Tips for entrepreneurs in times of Corona and other restrictive measures

Posted on 06-05-2020 at 13:00 in General

And then the world comes to a halt. Suddenly we no longer have rush hours, we no longer visit each other and we switch en masse to do our shopping digitally.

Working from home. Stay six feet apart, i.e. keep one and a half meter apart. That's the new normal.

Physical stores previously struggled with the competition of the world wide web and had to change their entire strategies because of the rise of digital shopping. This now needs to be taken a step further.

The corona virus has become widespread across the globe. Hopefully you and your loved ones won't be affected by the disease, but it is impossible to avoid being affected by the measures. Everyone feels it.

Although the government is trying hard to help everyone to prevent an economic crisis, entrepreneurial Netherlands does not want to sit at home and do nothing, but instead wants to take action.
Across the country, there are several initiatives to support others. To solve problems and make the world a little better.

When this pandemic is over, we will all be a little stronger, a little better prepared and more importantly: we can enjoy the little things in life more than before.

Before that, you and your company, shop or association have to endure these difficult times.

Time to take action.

To get you started, Indeks Solutions has made an extensive list for you full of ideas and things you could do during this period.

9 financial tips

  1. Adjust your strategy.

    It is not unlikely that your current sales strategy will not work or cannot be used during the corona crisis. This can have many reasons. For example, you may be forced to a mandatory closure of your store or you cannot guarantee the obligatory 1.5 meter distance. Look for something that works. You can copy others!
    Later in this blog post we provide tips per different industry, on what you can do to change your strategy.

  2. Make sure that outstanding invoices are paid.

    In the first place, of course, go after the invoices that should have been paid long ago. Do you not have any due invoices and are you dependent on the outstanding invoices with end dates too far ahead? Maybe you can give a discount if people pay you faster.

  3. Keep communicating!

    Talk to everyone. Your suppliers, employees and customers. Good communication provides clarity. Search for solutions, make agreements and record them.

  4. Assignment in? Request a deposit.

    If you do not ask for a down payment by default, communicate why you do request that now. A deposit can guarantee the continued delivery of your services in the future. Agree and record how much the deposit is.

  5. Adjust your inventory management.

    Study your sales figures. What is actually being sold and how much is being bought? Make sure these products are in stock immediately. Everything else is apparently less important. The stock can be smaller or you don't stock it at all but instead promise to deliver it within a certain number of working days. Don't forget to make agreements with your supplier for drop shipping and especially ask them what their stocks are.

  6. Look for new opportunities of cash flow.

    Don't look at the problems, look for solutions. Be creative. Take a look at what the market needs and grab it with both hands.
    We will mention some examples later in this blog post.

  7. Change your sales pitch.

    At the time of the corona crisis, you may be told 'no' more often than you are used to. Adjust your sales pitch to convince others why it is important to make the purchase right now. Still no? Then leave your business card with a flyer or brochure , so that people can always contact you later.

  8. Get a grip on your income and expenses.

    Check all your income and expenses. Do you really need everything you buy? Drop everything that you will not use or to a lesser extent in the near future.

  9. Make use of government regulations.

    The government is doing a lot to ensure that your business survives this crisis. Take advantage of it. Contact the Chamber of Commerce for questions. Do you not have access to one of the regulations? Voice this. The government shows that it wants to help everyone and more and more branches are receiving support.

6 things you can do if you don't have website yet

Instead of hastily arranging a website now, it is wise to think about what you need first. A well thought-out plan ensures that your website can be set up quickly.

  1. What is the strategy for your website?

    Do you want to start selling products? Do you want people to be able to make appointments on your website? Do you want to inform people about the possible subscriptions and lessons?

  2. Which pages do you want on the website?

    There are a lot of pages possible. Take a look at your competitors and define which pages and any subpages you expect on your website. Describe briefly what will appear on those pages.

  3. Research your customers.

    Give them a call and ask them what they would like to see or do on your future website.

  4. Write the content of your website.

    The content of your website is extremely important. It contains the information your customers are looking for and also determines how you will be found by search engines such as Google and Bing. Writing the content takes a lot of time, so start now.

  5. Sketch.

    You probably already have an idea of how you want your website to look or which websites you like regarding design or functionality. If not, no problem.      Instead of sketching your entire website, you could also just sketch the content. Where do the pictures go? Is something highlighted? Which text is important and should it be bold or emphasised? Is there information that can be shown in tables or graphs?

  6. Arrange the media for your website.

    Make good quality photos to use on your website. It is also possible to put videos on your website of, for example, your work. If you do not currently have the opportunity to film, you can write a script that can get you started on filming after the restrictive measures.

When you have fully worked out your strategy and your website plan, you can look into creating the website yourself or hire a web designer/web developer to do it for you. Indeks Solutions is happy to help you on your way to a professional website.

6 checks you can do if you already have a website

A pandemic or crisis like the corona disease in 2020 might give you time to take a good look at your website.

  1. Check your website traffic.

    Is it as expected? What did you expect? What is realistic to expect? (If you don't have Google Analytics, now is the time to add it.)

  2. Are there elements on your website that you are not satisfied with?

    Make a list of the elements you are not happy with. Write down why and how you would like to fix it.

  3. Is the design and layout still correct?

    Much of the internet traffic goes through a mobile device. Is your website easy to read on a mobile device? If not, time for an update.

  4. Check your content.

    Are all your texts still up to date? Additional information may be needed. Is your text easy to read? Does it contain the information you want to be found on through search engines?

  5. Are new pages needed or are there pages that are unnecessary?

    Check each page and see if they are still relevant. Are your pages organized in such a way that your customer finds the information he or she is looking for?

  6. Check or expand your media.

    Media; photo's, video's and illustrations. Check the quality of your images. Are the images still correct? Are there any images you want to add?

Is your website in need of a large-scale renovation? We are happy to assist you.

9 tricks to make your website more findable

Now that the majority of the people living in the Netherlands are at home, the internet is used for many purposes. Video calling, digital meetings, jointly editing documents online, but above all a lot of searching via the world wide web.

A well-findable website is therefore extremely important at a time like this.

Making your website easy to find naturally takes time. During this corona crisis you may have a lot more time on your hands, time you can use to take a thorough look at your website.

  1. Gain insight into the findability of your website with Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

    The use of these Google tools is free. Google keeps track of which keywords your pages are found by, whether users click through to continue to other pages on your website, how often and for how long your website is visited, and much more.

  2. Perform a keyword analysis.

    What keywords do your pages rank for. Are these to be expected? If not, the textual content of your website is due for an update.

  3. Make your website readable and usable for mobile devices.

    The influence of mobile devices is enormous when it comes to findability. You can read all about it in our blog post "What is the influence of a mobile-friendly website on your findability?" .

  4. Organize your NAP (name, address, phone).

    Search for your business, organization or association and check all the websites where your address is mentioned. Is this information still up to date? Is there a link to your website?

  5. Ensure a good local findability.

    Are you found locally? For this you can create specific pages combined with a service you offer. Mentioning place names plays a big role in this.

  6. Register your company, organization or association with Google Business.

    This also affects your local findability, your ranking in the SERP (search engine results page) to be precise. Google users can leave a review. The more and higher your ratings, the better your score will be.

  7. Register your company, organization or association with Bing Places.

    This ensures that you are also more findable in the Microsoft Bing search engine, which also affects your local findability.

  8. Use social media.

    Think of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and many more. Choose the social media that best suits your industry. Create new messages and set up a strategy for these media when you schedule messages.

  9. Start a YouTube channel.

    Movies are perceived as more interesting by businesses than reading texts. Find a topic in your industry you want to talk about and grab your mobile phone. Your first YouTube videos really don't have to be of the highest quality. The more videos you make, the higher the quality should become.
    Do not forget to link to your website in the description of your videos!

4 general tips to get through the corona pandemic

  1. Enjoy!

    Continuously stressing about this crisis won't help you much. When will you ever have your family around you for such a long time again? Cherish these times with your loved ones and spend more together. For example by having extended lunches together, playing a family board game in the evening or completing a puzzle together. Make the most of this time, instead of stressing about it.

  2. No more excuses to finishing that list of tedious chores.

    Have you been looking to replace that broken lightbulb for weeks now or do you have a cabinet that is in dire need of a paintjob? Now is the time to do it.

  3. Learn something new every day.

    Have you been looking to improve your skills, but had no idea when to actually do it? Start today.

  4. Breath in some fresh air and start gardening.

    The weather outside is lovely. Remove the weeds from your garden, plant some new flowers, herbs or other plans and clean your garden furniture. Sit back, relax and fully enjoy a job well done. (You could even move your office outside!)

9 things you can do to make working from home easier and more productive

  1. Make sure you have a good seat.

    Not everyone has a good office chair at home. Consult with your employer to temporarily place your work chair at your home. This way you prevent back problems. There are initiatives that pick up your office chair from your office and deliver it straight to your home.

  2. Keep communicating

    Communicate with you colleagues, employer, customers, but also with your family. There are many options for good communication with your colleagues: Skype, Zoom, Slack, but also Discord.
    Also consider a normal phone call, an e-mail or even an old-fashioned birthday card when it's someone's birthday.

  3. Find your effective working method.

    You have probably seen the words 'work discipline' a lot lately. It is recommended that you stick to the regular office hours as tightly as possible. This is of course not possible for everyone. You are not at the office, you're at home.
    Look at what you need to stay productive. For you this could mean dressing the way you are dressed at work, but someone else could stay productive by rolling out of bed straight onto his/her office chair. Keep in mind that an effective working method for you, does not have to match someone else's.

  4. Make a schedule for yourself and your family.

    To remain as productive as possible, you naturally want as little distraction as possible. This is not always possible at home, especially if you have children. Then there are also the household chores that need to be done. Plan what work you want to finish, which household chores need to be done and plan helping the kids with their homework. Communicate clearly to the rest of your family what your schedule is. This way everyone knows where they stand.
    Also important to keep in mind: don't bite off more than you can chew.

  5. Be flexible.

    No matter how well you arrange your workplace or your workday, anything can still happen. If that means that you can do absolutely nothing in the afternoon, but only have time to work in the evening, then that's what you should do.

  6. Take a break.

    In order to empty your head completely, it is important to take breaks timely. Take an extended lunch break with the whole family, for example. Take a power nap in the afternoon.

  7. Get productive and creative with timers.

    If you still have to do those household chores, why not use them as timers. Laundry in the washing machine ready in one hour? Write down specific things you wish to finish in that hour.

  8. Find your optimal working time.

    Not everyone is able to focus 100% all day every day. Find out when you can focus best and schedule the tasks that need all of your focus.

  9. Wake up to exercise.

    We normally travel to work and wake up on the way there. Now that we're at home, that process can be a bit slower. There are several videos for simple sports exercises on TV, but also the internet. Activate your brain with these activities.

12 tips and examples for the catering and hospitality industry

  1. Offer take-away (or take-out, if you will).

    Maybe you even have the opportunity to create a (temporary) drive-in.

  2. Join forces with other businesses.

    Take meal kits as an example.

  3. Sell your (stock) products alternatively.

    Got left-overs? Is some food close to its expiry date? Sell these products through an app like Too-Good-To-Go or arrange a pick-up moment at reduced cost. Fine dining in a box, basically.

  4. Have people purchase gift cards or vouchers they can redeem with you later.

    If you've got a company situated in the Netherlands, sign up with #helpdehoreca, by Koninklijke Horeca       Nederland. If you're worried you'll only be paid in gift cards and vouchers once this whole thing blows over, you can set conditions for the use of those gift cards and vouchers. For instance: pay 1, get 1 free.

  5. Create your own meal kit with left-over food and recipes.
  6. Free Delivery.

    This could always be considered, up to a certain distance from your restaurant or for a minimum order amount.

  7. Buy or hire a food truck and cook on site.

    Do draw lines to show people how much space is needed to guarantee to live up to the 6 feet apart rule.

  8. Offer a beer or wine tasting in a box, or any other beverage for that matter.
  9. Offer cooking classes online.
  10. Help out! Prepare meals for anyone working in healthcare, working or living in nursing homes, or even food banks.
  11. Unite with fellow entrepreneurs from other branches and turn your take-out into a true experience.

    For kids you could add a toy or puzzle to a kid's meal. A romantic dinner for two could be complemented with some flowers and a scented candle.

  12. Online entertainment!

    Do you normally offer a dinner theater show? Arrange your show to be broadcast online, only accessible via an access code offered when purchasing the delivery or takeaway.

8 tips for retail

  1. Lines on the floor.

    Show your customers how much 6 feet apart really is, by sticking lines on the floor using duct tape or any other notable tape.

  2. Define the maximum amount of customers in the store.

    Put up a poster to communicate how many customers are allowed to be in your store at the same time to guarantee being 6 feet apart.

  3. Establish a pickup point.

    Set up a pickup point so that customers can avoid having to enter your store.

  4. Good hygiene is key!

    Offer soap or disinfectant to your employers, as well as your customers. Accompanied by paper towels.

  5. Transparency of products in stock.

    In your webshop or catalog, clearly state what products are in stock. If possible: state stock values per location, to make sure people do not unnecessarily travel to your store in these times.

  6. Start an online store.

    Do you already have a website? Add a webshop to it. Don't forget to add terms of delivery.

  7. Promote your (new) webshop.

    Disseminate promotional material to spread the word about your online store and to lead customers to a complete overview of your measures in case of a pandemic.

  8. Group products frequently bought together.

    This can also be a good way to sell products that might expire during the ongoing crisis, combined with other products customers often purchase alongside of those.

5 tips for freelancers and entrepreneurs

  1. Host webinars.

    Teach others about aspects of your branch by creating a webinar. Promote your upcoming webinars on wide selection of social media to attract a big audience.

  2. Have digital meetings.

    Right now we're not having an1y face-to-face meetings, but we live in an era with loads of alternatives to conduct a meeting anyway. Programs such as Skype, Discord and Zoom enable you to have a one-on-one private session with someone or even have a chat, stream or video call with 50 people all at once.

  3. Update your portfolio.

    Now is the time to add your finished projects to your portfolio. Sort out, smooth out and snapshot your best work. Bonus tip: add what you did to finish these assignments or what your role in them was.

  4. Pick up a course.

    You can pick any course you like, but a good course is one you'll be able to use or incorporate into your business later on. For instance, you could take a course in sales to enlarge your chances to successfully close deals once the pandemic's over. Perhaps a bookkeeping course is just what you need.

  5. Offer a small part of your expertise for free.

    In order to get people interested in your business, you could offer them a sneak peek of your traits for free. Are you good at graphic design? Redo someone's logo or design a sticker and offer it to a company for free, accompanied by an offer to do more designs at a special rate.

3 tips when keeping a six-foot distance isn't an option

  1. Products you normally use for your customers or clients, you can now sell. Take hair styling products if you're a hairdresser, for example.

  2. Use your skills in new ways. Are you a tattoo artist? Instead of inking your customers you could use your artistic talents to draw or paint on cards or t-shirts. Or sell your  illustrations as posters on a website like Etsy.

  3. Changing your brand's target audience or business strategy? Contact your chamber of commerce to have them temporarily change your SBI code.