Marketing & Productivity During a Pandemic It’s pretty easy to write 2020 off as a horrible year. In my 40+ years on this planet I can easily say I have never experienced a global issue larger than the phenomenon that is COVID-19. Certainly not one that has effected the economy to such a degree. With many businesses being forced to lay off staff, and the majority of us returning to our homes to work, its easy to feel bewildered and directionless. With all this uncertainty its difficult to know what you should be doing to keep busy and to market your own company. Its not the end of the World Well, that is to say, I certainly hope it isn't the end of the world. Sometimes its difficult to tell as we are constantly bombarded with COVID related statistics and instructions. If we listen to everything we hear and read on social media, its very easy to understand why the entire planet is in a state of deadlock. Like a kangaroo in the headlights, we're sat in limbo waiting to find out whether the car will swerve left, or right. That's a great visual Ben; but how does any of this help my business? Don't stop doing You As the heading suggests, now is not the the time to sit still, waiting for things to blow over. If anything, now might be the best time you've had in ages to look internally; assess where your company is, where you want it to be and start taking active steps to get there. That is to say, don't just let it all wash over you, but spend the possible down time working on your business. Now is the time to manage your branding, get those staff photos done, update the website, write some articles, update your Google My Business listing, finish writing your company policy, have some brainstorming with your team, etc. There's so many things this new down-time might actually allow you to finally get around to doing. Its not all Down Hill Many businesses have certainly been effected harder than others. Business that depends directly on the tourism industry in Thailand have been hit very hard. Friends of ours at Trunk Travel and HIDE by Ginza, for example, have had to greatly reduce their staff and now operate on a fraction of what they were enjoying this time last year. Its not all bad though. The pandemic has created a dramatic rise for other organisations and has created a situation for new business we hadn't even thought of before. New Business Who would have thought we were capable of making so many cool masks? Aloe Vera induced alcohol hand cleansing gel anyone? Bacteria destroying wet-wipe? Perspex counter divider to protect your staff? Where / How to get started? I guess this is a question best answered by you. What has been lacking? What are some of the things you've been putting off? Things which you probably know, deep in the back of your mind, you shouldn't be putting off. One of the things I use quite a lot is Trello. Trello allows me to visually write down ideas in 'cards' that can be moved into various columns based on importance. I like to add things to a board simply called Digital Base Stuff. I use it as a very board 'to do' list. The board may have anything in it ranging from 'write a new article', 'pay x bill' or 'update business card design'. Its an ever-growing list of stuff that I'd like to get around to at some stage. If you don't have an ongoing list then I suggest your first step should probably be to create one. It doesn't have to be in Trello, it could be on a piece of paper or the Notes app on your phone, but start writing down all those niggling things you know you probably should be working on. Here's a few things to think about to get the creative juices flowing. Update your Facebook page cover, add a 'deep & meaningful' quote to your Twitter bio, revamp your business cards ready for 2021, update the website or even re-paint the office. These are some very basic ideas. Depending on your business model they could start getting much deeper. They may be things like how to get your products to consumers in lock-down, changing your branding to show your company is 'social distancing' aware or even implementing some software to ensure your staff are able to work from home. Don't just take your word for it Now is probably a great time to get all the staff together for a bit of a brainstorm. If you're physically still working together in the office then grab a whiteboard and some markers. If the team is working from home, however, you might look at setting up a Zoom or Hangouts video conference. In both cases I would suggest plenty of coffee and a couple of hours. Like with all 'think tank' meetings, start big then hone in on the more exact tasks. Create a list of the things that you'd like to get done for the business (there should be a lot) then try to sort them into more manageable chunks. These 'chunks' might then be broken down into department, priority or internal / external. One of the things you may want to look at is Covid specific tasks. Prioritise items that may help overcome the current situation; updating your social media to let clients know you're working from home, or setting up SLACK so your staff can better communicate etc. It may not be the best time to work on a new corporate shirt, if the team is all sat at home working in their pyjamas. That being said, if everything else is done it might also be the perfect time to do it. Keep Busy Stay on top of your Social Marketing. With so many people now 'working from home' and 'social distancing' people are relying on the internet more than ever. Its crucial for your own business to maintain and active presence online. Let people know what you're doing. Delegate & Implement By now you should have a fairly extensive list of things you could be doing to drum up new business or to ensure staff with free time are kept occupied. Have a look at the items you can do internally and delegate out to the various staff. Make people responsible for specific tasks. Besides being able to tick things off your to-do list, the new found activity should help keep your staff motivated and active. It'll help give them direction and a goal. Find service providers to help with the things you can't do your self. Have your team write up scopes of work and send them out to various agencies for quotations. Get those quotations back in and get stuff done.