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Small Business Strategies During COVID-19

We are living in an unprecedented time in the world, and let’s face it, there’s no playbook for something like this. What we know for sure is that we need each other to get through all of this.

Businesses everywhere are facing some hard decisions through forced closures and social distancing. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we would like to share what we’re doing to stay positive and take care of our clients. 

Rely on reliable information

The number one most important thing you can do right now is stay informed with reliable information. It’s so easy these days to fall into click holes of article after article, but where are these writers getting their source material? If it’s not the CDC, or another official, trusted entity, then it may not be worth considering as fact.

Social media is not your friend when it comes to facts, especially during a time like this. Stick with feeds like Dogs of Instagram, and only get your news from trusted sources.

Check in on clients

Everyone’s inbox is packed with generic emails from businesses about their response to COVID-19. There is nothing wrong with notifying customers about what you’re doing in the face of uncertain times. Now is also a really good time to make personal connections. Make some phone calls, send some personal emails, reach out in any way that keeps us personally connected.

With many of us working remotely, social distancing and, frankly, concerned about what the immediate future holds, we need connection more than ever.

Check in on employees

Everyone is reacting to this uncertainty in a different way. It’s important to stay connected with your employees and how they are doing too. My favorite method to get to the root of how a direct report is feeling is using inquiry. Most of the time, we can’t know what’s under everyone’s iceberg, so it’s important to not make assumptions. Just because someone is smiling and seeming upbeat does not mean they are totally ok on the inside.

Using inquiry, asking emotionally intelligent questions and paying attention to nonverbal cues, is a great way to understand how your employees are really managing through a challenging time, and guide how you support them.

Supporting other businesses

We are trying hard to support other businesses, by ordering delivery from local restaurants and ordering online from businesses that offer it. I’m even having video sessions with my personal trainer to help her keep her work going while gyms are closed. (For as long as possible and after that we’ll get even more creative!)

We’re hosting our first event remotely

It’s time to get creative. We can’t gather, but today’s technology allows us to still connect, face to face, with our community.

We are going to be hosting our first virtual event! We will be hosting South Sound 100 Women via Zoom webinar. We have some details to iron out, and we are up for the challenge! We’re excited to create a space where we don’t have to miss out on a quarterly event that is special to many women in the community, and gift a significant donation during a time when nonprofits really need the support.

How we work as a remote team

Our team is built for remote work, so this transition is relatively easy for us. Our CEO is a visionary and built a team for talent, not proximity. We have team members all over the country, and even one in Germany! 

To keep out work seamlessly flowing, we use all cloud based tools. Asana for project management, Slack for team communication, Zoom for meetings and Box for file sharing. There are many, many tools out there, we aren’t necessarily endorsing any of these. It’s just how we do it. 

Implementing these tools is not set it and forget it. Your team must have agreements on how they will be used and for what. For example, we agreed that all communication would happen in Slack because it’s made for that. Asana has communication features, but it’s not built to be a communication tool and we were missing things. We applied lessons learned, and adapted how we use the tools.

While we are all remote, we check in via Zoom twice a day. Once in the morning, to set our intention for the day and see how everyone is doing, and once in the late afternoon to discuss outcomes and how the day went. This keeps us connected, even though we aren’t sitting in the same office.