With COVID-19 cases on the rise and an increasing number of state and regional shelter in place orders, many of you are facing sharp declines in business at a minimum and possibly even a full-blown shutdown. Whether you have been forced to close by a state mandate or have chosen to out of concerns over the outbreak, facing a shutdown or extreme slowdown with no certain end in sight is likely among the most challenging situations you’ve encountered as a business owner. But it also could be a rare opportunity if your focus is on how to maximize the slowdown.

The bustle and grind of day-to-day operations, customers, and employees has quieted. What better time to step back, assess, and reflect? What has your business been sorely needing that you just haven’t gotten around to? What big project or fresh idea piqued your interest that you never have time to work on? Now’s your chance to finally get to all those things you “really should do” but usually don’t have time for.

In this period of uncertainty and hardship, let’s focus our efforts on the things we can control—reflecting on what matters, making new choices, and accomplishing tasks that will improve our businesses (for ourselves and our employees) when we reach the other side of this pandemic. To help you maximize the slowdown, we’ve gathered some of our best articles that contain the kinds of great ideas, inspiration, and advice you might not have had time to implement yet.

Marketing

A strong marketing strategy and a professional, compelling website can set your company apart from the competition, but it’s often hard to find the time to meticulously design, update, and finetune these big-picture elements when you are also balancing the day-to-day operations of your company. This slowdown is the perfect time to review your marketing and refresh your branding. Read on for ideas about how to develop new marketing sources, spruce up your website, and maximize your SEO effectiveness.

Management and operations

Steve Toburen has written a series of articles on how to streamline your business and improve productivity by implementing management systems. Take a look back at some of Steve’s solutions to common problems. Now may be the perfect time to modify or develop similar management systems to address your own problem areas. For the management systems you’ve already implemented, take this opportunity to evaluate and finetune them.

Hiring and retention

With record unemployment claims and an economy in limbo until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, the landscape for hiring and retaining employees is sure to shift in the coming months. However, some things remain true no matter the economic landscape: hiring and keeping the best employees will pay dividends when it comes to the success of your business, and employees that are fulfilled, challenged, cared for, and trusted will give you their loyalty and their best work.

Now is a great time to review your hiring practices, employee incentive programs, and company culture to ensure that when it’s time to get back to work, your company is poised to attract and keep the best of the best. And if you already have some of these programs in place, like mentorship, keep them going even as your business slows or shuts down for a time. Now more than ever, employees need to feel that their companies care for their wellbeing.

Facing our new reality

Our trade shows may be canceled as we physically distance ourselves, but our community is as alive and connected and supportive as it ever was. If you’re feeling lost or isolated as a business owner during this time, reach out to others in the industry. We may not have answers, but there’s comfort in solidarity. There’s comfort too in stepping up to help in times of need, as our industry does so well. We have expertise and equipment that may be uniquely useful in the face of this outbreak, so what are some ways you and your company might be able to help?

Take a look at how the cleaning and restoration industry is dealing with supply chain issues in this unprecedented time.

It’s a tumultuous time for our industry and the economy at large, but good things can come out of this period of struggle. Take a look at the current reality for the cleaning and restoration industry and start preparing now for what comes next and how our industry will respond to and emerge from this pandemic.