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12 Ways Business Owners Stay Productive During Uncertain Times

Be ready when you can get back to business with these productive tips.

Although many businesses have closed their doors temporarily to adhere to city and state guidelines, you don’t have to put your professional or personal life on hold! Now is a great time to take care of that list of to-do’s that never seems to get done when you’re busy with clients.  Tasks that you and your teams can do now will help you feel productive and prepare your business for when your doors do open back up. Chose from this list of 12 things to stay productive while social distancing.

1. Reorganize your files

Have you cleaned your downloads folder lately?  During your everyday hustle and bustle, you probably don’t take time to organize important physical or digital files appropriately. Take this opportunity to get organized! Open up past-due accounts, reorganize your internal file structure and shred outdated documents. Now might even be a great time to transfer paper files to a digital archive so they take up less storage space in your office.
With tax season around the corner and business financials likely in need of reexamining, there’s no better time than the present to go through your files and create a system that works best for you and your team.

2. Delete old emails and backlogged communications

Please don’t be that person that has 3,000 or 30,000 emails in your inbox.  But we get it! When emails and requests come in faster than you can answer them, an overwhelming backlog can form. Now is the perfect time to sit down with your emails and backlogs and take care of anything you haven’t addressed.

Are there quotes you haven’t gotten to? Do you need to communicate with your customers? Are there A/R or A/P that have slipped through the cracks? While now might not be the best time to send out bills, you can organize these items so you’re ready to follow up when business returns to normal.

3. Desktop organization

Take a look at your computer desktop. Is it a mess? Now’s the time to clean it! Delete old or irrelevant files, create a new digital filing system and do a malware check to ensure nothing is slowing you down.

Is your physical desktop the problem?  Sort through the piles on your desk and get rid of anything that you haven’t reviewed in more than 6 months.  Or if you do need it, file it so that you can review it when the need does arise.

4. Streamline business processes

As a leadership team, you know exactly where your organization’s weaknesses or threats lie, but you may not have had time to correct them. Identify ways you can streamline these inefficiencies to minimize hurdles in your operation and make your team more productive.

For example, are your sales and marketing plans not leading to the returns you want? It might be time to reevaluate with the help of a concept-to-creation team like AlphaGraphics Central Austin. Taking care of these areas that need attention now will help you be prepared for what’s coming next.

5. Call your contacts

During this time of uncertainty, people are feeling scared and alone. Reach out to your employees, vendors, and business contacts to extend a helping hand as a friend. Everyone could use a listening ear and some encouragement right now.

6. Get social!

Is your business reaching customers where they are online? If not, now is the time to start! Research the best options and set up social media accounts to start connecting with your clients online.  Need 23 good reasons why to get on social media, check out this blog from our friends at Hootsuite.

Aside from consumer-facing channels, LinkedIn is a great social media tool for growing your business circle. Find groups related to your business/industry (or just things you enjoy!) and start interacting. Ask questions, post in forums and put out thought-provoking topics to engage with others. LinkedIn is a great place to learn what other business owners are doing during self-isolation and how they’re planning for the future. Connect with AlphaGraphics Central Austin on LinkedIn!

7. Start or renew a blog

If your business doesn’t have a blog, now is a great time to start (or restart) one! With extra time on your hands, it’s easier than ever to create new content that displays your expertise.

Research and create a list of topics you can position your brand as a thought leader in, then put content together for the rest of the year. By focusing on this now, you can get ahead and prepare two to three blogs per month!

8. Improve SEO

Along with your blog, you’ll want to tie in search engine optimization (SEO). If you don’t understand it, take an online course, watch YouTube videos on it, or look into local organizations that can take the burden off you.

Once you have a handle on SEO, start improving it by optimizing your web pages and blog with related keywords. You might also reach out to complementary businesses and ask to post your content on their blogs with backlinks to bolster your rankings.

9. Learn something new

In today’s environment, there are tons of free opportunities for learning that you can do from home. Many businesses and thought leaders are providing their services for free as a way to give back to their clients and communities. Think about the skills you and your team have and what you might be lacking.

What have you always wanted to learn about or get better at? Check out some courses and turn your weaknesses into strengths! Or just find something you’ve always wanted to learn and start a new hobby!

If you find a course that would be good for your team, create a learning path and encourage them to complete it. Doing so can increase your human capital and take your business to new heights.
*Does your team want or need to learn about mailing? Check out our blog: HERE! or the marketing section of our website HERE!

10. Rearrange for effectiveness

When was the last time your store was deep cleaned? With no customers or employees around, grab some supplies and refresh the space!  Next, think about the way your office or sales floor is organized. Is your merchandise cluttered or is your desk arrangement causing disruptions? Is there a way to rearrange things to improve employee workflows or customer experience? Move things around and see how you like it and if it will make you more productive when you return to business.

When everyone returns to work, it will be nice to have a fresh start and a refreshed workflow to tackle new opportunities.

11. Keep connected

As tempting as it is to lounge around and binge on Netflix during self-isolation, staying busy and connected is your biggest ally in working through this time of change and uncertainty. Nobody knows how the world will be different after the pandemic, so stay vigilant. Hold regular check-in meetings as a team and individually to stay connected. Encourage your team members to find ways to support each other and take time to connect from a distance.

12. Have some fun!

Uncertainty and limited mobility are new for most of us.  Find ways to work through the challenges. Spend extra time outdoors enjoying the renewal of spring. Share a virtual happy hour with friends or watch a funny movie. Find ways to enjoy your time at home and pick up some of those old hobbies you’ve not done in a while.  We’ll be back to work before you know it, and while we don’t know what the new norm might look like, you can take advantage of the time you have today to enjoy some downtime.

By using these tips to feel productive and look after your team and your business, you’ll be more than prepared for whatever lies ahead!

Carle

Posted by Carle