCI, NIST, and HIPAA (if applicable) compliance. We can help you review your current compliance and create a plan to overcome challenges.
3. Update your hardware.
While you cannot use any PPP loan funds to cover hardware upgrades, if you received a PPP loan, you may have some cash available to upgrade your hardware to be prepared as business picks back up. Even if you weren’t lucky enough to secure funding in the first round of loans, still look at upgrading your computers systems. While you likely want to avoid the hefty expenses of a project, consider Hardware as a Service as an option to pay monthly for your hardware, lowering initial outlay and turning your hardware expenditure into an operating expense rather than a capital expense.
4. Refresh your website.
Creating your company website was probably a major undertaking. From writing the content to agreeing on design, it’s one of those projects that probably does not bring fond memories. The challenge is your website should be completed renovated every three to five years, while content updates every quarter. Dig back in and address your website, making sure you’re highlighting your most recent offerings and addressing SEO effectively.
5. Clean up your leads list.
Databases get old and sloppy really quickly, especially if you don’t undergo regular upkeep. Who has time for regular upkeep? Now is the time to get everything straightened out. Audit your prospect and client lists. Remove duplicates, re-classify types, as necessary, and create a plan for ongoing upkeep so that you don’t have to undergo a major cleaning project again.
6. Create a strategic plan/ Determine Your Next Offering
If this crisis hasn’t shown you that you need to be agile, nimble and always have a plan for what’s next, I’m not sure what will. Brainstorm your next product offering, or your next marketing moving. Create a plan for the next 12-18 months. Strategic planning often hits the back burner but is critical for ongoing success. You’ve just been given a great gift – time to plan.
7. Collect testimonials and case studies.
If you’re doing your jobs well, customers are likely sending you emails of appreciation, anecdotes of quality customer service, and sharing accolades about your team. Unfortunately, when you’ve got a lot on your plate, these tend to be fleeting messages in your inbox with a mere “thank you” response to the sender. Dig those out and position them as testimonials, case studies, and customer shout-outs for your website.
8. Educate yourself and team.
One of the biggest reasons business owners avoid training their teams is that it involves taking time away from the business. Immerse yourself and your teams in training so that they’re armed with best practices when business begins to rebound.
9. Update your standard operating procedures.
Documentation gets behind when you’re in the thick of day-to-day business resulting in standard operating procedures that are several years old and woefully out of date. Have your team take a look at your current standard operating procedures. Work through them one-by-one ensuring that you have the latest version on file and that you’ve removed any superfluous processes. Work toward a complete business manual to help any new hires and to ensure standardization across your team.
We have every hope that the country will begin to safely open up very soon. In the meantime, though, make the most of this business downturn by prepping your business for resurgence.