March began as usual for many small businesses in America. Executive orders that would stop entrepreneurs from conducting business were not on many people's radar. There was little time to prepare for an abrupt halt of income.
You have probably cycled through a variety of emotions: Fear, anxiety, anger, happiness, depression. While this slow-down has given many of us time with our families that is almost non-existent when you are self-employed, there is the underlying pressure to maintain your company in the midst of a shut-down. Monthly expenses will still be present despite a lack of revenue. You may find yourself struggling to be creative in times of stress. This is completely normal.
I have created ten ways for entrepreneurs to be productive despite a global pandemic. Today we will cover five of these tips and finish up tomorrow with part 2.
1. Plan for Future Business
As seen in other countries, this shut-down is temporary. While we don't know for sure when our doors will be open again, we do know that this is not going to last forever. With that in mind, you should most certainly plan for future business. One way to do that is to sell gift cards online. One positive that is emerging from this pandemic is that communities are rallying around small businesses to keep them afloat. Those who are not hit financially by this situation are actively supporting their local economies. During our time of working from home, we have moved our gift card purchases out of the Ashley Latham Photography's physical studio and onto our website. We appreciate our clients' support during this time and cannot wait to get back to doing what we do best, preserving memories!
2. Get your Books in Order
OK, self confession time; book keeping is not on of my strong suits. When business is booming, it is hard to find the extra time to make sure all accounts are reconciled and 100% up-to-date at all times without a full time office manager. My accountant knows I file an extension every year to use my slow season (January-March) to catch up on the previous year's accounting in Quickbooks. I was almost grateful this year that I had procrastinated this task because for the last two weeks of March when I was not shooting sessions, I had a job. (And it seriously took me two weeks to finish this). I can now state that my accounts are current and when my doors are reopened this will not be something I have to worry about squeezing into my schedule.
3. Learn your Trade
How often are we given time to learn? Learning a skill does not immediately bring in income and is often pushed aside in the midst of meeting client demands. When you do not have client needs to meet, it's time to focus on you. Read a book you haven't had the time to read, practice techniques in studio, work through photoshop tutorials, the sky is the limit!
Here are a few resources for any photographers out there:
Professional Photographers of North Carolina - PPNC is offering membership for April and May for online $1 per month! Click on "Join Today" in the top left then click the radio button next to "NEW MEMBER - April & May Special - $1.00." As an added benefit, PPNC has now started online monthly webinars from some awesome photographers.
This tip isn't just for photographers! When was the last time you really took a close look at your website? What could you do now to make your business more effective when you reopen? What images could you replace to show your growth since you created your website 2 years ago? Or maybe you don't have a website?! (By the way, I HIGHLY recommend Photobiz if you need a new website!!! They rock!!). Are you remaining active on your social media accounts? Taking the time to do these things now will only increase your chances of a strong comeback for the remainder of 2020.
5. Continue with Meetings Virtually
If your business relies on face-to-face interactions there are numerous apps and software to allow for this to continue. Become familiar with Zoom and Free Conference Call to connect with your clients and employees to continue conducting business while maintaining social distance.
Take time today to work through these tips to stay productive during a pandemic. Be sure to subscribe to our blog to get the additional five tips tomorrow.