What you can do with extra time

May 11, 2020

Most of these ideas take very little money – just your time. Invest in yourself and your business and you’ll be stronger and better for it on the other side of this.

In today’s current business situation, there are lots of changes happening. Fortunately, our industry is considered essential and work is currently continuing, at least from a construction standpoint. I know architects aren’t seeing clients move forward with projects that were slated to move forward in 2020. Although the situation is changing day by day (hour by hour, even!), our industry remains cautiously optimistic.

Now that you likely have a little more time on your hands, there are some things you can do for your business that won’t cost you much money. There’s no better opportunity to get these knocked out than in the upcoming weeks.

  1. Update your company handbook. Many companies have handbooks that were written years ago and haven’t been touched since. Keeping your employee handbook updated is important for retaining and recruiting talent. Review your handbook to make sure it includes your latest benefit package and company guidelines. Social media guidelines should be included in your company handbook, too. Employees need to be informed of what the policies are and what they will be moving forward. It’s a good time to write about a working from home/telecommunicating policy. You’ll want to include security and IT information in the handbook, too. Take a few hours to review it with your team.
  2. Update marketing materials. Has it been awhile since you’ve updated firm information, employee bios, and boilerplate content? Now is the time to revisit it. This would also include your content on your website. Updating information and rewriting content to tell stories helps to communicate your company message more effectively. If you aren’t familiar with Story Brand by Donald Miller, check it out. It’s a great read and talks about how you can tailor your marketing message to your clients through your marketing collateral.
  3. Read. Personal development is important regardless of what’s going on in the world. Making yourself a better leader, manager, architect, engineer, or contractor helps you in all aspects of your life – professional and personal. It’s always a good time to read those books that have been sitting on your shelf or on your Audible wish list. Be a lifelong learner!
  4. Reflect. This one is hard even for me. Take time to reflect on your business. Analyze what has worked and what hasn’t worked. Look at your business goals and see how they're going to change in the next six or 12 months, because more than likely they are going to change. No one knows what’s going to happen in the foreseeable future, but we must be as prepared as we can with the “new” normal (whatever that may be). It’s good to really look closely at your business and where you want it to go. Take time to brainstorm and write things down. When everything is stuck in your head, it’s hard to organize it. If you write it down, you can analyze and reflect more clearly.
  5. Call your clients. Now is a great time to reach out to current and past clients. Check in and see how they are doing and what’s going on in their business. Find out if there is anything you can to do help. Your clients are experiencing and feeling many of the same things you are, so maintaining that connection strengthens your relationship with your clients. Lead with empathy when you talk to them. Give them grace and be kind. Seems pretty simple, but those three things go a long way with others.

Business will be much different when we all get through the next couple months. I wish I could tell you what that looks like, but I can’t. I don’t think anyone can. Take this extra time to invest in yourself and your business. Most of the things I’ve discussed above take very little money. Just your time. You’ll be stronger and better for it on the other side of this.

Lindsay Young is president and founder of nu marketing. She can be reached at lindsay@numarketingllc.com.

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