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My Strategy For Surviving Coronavirus
By Danny Matthews of Danny&co. Limited, who lives in Swindon and started his business in August 2019. He aims to give leaders, employees and clients Brand Confidence, through offering branding, design and content.
When did you realise the Coronavirus could be a problem for you and your business?
As someone who doesn’t routinely watch the news I didn’t get the full extent of what happened in China until someone mentioned about Italy and other European countries closing their borders and flights were suspended between the US and the EU.
So I first realised it could be a problem for me that weekend (14th March) because I had several emails regarding ongoing work and projects due to start, so began assessing the extent of the impact it could have on the business.
I am the owner of the business however I have a remote freelance team who support me with larger projects so I also had to start assessing the impact to them too.
Fortunately we have always been set up as a remote business so our problems were more secondary to that of our clients. This meant that I had to quickly come up with ways to help them retain their clients.
What has been your plan to continue?
In a crisis like this - whether health, economy or other causes - we have to be mindful of how we communicate. I quickly made the distinction between personal contact for clients and then finding ways to help an audience of many.
The first thing I did was immediately self-isolate for the safety of my family and possible encounters. Then drew out a list of things I needed to do in a self-isolated situation.
For the business, that looked like:
1. List all of the things I never got round to, always wanted to experiment with or put-off as a ’someday’. For me this was creating our own typeface or font at Danny&co., start a DIY virtual branding course online, write a book about branding for businesses, create a content guide and test an unlimited graphic design service.
2. List active projects and prospects, then map out each client's business, projects, pains and find ways to help them where they are now. That means breaking down larger projects into smaller pieces, stretching timelines or in a few cases speeding the process up. For smaller jobs and repeat clients, extending invoice terms.
3. Restructured my diary and compartmentalised tasks by day - a day for calls, a day for admin, a few days for design, branding, workshops etc.
4. Found pockets of time and used it to give back. One example of this is the ‘Virtual Watercooler’ - an open video call via Zoom that anyone can join to break up the day, chat, network and help them feel not so isolated. It happens every day Monday to Friday at 12:30 for an hour.
5. Make time for exercise, fun, creative experimentation as I usually would - if not more
6. Create a list of things that need doing every day and get to it!
What advice would you give to others in business?
Some of the biggest and most successful businesses of our time started in a crisis including GE, Burger King, Amazon, Apple and more.
Our ability to adapt quickly will be the key to survival.
Do not plan for the short term. We will not go back to ’normal’. We will come out of this a different economy, with a different way of working, a different mindset and culture. A different world.
Try to see opportunity in adversity. Be especially good to your people. Companies who hastily made employees redundant will remember it forever,. We are already getting a picture of who are the heroes and who are the villains. Which one are you?
What can we do to help each other?
There have been some great initiatives to help each other on a local level with cards through the door offering help and Joe Wicks doing PE virtually. Don't forget to look for those who are doing 'stuff' locally. We can and should be trying to come up with solutions every day to our clients’ problems - that’s what we’re here to do anyway as businesses, but the way you do it is likely to change forever so now is the time to innovate.
I have been contacted by several designers who have lost their jobs, so I have removed the limit from the retainer I offer to creative and marketing agencies to help them fulfil client contracts and help me give work back to the creative community.
I have also set up a referral scheme. Anyone can now become part of the ‘&co.’ family and earn up to 20% commission for life on any business their referral gives to us.
- HEALTH & PERSONAL
I made a commitment early on to self-isolate, only going out for urgent supplies and having no contact with other people. I think we should all do our best and accept that we may get the virus but not to panic and do everything necessary to build our immune system.
What do you think can be learned from this in the business world?
Small businesses make up the majority of the economy and have the ability to adapt quickly. Society as a whole may have a renewed respect for the little businesses they come across in their own communities.
Your parting thought?
We will probably learn to respect our time, our people, our work, our space and hopefully do more of what we love.
For more information visit www.dannyand.co