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 the CEO of a technology company, it was easy to immediately direct my employees to work from home since we can operate normally 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 COVID-19 best practices we have implemented that I think could be useful to you. We stand ready to support you in providing the valuable and vital services you provide to your community.
Connecting with staff via virtual platforms is easy (zoom.us, join.me, meet.google.com are free applications we use regularly) but also consider how you can move instruction online. For example, can you do 1-on-1 video conference lessons to make up for lost classes? Can you give your students “homework” assignments by 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 class virtually.
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 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. First, evaluate your costs 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 with whom you can negotiate terms? 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. At this delicate time, the key for all of us is to preserve capital.
Think about revenue
Even if your physical doors are closed or if you have limited attendance, you should still be thinking about revenue. For example, do you have a payment management system like Finli that allows you to collect payments digitally? Are there back payments that you can now dedicate time to chasing down? For example, can you offer a promotion for prepayments, gift certificates, or specials to incentivize students to pay for future services? This is a win-win solution.
Keep morale high
The community, parents, and students look to you as a role model. Adopt a flexible paid sick policy and keep paying your workers for as long as possible.
Ed and Ryan’s mom
Finli Founder & CEO
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