The COVID-19 outbreak has affected businesses across the globe, including those in the print, sign and graphics industries. Many businesses have closed, while others remain open but operating under very different circumstances. With business owners given very little time to prepare, and with the situation constantly evolving, we have put together some tips on how to navigate these uncertain times.
Tip 1: Prioritise Your People
Your number one priority will be the health of your staff and their families. Your team, your customers and everyone you do business with, will understand and appreciate you not taking risks at this time. It is also essential to keep everyone in your team updated with any changes as soon as it is practical to do so.
Tip 2: Stay Calm and Think
It may seem that decisions need to be made quickly to keep your business afloat, but try to stay calm and think all of your options through carefully. Look at the bigger picture and use all the information at your disposal before making any changes to staff or operations. Consider the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 – what did you learn from this period? Could businesses and brands handled things better?
Tip 3: Know Your Position
Take some time to gather all the financial information about your business. How much money do you have in the bank? What are your monthly expenses – salaries, overheads, rent? How much are you expecting to come in from completed work, or to go out to suppliers? This total is your working capital; divide the figure by your monthly break-even point to see how many months your business can continue as it is. You may have been saving for a rainy day and think you will be comfortable for several months, or you may feel the number is low. Either way, this knowledge will help you make decisions.
Tip 4: Ask for Help
There are many initiatives from governments around the world to provide financial assistance to employers and small businesses. Do your research to find out if you could you take advantage of any of these? Could your property owner or mortgage provider agree on a payment holiday? Could you reduce your overheads by negotiating with your suppliers? No one wants to lose business and the government does not want to see people out of work. Remember this when considering your financial position. Also, don't underestimate the importance of advice, from official channels, your suppliers, your industry contemporaries, your friends. There is information available to help.
Tip 5: Talk with Your Customers and Plan for Now
Continue to engage with your customers. Don’t stop answering the phone or disappear from social media: your network needs to know you are open for business. Importantly, your customers can tell you what they want, and need, now. Your usual work may have declined but there could be opportunities to create some different products and services. Your printing equipment – and your team – is likely to be flexible enough to cater for new and changing demands. If you can introduce a discount program or implement a sales strategy to keep sales going, then fantastic – but make sure it is offering what your customers need.
Tip 6: Plan for the Future
As we look ahead for a way out of the current situation, we can expect to be planning for a different way of doing things. Use this opportunity to sell the kind of work that is in demand now, so that you can then plan for a time when businesses re-open and your business will move forward to a new “normal”. While restaurants, sporting events, festivals, trade shows and concerts will resume eventually, they may do so with a range of restrictions and at a reduced capacity.
When the situation does improve it may do so suddenly, so be ready. Many businesses may be considering reducing their sales and marketing people, but these will be essential on day one of normality. Spend efficiently in these areas now, but make sure they are primed for when the time comes.
We’re Here to Help
Roland DG is here to help you and your business. Our dedicated web page includes the latest updates, news, tips and tricks, and support resources that aim to assist you during this time.
Visit We’re Here to Help for more information.