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12 Ways Business Owners Stay Productive During Uncertain Times

COVID-19 has led to widespread changes in our personal and professional lives. As people self-isolate and cities implement shutdowns, our businesses are feeling the impact.

Although many businesses have closed their doors temporarily to adhere to city and state guidelines, you don’t have to put your professional life on hold! There are many things you can do to prepare your business for when your doors open back up. Thought leaders and entrepreneurs can do these 12 things to stay productive while social distancing.

1. Reorganize your files

During your everyday hustle and bustle, you probably didn’t take time to organize important 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 Open up past-due accounts, reorganize your internal file structure and shred outdated documents.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 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.

2. Work through backlogs and old emails

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. Organize your desktop

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.

4. Streamline your business

As a business owner, you know exactly where your organization’s inefficiencies lie, but you may not have had time to correct them. Identify ways you can streamline these inefficiencies to minimize hurdles in your operation.

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. Taking care of these inefficiencies now will help you be prepared for what’s coming next.

5. Start a blog

If your business doesn’t have a blog, now is a great time to start 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!

6. 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 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.

7. Get on social media

Is your business reaching customers where they are online? If not, now is the time to start! Set up social media accounts and start pushing content.

Aside from consumer-facing channels, LinkedIn is a great social media tool for growing your circle. Find groups related to the business (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.

8. Learn something new

The internet is full of paid and free courses that you can do from home to improve yourself. 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!

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.

9. Call your contacts

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

You have no idea what these small gestures could do for others or how they could impact your business for the better.

10. Clean

When was the last time your store was deep cleaned? With no customers or employees around, grab some supplies and refresh the space!

Have your machines been collecting dust for months? What about the space underneath? Move machines, sales racks and desks to rid your space of every ounce of dirt or grime. When your doors are ready to reopen, your business will feel brand new!

11. Rearrange for effectiveness

Think about the way your office or sales floor is organized. Is your merchandise cluttered or 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.

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

12. Keep busy!

As tempting as it is to lounge around and binge TV during self-isolation, staying busy 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. Encourage your team members to do the same and take time to train them from a distance.

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

Tom Guminski

Posted by Tom Guminski