The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented disruption to the way we work and live.
When events like these take place, it is tempting to batten down the hatches, shut up shop, and hope that the storm passes quickly.
I believe that is the wrong approach. I think this is the time to be bold, smart, and think of innovative solutions to the problems our businesses face. If, like me, you employ a lot of people, there is no excuse for doing nothing and waiting for redundancies to become unavoidable.
We need to work out how to help our customers through this difficult time. We must also figure out how to win new business, despite the constraints. We need to find novel ways to motivate our teams. And we must be considerate of customers and suppliers who are struggling.
I know it’s not easy. At BigChange, everyone will be working from home for the foreseeable future. That means we essentially have 160 separate offices in operation in 4 countries.
That is why I have introduced a daily catch-up call for each department, starting with a sales call at 9am. On each call, the first priority is mental health. We check in on everyone in the team to make sure they are coping. We make sure we talk about the successes of yesterday and praise hard work and ingenuity.
This daily contact and support is going to become even more crucial once the schools close today. Every working parent will need flexibility and understanding from employers.
We have also introduced a buy now, pay later scheme for both new and existing customers that buy more licences. We are allowing them to run BigChange for six months before we start charging. We hope that will help to alleviate some financial pressure in the short-term.
For customers who are concerned about the safety of employees at this time, and wish to track their engineers and workers out on the road, BigChange can track vehicles through its app – we don’t even need to come and fit a tracker. This may be useful if the rumoured lockdowns do take place.
Our priority is to help customers to keep trading. This is why we have updated our software with up-to-date COVID-19 guidance and risk assessments. This is essential for mobile workers.
Cashflow is going to be extremely important over the next few months, so I advise every business owner to keep a close eye on it. If you haven’t already, it’s time to make reductions from the ‘nice to have’s and focus on the business-critical expenses, such as paying suppliers.
I am not immune to the climate of fear out there but I refuse to panic, or let it destroy my business. Let’s get through this together.