Can you see the light?

Okay, so maybe we’re a bit early to talk about light at the end of the tunnel, given I’m writing this in the midst of a global pandemic, but it’s not just your clients and suppliers who want to know what’s happening in your business as the current situation evolves – it’s also your team.

Now we’re in the middle of lockdown for the Coronavirus at the moment. And it is really hard to keep your concentration in one place. But if it’s hard for you as the business owner, it’s harder for your team. Many people are working from home, working remotely and that’s new to them. At FAT Promotions, all of our team can work from home and sometimes do anyway, so it’s not too much of a leap, but it’s still really important to help them stay connected. And that’s going to be even more important when we get into phase two and businesses start coming back into the workplace. So your staff are going to be back in the office and it’s going to be a shift.

Sidenote: Not a big reader? Watch an abridged version of this article here:

So I invite you today to reach out to your staff and start engaging with them on what’s going to change – and more importantly, what they’d like to change. This isn’t about handing over the reigns (for all my fellow Control Enthusiasts out there!), it’s about bringing your people into your vision, sharing the plan so they feel involved and supported – which can only be good for their own wellbeing and also productivity. After all, if they’re expected to learn new ways (or let go of old ones) once your business is fully functioning again, that will only slow them down and cost you more in the long run.

In the Business Leverage Group I joined last year, we use a method to review situations and assess what can be salvaged / cultivated / implemented as a result – so we’re learning and improving all the time. This is based on the four principles of finding the good parts, identifying the bad, taking time to decide what we’d do differently next time, and then – crucially – setting out changes and processes to implement the solutions we’ve agreed on.

This morning for example, I’ve been speaking with my team about what’s actually been good about the lockdown – what have they enjoyed? For me, this has been devoting more of my own time to speaking with clients and staying in touch – something I really enjoy and they value about our service. Asking my staff team this question; some are saying “You know what? I’m actually really enjoying working from home more frequently” – so there may be scope to do that in the future. After all, if it means they’re happier and more productive, what’s not to like?

Question two: What’s not been great about it? For some of my staff – and myself – a lot of that’s been the isolation, missing the social side of things, the people just having a chat over coffee at break times, things like that. As such I know that, if staff are going to continue working remotely sometimes / more often, we need to ensure good, regular communication so nobody feels removed from the team and potentially more likely to drift from our tried and tested processes and systems. Bad for them, bad for business.

Question three: What do we want to take forward? That’s really important. That’s something you want to investigate with your whole team if you can, because there are elements of this that have been a real discovery for my whole Company. We’ve discovered new software and new ways of using our own systems that are really making a difference, saving time and money – which I definitely don’t want to let go!

And this leads us into the fourth question: What do we need to make that happen?

Now at FAT Promotions we’ve been helping our clients move a lot of their systems online and improve a lot of their online marketing, so that sort of thing is something people are going to want to continue to take forward – otherwise the best bits of this whole situation will be lost.

  • Your people want more communication? Online is the way; because once people get used to seeing your face daily, you’re going to find that they want to reach out to you more often and they feel more connected with you rather than having to start again from scratch when you’re back in the office.
  • You struggled to stay visible and in the minds of your customers? Online Content Management Systems can help you manage and update your website from your phone / laptop, and integrating your social media feeds into your site keep that updated automatically.
  • You weren’t in the office to accept cheques when they arrived? Start online invoicing or link your website to your accounting software and start accepting online payments, you’ll never be caught out again.
  • Your business couldn’t deliver face to face training? Secure, private online training for individuals and groups can be just a click away, and by the time lockdown is over, that in itself may be a big part of our new normal.

So that’s my message for you today. Reach out to your team and find out what they’ve liked about lockdown, what they haven’t liked about lockdown, and what they want to take forward. I believe that going forward, we won’t go back to normal, we will go forward to normal. We’ve just got to set that new normal, find out what we want that to be – and you decide that as the business owner.

Then ask your team: What do we need to make that happen? They may well have ideas you hadn’t come up with, ideas that they will buy into more easily because they’ve been involved in the process. If any of them are around taking your business online, or improving your existing online offering – talk to us. With almost two decades’ experience in delivering bespoke online solutions to business owners around the world, we are here to meet your challenges head-on and help you thrive when the new normal finally arrives.