Winter is Coming: Preparing your Business tough times
British Summer Time officially ends this weekend. Autumn and winter can be a tricky time for all of us, nights are getting longer, days are getting darker and the cold snaps are rolling in. Small businesses in particular can feel the winter crunch as the new year comes rolling in. Particularly with the uncertainty of Brexit’s approach, you might be left wondering if it’s even safe to take a festive break this year. That’s certainly not going to do your physical or mental wellbeing any good, so let’s not be all doom and gloom this year – let’s prepare for everything, for your peace of mind.
Where’s the money going?
First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got some emergency resources stocked up. In almost every case, that means saving up some cash. Take a look at your business from a distance, let’s see if we can spot where those cash leaks are, or where efficiency could be improved to save on spending…
- How is your overall financial situation? What general options are there to improve that? Are you perhaps paying yourself a little too much, or are there grants or loans available to you as a small business?
- Are your staff being as productive as possible? If not, what can be done to improve that situation? Do they need better tools or is there something getting them down?
- Is office space an absolute necessity? Remote working is on the rise and it’s easy to see why. Could you save on office costs by having a remote team? Or perhaps you’ve even got space for a small home office if you’ve got a small team?
- Are your databases as efficient as possible? Is bad or expired data clogging up your system and limiting productivity?
Answering all of these questions will give you an idea of what you can do to plug up the holes in your business, and keep things water-tight in hard times. Try to take a holistic approach at first, looking at your business generally before you go in to specifics. Then it’s time to make an action plan for you and your team.
Keep everyone in the loop
Keeping your team up to date on any hardships will, believe it or not, help to ease anxiety (both yours and theirs). Establish your action plan to get through this period to the team, ask for their input and keep them involved in the whole process. Remember, as much as it’s your business, it’s their livelihood and they want success as much as you but they also need to know what’s happening – have open and honest talks with the gang.
Particularly if you’re working with freelancers, your team may have limited security. Severance pay, for example, isn’t a given when freelancing. So if that matches your situation, the kindest thing you can do is be honest so that your freelancers can weigh up their options and perhaps start looking at other projects and contracts. The main thing is not to take this personally, but also don’t think that this means you have to cut ties completely. Examine what your freelancers are doing, see if there’s room for any automation (better tools, such as a bespoke CRM solution could help here) to save them time on their work so that they could possibly limit their hours working with you and have some other contracts on the side. Help each other during this situation.
The means of success
Having the right tools for the job will ensure you save both time and money. With a bespoke CRM tool, you’ll have all kinds of automation features, access to streamlined dashboards and a user-friendly interface that can be accessed anytime and anywhere. With this comes the option of a completely remote-working business. Office space can get a little costly, particularly when you’re paying for your whole team too. By providing your team with better tools, you might just be opening up your business to the possibility of being office-free.
Healthy minds mean a happy workplace
Keeping your cool in tough situations is easier said than done, but try to keep yourself as calm as possible. Stress is contagious, and if you’re stressed and agitated your team will feel it. Similarly, if the situation is getting any part of your team down, you’ll all feel that impact. There’s no shame in getting some help – Mind is a charitable organisation that can offer free counselling services related to work stress, and there are many other mental health organisations you could get in contact with (or put your team in touch with). Alternatively there are paid services specifically for business owners in need of counselling. Now, more than ever (though always a good idea), is a good time to be promoting mental wellbeing in your workplace.
Following these steps will help limit the stress of powering through a tough time for your business. Keep your team in the loop and try as best you can to keep everyone happy, including yourself. Look after yourself and your team as winter sets in, and summer will be here again in no time.
Want to be prepared for all eventualities with your business? Get in touch to give Lunar CRM and our time saving bespoke solution a try.