I virus-proofed my business – should I have bothered?

I virus-proofed my business – should I have bothered?

When COVID-19 first hit and lockdown forced the population into their homes, I thought my business was “virus” proof. I was wrong.

You see, over the years, I’ve been adopting Cloud technologies and onboarding apps that would improve productivity, allow my teams to collaborate virtually and business was effectively run on the Cloud.

We no longer needed a physical office as we could communicate virtually without borders. Meetings could be conducted on Zoom and webinar.

Accounting went digital, so all invoices were sent through an app with options to be paid directly through credit card through Stripe or by Paypal. Even QR codes sent to my client would allow them to pay direct to my account from their corporate account by phone.

But it seems a lot of businesses out there just haven’t got the message. 

So when lockdown happened, it didn’t change my daily life. Yes, I was worried for my family, hoping no one caught the coronavirus. But business wise, I was feeling pretty confident. Nothing would change for me. I could work from home as normal. I could convert enquiries online into paying projects as normal, I could instruct my virtual team as normal. Life would be per normal.

Only it wasn’t. Although I had digitised my business to be COVID-19-proof, many, many businesses have not. When the lockdown hit, they struggled to operate with staff working from home. Their processes didn’t work online. They ground to a halt.

So even though my business could run OK in the new “normal”, enquiries slowed. And worse, those who needed to settle their bills with me advised that until their offices reopened, they weren’t able to process my digital invoices. So not only are incoming projects reduced, I can’t get paid for the projects already completed. Not too much of an issue for a short 2 weeks. But as the lockdown continues and July is looking more a possibility for the economy to regroup, it’s become a problem.

We operate in an eco-system. So when the majority of players, mostly the big boys, can’t keep up, prove not to be agile, those that had the foresight to adapt are pulled down.

So, I ask, why did I bother digitising my business?

At least looking on the bright side, when we are freed from our home prisons, my business is in a position to bounce back faster than most. And in the interim period, I’m building for even greater digitisation and I’ll be first off the starting block.

Taking stock during COVID-19 lockdown

Taking stock during COVID-19 lockdown

We are all battling the Covid-19 virus in this first half of 2020. It’s not a turn of events many of us envisaged and fleeting hopes that it would resolve in a few weeks have proved unfruitful.

Different countries have taken their own approached to controlling the spread based on their demographics and size, but all have eventually come to the conclusion that a long period of isolation is the way to stop the spread.

The UK govt call of Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives. has largely been obeyed over the last 3 weeks. And it seems to now be working.

Where I live in Singapore, cases were easily contained at the beginning so no lockdown was applied but rather social distancing imposed. But with the return of infected citizens to the country, tracing proved more problematic and isolation measures have now been imposed.

Today is my fourth day in lockdown and I’ve been using the time to slow down and take stock of my priorities, what really matters in life, and am also starting to prepare my business for its next wave of growth.

Here are my observations:

  • I am luckier that a good number of business owners facing the probability of losing their business unless government support measures stretch far enough to make a difference. Unlike some, which have been asked to close their brick and mortar stores indefinitely, my business is completely online and has been for over two years. I embraced the cloud, my team work from home and all communications are made through highly effective project management software. I can talk to clients via online meetings. So it’s business as normal for me as I don’t need to change anything I do. Or it should be …

  • HOWEVER, because so many other businesses have NOT prepared for the lockdown, have NOT digitised their operations or embraced allowing staff to work from home, or brought retail online, or digitised and automated their systems, their business has ground to a halt, and the knock-on effect is that mine has too as enquiries have slowed to a trickle, and most of those are actually others promoting their wares through my forms made for enquiries only!   Grrr!

  • I’ve noticed a tendency to make do with what we’ve got. I’m cooking recipes I’d never have done before just to work with what’s in the pantry. I’m much more appreciative of the simple things and grateful that we can still get food, and basic necessities.

 

  • I’ve also evaluated how much I spend normally compared to what I’m spending in lockdown (not much obviously!) and come to the conclusion that I spend far too much on stuff that really doesn’t matter. My transport costs have gone to zero too as I walk if I go out, or I stay in. Meetings in person with clients has stopped and virtual meetings have become a norm. And I intend to try to reinforce this when things turn to normal too.

  • But most importantly, I’m using this time to get my online training and coaching business off the ground. Ideas have been coming to me left, right and centre and it’s a little overwhelming what to start on first. The possibilities and the opportunities are endless! There is so much I can teach and I’m so excited to get this all launched!

See what’s coming and get updated once my programmes launch!