“May You Live in Interesting Times” This is allegedly an ancient Chinese curse (there seems to be little evidence of this) but still it’s a very pertinent saying at the moment. Can’t get more interesting than this, can it?
Everything which was the norm just 3 weeks ago is now out of the window. With the Covid-19 outbreak businesses have closed down overnight, workers sent home and day to day living is everyone’s main priority. It is scary, upsetting and just downright weird.
Work has been quiet over the winter as usual, but outside of work I’ve spent months slogging through mud, wind, rain and slurry dealing with my horses. They’re all getting on a bit and have various health issues so it’s been a hard time keeping them fed, medicated and just generally alive. But the one thing that kept me going was spring is on the way. Normally at this time of year the horses will be coping better and business will be picking up with sign work coming in. It all gets better. But no, not this year.
I’ve got over my mini meltdown and had chance to realise that one of the main thing this situation has given us is time. So what can we do with this time? Obviously family time is the priority but many of my customers are also business owners. If you own a business you may not be able to trade but there is plenty to be getting on with so here are some ideas for you.
- Firstly (and most excitingly!) it’s the end of the financial year….Yay! Get those books done, that accountant won’t know what’s hit them when your figures for self assessment are done by the end of April. I usually need poking with a very big stick to get them done by October but this year the accountant is in for a treat.
- Analyse your business. What’s good about it? What’s not so good about it? What you want from it when normality returns. What do you need from it and what can you do to reach your goals?
- Clear out that paperwork. Obviously we all keep on top of throughout the year because we are business professionals…. yada yada yada…. No really it’s time to get rid of your piles!
- Sort out the computers. Get rid of old files, simplify your filing system and sort out the network. All those little glitches that you put up with on a daily basis cos you’re too busy to think of a better way of doing it… Now’s your chance.
- Bring out your inner Cher… Plan your big comeback and how to go about it. Doesn’t have to be quite as big as one of Cher’s but look at how you are going to get your customers back to normality as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
- Review your marketing, any changes or improvements to branding and the best way to advertise.
- Stock take and take stock. You actually have chance to really analyse the products and services you offer.
- Tools and machinery. Don’t forget to maintain the tools of your trade, ready for action. I’ve been going out to the workshop every day to give the printer a damn good talking to. It’s a love-hate relationship – when it works properly I love it, when it’s playing up I could quite easily go all Basil Fawlty on it with a big branch. Plan maintenance schedules.
- Do you need to sorn vehicles and cancel the insurance on them? When does the MOT run out? Yes there’s a 6 month extension but your vehicle has to be roadworthy if you still need to use it. If you’re planning on changing business vehicles you have plenty of time to get scraping those decals off!!
Eventually this situation will be over and we can return to normality. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas on how we can help ourselves in the meantime.
Here’s a lovely bit of artwork from Charlie Mackesy, I think it’s a good one for our present situation. Check out his website at https://www.charliemackesy.com/