In recent days, I’ve wondered what, if anything, I should say as a business owner about the current COVID19 crisis. I decided proverbially “let my hair down” and share some of my thoughts.
First, let me share how this virus affects me and my business as you’ve seen countless others do. As of right now, it doesn’t. Not really, anyways. But hear me out.
I do not have a staff and I work from home. As many of you already know, I live with several health issues that make me immunocompromised (and therefore more at risk than most of you). The good part about that is that so many of the measures people are talking about taking have been standard in my life for many years. This includes everything from protecting my immune system to knowing how to manage my business in a crisis.
I already limit my exposure to crowds and do less in-person meetings than I used to. Please know that I have several teleconference capabilities (Zoom is my preference) and I’m always willing to use those to facilitate better communication now and in the future.
Now, if I were to get sick, that would easily shut down my business almost entirely and possibly permanently. That’s why I personally appreciate the measures being taken to mitigate the virus’ spread.
I consider myself the lucky one
As someone who is self-employed and works from home, I have a lot of friends whose work life is similar but unlike me, their businesses are suffering. Think about the services and products you might be using right now but aren’t. Travel agents, pet sitters, hotel folks, event planners, house cleaners, and restaurant owners are just some of the people whose livelihoods are being decimated right now.
Invest in your local economy
I understand that now we need to stay home, stay calm, and be careful. But I hope that both during this current crisis and after it clears, you will keep local businesses in mind.
Can you purchase gift certificates now that can be redeemed later? Unless you’re in quarantine, can you go out for essential shopping or eating out during the less busy times to avoid crowds? Many small businesses are offering curbside pickup or delivery to help their customers. But also to help themselves stay in business.
I hope that people will also consider taking their tax refunds and even money they might be saving by not going out as much now to support businesses once all this over. Plan those trips (did you know it doesn’t cost extra to use a travel agent?). Use those pet sitters. Hire a housekeeper. Enjoy lunch with your family on a patio somewhere. Support businesses and help them rebuild. It not only helps them but I firmly believe that helping others makes a positive difference for all of us.
Invest in your company
To my fellow entrepreneurs who might be hurting right now, I hope you will find a way to still be productive. Make adjustments like others have. If it applies, consider looking into offering different services or methods of delivery.
Use this time to educate people on your industry and what sets you apart. Use this time to continue connecting with your audience on social media. If you can’t meet with them in person, let them see the humanity of your business online. Consider even looking into a form of secondary or residual income such as an online class you can teach or some other form of income.
I know in my own life and business, I’ve had to reimagine what I do and almost recreate plans in reaction to an outside crisis, usually related to my health or family situation. It’s hard, but I also think it’s made me better.
What side are you on?
In all things, I try to find a balance between the appropriate amount of concern and not getting overwhelmed with worry. Sometimes I succeed, other times less so!
Whether you are concerned or not, all of our lives are interrupted right now. I firmly believe that situations like this let people (and the companies they operate) either shine or show their negative side. It’s up to each of us to decide which side of that line we end up on.