In the last few days Kylie Ponton and I have hosted some Happy Hour get togethers on Zoom for Designers all over the country (plus one from Jamaica). Our goal was to provide a sounding board for ideas and concerns that people may have facing the next few months. What resulted was not just a gripe/worry fest but an optimistic tip-filled vibrant discussion where people shared with honesty not just coping strategies but also great advice and tips on facing adversity and ways we may actually thrive after this. I thought I would put a few of these ideas in a post so that we can all benefit from the collective wisdom of our colleagues.
So here are 5 tips that you can employ now to help ensure the health of your business:
1) Its Time to really master technology
One of the common threads of all my discussions has been that things will not return back to what we knew before. People adjust quickly and I think we need to embrace video conferencing as a new part of our lives. Whether communicating with clients or vendors, or even with our own staff, as many more opt to work remotely wherever possible. So whether you use Zoom, Google Hangouts or GotoMeeting, it’s time to learn how to exploit these platforms and see how they may fit into your workflow.
Speaking of workflow, a lot of designers we spoke to, are now looking at remote locations or work from home as viable options for their teams. This has a lot of ramifications, maybe it’s a smaller office space, employees in different cities, the possibilities are almost endless.
2) Time Management
In addressing a concern about how to juggle this new at home life with family and home responsibilities, Linda Allen, a fabulous designer from Las Vegas, whose office is in her home shared a great tip. Just block time during your day for your other needs like laundry or grocery shopping, just like you would a client meeting. It will relieve stress and make space for everything that needs to get done.
How many times have we all complained that we don’t have time to do marketing, or for that matter even create a marketing plan, well now you do! It’s time to revisit your social media strategy and take a long hard look at your website, SEO and even your stationary, make the most of the down time to look hard at your business. When the restrictions are lifted it’s GO time, so lay a solid foundation now. Many also expressed some concern about reaching out to clients during this time as looking opportunistic, I think it is just about tone. Pinterest has seen huge surges in searches for Home Organization for instance, maybe just share some of your best tips, it’s not selling it’s helping.
It is time to get your house in order. The next few months are filled with uncertainty, so as best you can get ready for that. Reach out to your landlord and start a discussion, reach out to you bank and set up a line of credit, or even negotiate a lower interest rate on an existing one. Finally stay abreast of assistance from the Government, that one is constantly shifting but the SBA will certainly be doing something to help small businesses like ours, try your best to start that process now and don’t get caught in the tsunami of applications that are coming down the road.
5) Stay Happy
Stay Positive In the face of all these challenges it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, let alone the silver lining, but it is there. With the right strategy and more importantly, the right frame of mind you can emerge out of this with a leaner, stronger business with new tools and an unbeatable resilience. One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln “People are as happy as they decide to be”. Now is the time to take charge and good things will follow.
Mark Cutler Owner Mark Cutler Design Member of the DesignerInc Community