By now, your news and social media feeds are flooded with one and one thing only: COVID-19. It is anxiety inducing and can be crippling for your business. I want to remind you to take a deep breath, sit down, and figure out a plan of action. Focusing on the stress won’t get you in forward action.
I'm grateful to have 30+ years of experience to get me through this season. I wanted to take some time and share some of what I've learned with you because I believe that we need each other to get through this.
The biggest thing I would recommend for you, if you haven't already done it yet, is to save, save, save. Having an emergency fund to tide you over for 3-6 months is important for a solid business continuity plan for small business. If you don’t have one, start today because it's not too late! Take a look at your financial position and ask yourself, how much do you need to maintain a positive cash flow each month? Use that as a starting point to set your monthly savings goal.
Have contracts and agreements setup for your clients and employees as well as insurance. Having these things in place will alleviate some stress since there will be many other things that will come up that you can’t plan for. When 9/11 struck and my business suffered a 40% loss over 9 months-year it was a trying time, but I re-grouped, looked at my business, made some decisions (some were really hard, I’m not gonna lie!), and mustered up the tenacity to adapt to the changes.
Speaking of contracts, not having contracts that protected me and my business interests was a huge mistake that I've made before and I don't want to see you make the same mistake. Make sure you have items in your contracts that stipulate and spelled out your cancellation policies. These are extremely important! Especially when you think that your “client” is a friend and that nothing will hurt that relationship. Times of testing often prove those notions to be wrong. If you have it spelled out to begin with, you have a starting point where each of you know where you are coming from. Then the friendship is built on knowledge, not preconceived perceptions.
Lastly, be willing to adapt to change. Things are different right now, but all is not lost.
- Offer to walk customer orders out to their car if they are picking up.
- Do a campaign about the benefit of fresh flowers and how it helps your overall mood.
- Offer free delivery within a certain mile range this week. Of course, don’t let it drain your budget. Figure out on average how many deliveries you make in one week and then multiply that number x the cost of your delivery charge. This will give you an idea of how much that would cost you in marketing for this. This is especially helpful if you have a cooler full of fresh blooms that need to be sold! Better to get them out the door and into some customers hands!
Dear friends, I know this is hard. Know that I'm praying Peace to all of you during this time. May all that you do, bring you peace as all will work out. This too shall pass. Be of courage!
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