The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses all over the globe, and entrepreneurs are given the responsibility of having to communicate even more effectively and responsibly with both their staff and their clients. While most business owners are not comfortable or prepared to talk about crises like these, certain communication strategies should be put in place.
Whether you’re communicating with employees about business issues during the pandemic, hoping to negotiate a rent reduction or changes to credit terms, or asking customers for help in keeping your store open, here are some thing you need to keep in mind that will help you be more effective in your communications.
It is crucial during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic that you maintain transparency regarding your company’s situation. Encourage your suppliers to work with you on a solution to be able to work through the situation together by being honest with them about your business conditions.
The same is true for your staff. Be honest with them about your company’s position, expectations during the crisis, and the adaptations that they can make to help you keep your business going.
Don’t forget to keep your clients in the loop as well. Let them know if your business is fully operational or are working at a limited capacity to set their expectations correctly and avoid having too much on your plate.
They say that “consistency is key” and with effective communication during a crisis, this holds very true. Sending a notice to your suppliers, staff, and clients during the start of COVID-19 may not be enough anymore. People will need to hear from you regularly to maintain a sense of consistency and to let them know that you are a reliable source of information.
Keep the necessary people in the loop with regards to necessary changes in your business conditions, policies, and procedures if any. If you’ve adapted a work-from-home policy for your staff, let them know that you’re there for them by maintaining a consistent form of communication.
Keep contact with your clients or customers, too, so they know of any changes that affect them. Let them know how you can help them during the pandemic — if you still can — and ways they can help you or the local community.
Set realistic claims and expectations to your clients and your staff about what you can and can’t do in light of the situation. Optimism can be appreciated but a crisis is the right time to stay real with the people who you are in contact with.
If you’re negotiating a change in your credit terms, be realistic about when and how much you can pay. If you’re looking to re-negoiate your rent agreement, be honest about what you can and can’t afford. This will help your landlord and creditors come to a reasonable agreement with you.
Remember, you aren’t in this situation alone. Countless other small business owners face the same scenario you do. Many institutions, customers and employees will do what they can to help your small business succeed, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help or tell them what you need. Being transparent, consistent and realistic with your communications will help you navigate these uncertain times.
If you need help re-evaluating your home loan or navigating through the government stimulus, reach out to us and we will be very happy to help you find out what you and your business are eligible for. If your business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, our experienced finance brokers can help you.