2020 has been a rough year for sure. Professional services businesses have been especially challenged after many were completely shutdown for some time due to COVID-19. Even those that managed to keep their doors open saw a dramatic decrease in new and existing client interactions at the office.
From lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing to what seems to be the never ending challenges associated with government action in response to COVID-19 cases – it seems to us that the new normal has morphed into the now normal. A recent study found that 92% of small businesses are experiencing adverse effects because of the pandemic.
Even the Vimagery Team has not escaped the challenges related to coronavirus business disruptions. How can a business put a stop to the dominos falling and start to rebuild after a business disruption? Well, we developed and implemented a business recovery plan as part of our business continuity strategy, and with it, we have been able to get back on track and keep our business going. We want to help you to keep your business going as well. That's why we have decided to share with you some ways on how to rebuild your business despite the fact that Covid-19 doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
CREATE A BUSINESS RECOVERY PLAN
What Is A Business Recovery Plan?
The Vimagery Team defines a business recovery or business continuity plan as a process of creating and implementing systems to continue the ongoing operations of a business and its services, regardless of economic crisis, natural disasters, a pandemic, or any other sustained business disruptions. It includes, identifying a range of possible threats and then drafting a recovery process on how to resume operations through those incidents. Usually, this is retrenching the ultimate goals and letting the pursuit of those less important goals be paused until the company can fully recover. That might sound extremely logical, but unfortunately, logic tends to fly out the window when we are dealing with an emergency and are “real time” in the thick of the chaos that ensues.
How To Create A Business Recovery Plan?
Creating a business recovery and continuity plan requires some effort on your part. There are six steps in a well thought out business recovery and continuity plan.
Step 1: Business Analysis & Disruptions Impact Study
This is when you identify the business operations, processes, and resources that would be impacted based on a specific type of business disruption event. Then you analyze what that might do to the business over different periods of time. In other words, it’s a way of predicting the impact of disruptions and collating well-researched information to be used so that you can develop a strategic recovery plan in case of such emergencies.
Step 2: Determine Classes Of Threats
In this step, you determine the severity of different types of threats that could impact your business and begin to prioritize resources that can be called upon to help you deal with such threats. By segmenting these threats according to scenarios, you can build testing protocols to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies that will be implemented to deal with them.
Step 3: Draft A Readiness Plan & Develop Your Recovery Plan
Based on the analysis that you’ve done up to this point and the determination of classes of threats that could impact your business, you should draft a “readiness” plan. In other words, without any additional processes and procedures being created or implemented, you should determine how “ready” your business is at this time to deal with these threats should they arise. Then take that candid information and begin to develop your plan of action to improve upon your business’ current ability to deal with these threats.
Step 4: Business Continuity Team
Appoint leaders for your business continuity team. The team should have proper training and regular testing of the business contingency plans in order to increase preparedness.
Step 5: Maintain The Plan
In this step you work to keep the continuity plan in operational order. You should conduct regular reviews of the plan and update it based on new information learned.
Step 6: Mitigate Risks As Soon As Possible
This may not necessarily be part of your business recovery plan, per se, but mitigating risks as soon as possible is an important step that some don’t think about ahead of time. Every second lost is lost forever. Time is a non-renewable resource, so don’t waste it. If a challenge arises that adversely impacts your business, don’t wait on the sidelines hoping that it will go away or resolve itself. Act fast to mitigate the hardship threats can impose on your business.
SERIOUS GAME-CHANGERS FOR PROFESSIONALS
QUICK TIPS FOR ENTREPROFESSIONALS
1. Continue To Invest In Marketing
While some professionals think that this pandemic will be the end of their businesses, you should never give up. Consider this recession as a once in a lifetime opportunity to stand out. Take advantage of this situation because many of your competitors are cutting expenses, which has resulted in a pause to their marketing campaigns. This can be your opportunity to stand out by investing in marketing, specifically in digital marketing. An added bonus is that a side-effect of the general business contraction due to the Corona Virus Health Emergency is that digital marketing is way less expensive than it was this time last year.
But, even if it’s less expensive now, some might still find it financially challenging during this economic downturn. Regardless, we believe that it might just be the best time in recent history to build brand awareness because many of your competitors are, for the most part, silent and seemingly unable to make a move. With that, you’ll likely end up generating more traffic and obtaining an unfair advantage in the months and years to come.
2. Publish More Content
A great way of coping with change and adapting to the now normal is to develop and publish more content and to distribute that content across multiple digital channels. A study from CMI says that content is one of the most effective ways to promote a business, and 72% of marketers said that content marketing increases their total number of leads. But aside from that, what exactly are the benefits of publishing more content?
● Increase Online Traffic – When you consistently develop and publish content to digital channels such as social media platforms, email, and even your website, you have the ability to develop more web visitors. As a result, people will get more familiar with your business.
● Build Brand Awareness – Let's be real, when you first started your business, no one knew about who you were professionally, right? It can take years to develop brand awareness the old fashioned way of physically meeting with strangers and shaking their hands (or elbow bumping now that handshakes are out due to COVID-19). When you publish more content, however, you have the ability to increase online traffic and build brand awareness much more quickly.
● ROI Growth – We have yet to meet an entreprofessional who decided to open a business with the goal of not making money. We’re sure you were hoping to be profitable when you first started out. Now that you’ve been in business, it’s likely that simple “profitability” goals have been replaced with ROI Growth Goals. Developing and publishing more content that gets consumed by your target audience positions you to better nurture that audience through your sales cycle. When they get to know you, like you, and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. That’s the goal after all.
In fact, one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your sales and ROI is through publishing more content. It's often one of the least expensive marketing initiatives. Also, given the fact that so many people are online these days, your chances of reaching and engaging with them through digital channels have increased.
3. Build New Sales Channels
One of the things we've learned during this pandemic is the value of being flexible. With more people relying on the internet, we realize that building new sales channels is a necessary move to keep business going. We found out that companies that have only one sales channel, such as in-person visits at the office, clinic, or shop … they are the businesses struggling the most to keep up during this pandemic.
4. Connect & Reconnect With More People
With the uncertainty that coronavirus has caused, thinking that it may be impossible to make up your lost profit is understandable. We’re confident that many business owners feel this way. Instead of being frustrated, though, we encourage you to start connecting and reconnecting with your existing and new audience members, interested prospects, and clients. Engage with more people to capture their attention and win their business.
RESILIENCE IS KEY
In the business world, there is no certainty. While there seems to be no end in sight regarding this pandemic, the only way to work toward thriving in the months and years to come is to be resilient. A business that is coping well with and adapting to these changes will most likely succeed. Thus, it would be best if you continued to push harder even during these times, and one thing that proves that you're willing to move forward is to draft your business recovery plan for your professional service firm. Remember, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. So, keep moving forward, apply these recovery tips, and be successful.
Creating a Business Recovery Plan is no easy task. It requires research, preparation, planning, and strategizing. If you are still unsure regarding what steps to take next, click here to see if you qualify for a Vimagery Strategy Session. Together, we can help you to gain an unfair advantage regarding your efforts to cultivate, convert, and close new clients in the weeks and months ahead.