I think we can all agree these are exceptional times!
Going into the lockdown was easy. But coming out of the lockdown and getting back to “normal” is far more complex and in many ways reflects your views on life and how you perceive risk.
Take my family for example.
My 23-year-old daughter adhered to all the lockdown rules, although having just taken up a job in London, she suffered from the loss of her social life and seeing her friends. Recently, she perceives that there is less risk but is still very conscious of being careful and having attended one of the marches in Brighton, she has self- isolated for five days in order to protect us.
My mother who is in her 80s and is shielding, regularly phones me and tries to plan for when we can all get together again. She knows how risky it is for her, but she is not afraid and believes that life should go on. I am sure that growing up just after the Second World War has given her the steely determination that life must go on.
And then there is me, sitting in the middle, wishing that life could go back to normal but, at the moment, still very conscious of the risks.
I am sure that the different views in my family also apply to the business world.
I know some companies that kept their office open throughout the lockdown and continue to go to work every day. In contrast I am hearing that some offices will not open until next year, especially if they are based in London.
And where do I stand? Well we are going to be opening our office in Brighton in mid-July. We are taking every precaution to keep the office clean and maintain social distancing, and I for one am looking forward to properly seeing my team again.
Over the next few months, and as you try to get your business back to ‘normality’, it is very important that you keep in mind these three different views when dealing with your clients and business contacts. Really knowing and understanding your client is even more important now than it was before.
Some clients will want to have regular catch ups and will be excited to start business again. Others will still have their door firmly locked and will not want to be constantly interrupted and reminded of the risks that any new business brings. And then there are those in the middle who are eager to start again but, at the moment, are still cautious and are just starting to venture back.
In the meantime, there are other ways that you can keep your business upper most in the minds of your clients:
• Call your clients and business network, but make sure you have a plan and know what you want to discuss first and don’t phone too often!
• Take advantage of the many different forms of social media - from Facebook to WhatsApp – and be flexible. Different clients engage in different ways so make sure that you cover them all.
• Do something fun, putting together a quiz does not take much time, is easy to promote, and perhaps it could be used to help raise funds for a local charity by charging a small fee.
• Be brave and record a video. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words! So perhaps this is the time to practice speaking on camera and letting people
see you and know more about you, your business and how you could help.
• If you don’t want to be in front of the camera then how about a podcast. Many of your phones have a microphone option and an app like Audacity can be used to smarten it up.
There is never a better time than now to experiment with new ways of reaching your clients.
History is in the making right now and we will all have a major part to play over the next few months. So be brave, keep smiling and let’s come out of the lockdown together. We will meet again!