Because when you stop and take a look around, life is pretty amazing!
From PJs to Business Best - Adapting your Action Plan for Lockdown and Beyond
Despite grappling with the economic, social, emotional and physical affects of the pandemic, perhaps now is the time to get ready for post lockdown.
Like many, I have lost huge chunks of my planned 2020 business income due to the current Coronavirus global pandemic. This has been particularly on the wedding planning side of my business, with the majority of my spring and summer weddings for this year being postponed to next year.
Many of us will be grappling with the economic, social and even physical affects of this time which may have made us feel completely adrift. However, after a period of what may have felt like complete hibernation, we’ll need to be ready to face the world with all of the changes I’m sure it will have gone through.
Right now you may be experiencing a general "no idea what day of the week it is" and although we’re all living a life that is so far from what we would usually regard as normal, I’m here to share why maybe it’s time to make adjustments and take action now. Action that will help you thrive post lockdown. I want you to be in good shape personally, physically and mentally and to have the tools you will need to shape your business.
I know right now that so much feels out of our control but there are a few ways you can take some control, take positive steps and feel more empowered than you might have been feeling and to move out of your PJs to your Business Best.
You Still Need a Plan - But Be Kind To Yourself and Be Realistic
It's important to still have an action plan with goals, even if it looks completely different to what you had originally planned for. Create a weekly lockdown action plan.....and if that sounds too hard to imagine....at least have a plan for the day. One or two days at a time is better than nothing at all.
Be kind to yourself and be realistic.
Your daily routine is probably very different right now than what you’re used to. If you usually work from home and usually have the house or your office space to yourself, if you haven’t already, you may need to make adjustments to suit lockdown.
Do you need to carve out a new temporary workspace?
Is working in smaller time chunks more practical at the moment?
Perhaps working in the evenings or early mornings is better for you so you can then concentrate on spending time with those in your household rather than trying to steal yourself away whilst your family goes out for a walk or they’re enjoying some time in the garden. Perhaps press pause on the work and join them. You can then pick the work back up later.
Create a 'working and not working' pattern or routine that suits you and your family best right now. I usually use time blocking (planning activities and tasks in time chunks during the day and the week) as a way to help productivity and focus. It’s a great way to plan and manage my time and it’s not just for work activities and tasks. It includes selfcare, social and family time too.
At the very start of the current lockdown, I felt like I had lost my way and I definitely fell off the time blocking wagon! Every day was starting to merge into the next, with nothing to differentiate one day from another. So, I’ve welcomed time blocking back into my life with welcome arms (whilst obviously keeping to the social distance guidelines!). However, as I've already said, be kind to yourself. My days definitely look different at the moment in terms of the type and number of tasks I’m including. Don’t overload each day. Allow yourself some space to just be.
Do what you can to switch up your weekday and weekend routines so you know what day of the week it is! You know that feeling you can get on the days between Christmas and New Year, when all the days just feel like a Sunday? Right now, you may have temporarily lost tasks and activities that usually help you to have a sense of a working day, a weekday, a Saturday, school holiday, term time. So what could you do to make your days feel different?
........'Knowing what day of the week it is would be a good start' I hear you shout as you read this!
Putting on your days of the week socks or pants if you have them might be an idea! :) But seriously...what can you do to signal the start and end of when you’re working. Is it about clearing the space you've been working from (be this your usual home office desk or a temporary one on the dining room table). Is it getting changed or ensuring you're not sat in your Pyjamas whilst you're working. I never wear my PJs or loungewear when I’m in my office, but when it’s time to binge watch my latest Netflix series, I love to change into my comfy joggers and slouchy hoodie. That’s not how I generally show up for work, even in lockdown.
5 Key Business Housekeeping Tips to Help You Prepare for Post Lockdown
1. Face your Financials Head On
It might be hard to see it written down but get clear on what was due/planned to come in, what has been deferred or lost. If you’ve lost bookings and income for this year, yes this is hard but try to take back some of the control you might have felt has been taken from you. it’s empowering to know the size and scale of the financial challenge and take steps to make a plan to mitigate it the best way you can, including seeking advice on any help that may be available to you.
If you haven’t already, review your usual outgoings - business and home. Familiarise or re-familiarise yourself with what usually goes out, from where and to who. Is there anything you can cancel, re-negotiate, reschedule? Anything you have forgotten about? Any payments you don’t even remember what they’re for? Are there any subscriptions you can cancel or step down onto a lower tariff or free version for a while? This is something I did at the start of the year, unrelated to the current crisis, just as part of my business declutter and to identify resources for development of another area of the business.
2. If You're Open For Business, Be Clearly Open
Decide if you’re open or closed for business. If you want to have a business post lockdown, consider what communication you’re having over this period, both with existing customers and clients as well as potential ones. If I emailed you right now, what response would I get? Are you still open and replying? Are you closed for business? Or somewhere in between? If you’re open and not responding to messages and enquiries in a timely way, are you sabotaging all the hard work you’ve put in to build your business?
If you've made adjustments to your services and what you offer or the way in which you're delivering, communicate that clearly to customers and potential customers.
3. Review Your Online Presence
As well as the financial spring clean, take some time to review your online presence. I’m not only talking about major change like a brand new website (although I do know of people using this time and space to plan those major changes and why not) but also consider things like...
- dusting off your social media profiles
- updating your bios
- adding reviews
- requesting reviews
- leaving social media groups that no longer serve you or participating more in those you may have neglected and actually want to still be part of
- update your email template, signature, etc.
4. Sharpen Your Client Tools
What about your proposals and quotations and your client onboarding documents and processes? Could they do with some dusting off and tweaking? Are they still fit for purpose? Do they show you and your business in the best light? Perhaps they could benefit from some tweaking during this time.
5. 'Get Out There' Even When You Can’t Actually Get Out There
I’m not going to cover how and what to post on social media right now in this post (perhaps a follow up on this for you another time...). During lockdown and social distancing, our ability to meet with people in person and to attend events and meet ups may be restricted, but remember great networking and fabulous collaborations can be virtual too!
Could you be meeting with your clients virtually?
Are there people in your industry you’ve been meaning to connect with? Reach out! Arrange a call or a virtual coffee with them.
There are some great collaborations and projects being worked on right now!
A Note About This Post
This is a follow up post created from the content of a session I delivered for members of my Facebook group during Lockdown and Thrive - an exclusive members only week long online event. If you're a small business owner looking for support, collaboration and advice, you would be more than welcome to join us over in the group here.
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