Businesswoman and entrepreneur Michelle Mone OBE was named the Business Start-Up Tsar by David Cameron in 2015 and now sitting in the House of Lords, Lady Mone is focused on small business, women in business and innovation.
Here she talks to Business Leader about how she feels companies can cope during the Covid-19 crisis:
1. Ask for help
If you are struggling, speak to your accountant, business adviser or peers and ask for advice. I welcome the package the Government has proposed, make use of it if you can. Here’s the link: www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline
2. Don’t be embarrassed
Communicate with your clients or customers, tell them that you would really appreciate their help and to be paid on time. Small businesses can ask bigger businesses for support. Ask for exposure and shout outs online and chase up some good reviews. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
Think of other valuable skills that you have. Ask customers if there is any other type of service you can provide. We all need to be as creative as we can.
Communication is key with your team and customers. You can still have meetings using Zoom, BlueJeans and Skype. I had a very productive meeting yesterday with five people using Zoom.
We all have to change how we work now. Whether we work remotely or not it’s all hands on deck without your usual company hierarchy. If necessary consider a staggered approach to going into the office, warehouse or depot to ensure social distancing. Can you sell online or via social media? Just think about new ways you can still trade.
Are you able to stockpile your products? Use this time to get your office, warehouse or workspace clean and organised. For example, do a stock check, organise your files, move your office around. Think about the things you would love to do but are always too busy. Use this time effectively as this crisis will be over soon.
7. Think and Plan
You may now have some time to think about the future, focus on innovation and reassess your goals. Sometimes on the day-to-day hamster wheel of work you don’t get time to think about the future or your goals. You should also plan how to come back after all of this is over, especially if you predict a bounce in your industry, will you be ready?
8. Be Responsible and Kind
Be kind to your employees if you have them, and employees will be kind back. You all need to work as a team so think about how you can all help the company in order to survive. We need to change the way we work now, stick together and stay caring.