Like many of you, I am also a small business owner with questions. How long will this pandemic last? How long will it take for the economy to bounce back? How can I keep my employees and customers safe? As a technology company, it was an easy decision to immediately direct my employees to work from home since we are able to operate normally completely remotely. But this is a much more difficult decision for the neighborhood schools and enrichment programs we serve. So I find that the most urgent question in my mind at this time is, what can we do to help you?
As a small step, today I want to share some best practices we have implemented that I think could be useful to you. We stand ready to support you in providing the valuable and important services that you provide to your community.
Connect virtually: Connecting with staff virtually is easy (zoom.us, join.me, meet.google.com are free applications we use regularly) but also consider how you can move instruction online. Can you do 1 on 1 lessons through video conference to make up for lost classes? Can you give your students “homework” assignments watching YouTube videos or reading online content? Consider creating recorded content that you can use later when individual students are out sick. Parents will appreciate proactivity in keeping stir-crazy kids entertained. Get our 6 step guide on how to hold any kind of class virutall
Digitize your records: Take this opportunity to finally clean up your client directory and files by migrating the boxes of paper applications from years ago onto a digital solution. This doesn’t need to be an expensive software – there are many tools, such as Google Suite where you can manage a good deal of information for free. This will help make regular operations and future disruptions more smooth. Here’s a simple template you can use to collect customer info and begin streamlining the process.
Think about expenses: Trim expenses wherever you can. Evaluate all your expenses and categorize them into “Must Have” versus “Good to Have.” Are there any expensive service providers that you’ve been thinking about moving away from and just haven’t found the time to talk with and assess alternatives? Are there service providers you can negotiate terms with? Even though your school may be closed for the next few weeks, that does not mean you pay lower fees for software or other recurring costs. The key for all of us at this delicate time is to preserve capital.
Think about revenue: Even if your doors are physically shut or you have limited attendance, you should still be thinking about revenue. Do you have a payment solution in place like Finli that you can collect payment digitally? Are there back payments that you can now dedicate time to chasing down? Can you offer a promotion for prepayments, gift certificates, or specials to incentivize students to pay now for future services? This is a win-win solution.
Keep morale high: The community, parents, and students are looking to you as a role model. Adopt flexible paid sick policy wherever you can and try to keep paying your workers for as long as possible.
Ed and Ryan’s mom
Finli Founder & CEO