November 21, 2020

Maintaining Small Business Communication During COVID

Trying to maintain communication with your employees and clients during the COVID outbreak is a challenge many are dealing with. These tips will help you keep-up

Trying to maintain communication with your employees and clients during the COVID outbreak is a challenge many are dealing with. We've all had to keep up with changes to structure's we've been used to. If you're struggling to figure out how to keep track of everything, here are our tips on staying in touch with your small business community, your talent, and your current customers.

Communicating with Employees Staying at Home Because of COVID

A lot of businesses are being forced to work remotely due to COVID-19, and that is hurting a lot of communication between employees and managers. But this doesn't have to be a breaking point for your business. Some employees at my company have been working from home since our inception, but something I have learned is how to make sure that every employee achieves the work that they need to do, while also giving them the freedom to take care of things at home. With so much chaos going on, there needs to be enough flexibility for the needs of everyone to be met.

Tips to work from home flexibly

When it comes to working from home, you need to make things equally beneficial to your employee and to you. Set some boundaries on hours that would accommodate both parties. Do you need core hour coverage all the time? Can you live with some of the downtime? What's urgent vs. an emergency? If you need to be reachable from 11 am-2 pm, make sure your employees know that.

I also recommend putting weekly status reports in place to judge and track how much work gets completed by employees. It's not a test, but a form of communication. Document how much work is done and by when, and if necessary share this information with other parts of your organization.

Finally, you'll have to really think about how the role will need to be adapted so both parties' needs can be met. Put a simple policy in place to notify the rest of the workforce about how to manage distance working and flexible hours.

Communicating with Your Customers

Every business handles social media a different way. Right now, that is even more true. Maintaining communication with your employees is one thing, but if you want your customers to know that you're still in business during COVID, you need a presence of some kind. Inform your customers of what is happening, and how you are of service. This doesn't have to be a one-way street, either.

We use LinkedIn to handle most of our business-to-business communication, and we've been doing that since before COVID changed  everything. Even though LinkedIn has become more crowded and the audience a bit more jaded, it's still one of the best platforms for B2B selling and work. That said, there are three tips I recommend most.

Plus you need to remain top of mind when your business, service, or storefront comes back online.

Our 3 Key LinkedIn Tips

First, realize that building a network takes time. Get to know people you communicate with, don't just assume that you can sell to them off the bat. There are people on the other end of the computer as well.

Second, quality content is key. We've found it helpful to track each post to see what gets the most views and the most likes. By doing so, we found patterns within our audience that we wouldn't have found via the standard recommended tools.

Finally, make sure that you're using LinkedIn and Sales Navigator for everything it is worth. Their social selling index and groups can be really useful if used properly.

But What Else?

This is all just a starting point. For many, these communication tips won't end with COVID, because businesses are likely to change. But staying in touch with the two people most valuable to your business -- your customers and your coworkers -- is key.

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About the Author

Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile

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