Check out Michelle
Mone’s eight-point plan for surviving the Coronavirus crisis.
If anyone understands the challenge of overcoming adversity, business tycoon Michelle Mone does.
Raised in Glasgow’s infamous East End, the 48-year-old certainly wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth and she experienced some tough early years.
Her only sibling, a younger brother, died with spina bifida, but she battled through the pain and tough times to emerge as one of Scotland’s most successful business people.
From scratch in 1996, she developed, built and turned lingerie company Ultimo into a leading brand, before selling it a few years ago.
She remains an entrepreneur, and is also well-known as a global speaker, innovator and parliamentarian – having been awarded a life peerage in 2015 by the-then Prime Minister David Cameron.
And with the on-going Coronavirus pandemic causing suffering and uncertainty globally, here are her eight tips to help small and medium-size businesses to survive these troubled times.
1: Ask for help
Never be scared to seek help. If confused, worried or struggling, pick up the telephone and talk to your accountant, or a business adviser, or one of your peers. Be prepared to seek advice. Even check out this Government helpline. Here’s the link:
2: Don’t be embarrassed
Always be straight but tactful with your clients and customers. It’s vitally important to communicate your position honestly. Explain to them that you would appreciate their help and to be paid on time. It is not uncommon for small businesses to ask bigger companies for support. Seek exposure through positive feedback online, and chase up good reviews. The simple truth is: If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
3: Diversify and create
Make the most of your skills and knowledge. They are probably more valuable than you give them credit for. Check with your clients and/or customers if there are any other types of services you can provide for them. In times of strife and difficulty, it is vital to be as creative as you can.
Communication is always a valuable tool for running a business, both in good and bad times. Stay in regular contact with your team, as well as customers. If you can’t hold meetings around a table in the boardroom, you can always revert to Zoom, Blue Jeans or Skype. Only recently, I had a very productive meeting with five people using Zoom.
Right now, we have all been forced to change the manner in which we work. On occasions, working remotely from home can be straightforward and easily inter-changeable with going into the office. However, at other times, it may not be helpful at all to be isolated. Because of the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, life and work cannot continue as normal. If it’s not possible to work indefinitely from home, consider adopting a staggered approach to life at the office, warehouse or depot. But always follow the strict social distancing guidelines. Can you sell online or via social media? Think of new, innovative, ways to continue trading.
Are you in a position to stockpile your products? Use this difficult period to make your office, warehouse or workspace clean, organised and more efficient. For example: Do a stock check, organise your files and even perhaps move your office furniture into more convenient positions. Think about the activities you would love to do but are usually ‘too busy’ to enjoy. Use this time effectively, as this crisis will end – sooner or later.
7: Think and plan
If you are currently experiencing ‘lockdown’ or ‘self-isolation’, then this is the perfect time to reassess your goals. It’s time to think about the future, and focus on innovation. On the day-to-day hamster wheel of work, you rarely get the opportunity to take stock or make plans for either the short-term or the long-haul. You should even plan how to come back stronger than ever, when all of this is finally over. Ask yourself this question: If you predict a bounce in your industry, will your business be ready to take advantage?
8: Be responsible and kind
It doesn’t cost anything to be kind and considerate to your employees, or for them to return the compliment. Everybody needs to pull together and work as one, especially when the name of the game is ‘survival.’ We need to change the way we work, stick together and be caring. Employees can also think of ways to help the company as it navigates its way through troubled waters.