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My Strategy For Surviving Coronavirus
By Martin Jarvis, Director of Swindon's DMJ Computer Services Ltd which has for over 35 years offered website development, support and hosting.
When did you realise the Coronavirus could be a problem for you and your business?
In March, when one of my clients furloughed 50% of their workforce, and started looking for other ways to cut their costs.
What has been your plan to continue?
My plan has been to keep going and to do whatever is possible to keep my clients going too.
How have you changed your business as the weeks have passed?
We had been planning to launch a paid SEO/SEM service. Whilst this is now (slightly) on the back-burner, we are offering a cut-down version of the package (free) to clients that are renewing their support plans with us during the crisis.
This gives them a little extra value, whilst also helping their websites to come out of this stronger.
We are also being a little more considerate about billing extra time to clients over and above their retained time, and emphasising to clients that they can renew on quarterly, rather than annual terms, to help their cashflow.
Have you been able to access any government support?
We have the opportunity to furlough one employee, but are not doing so. We prefer to continue working through the crisis to make sure we take any work advantage that is available out there, and to ensure that there are no cobwebs to dust off once the restrictions are lifted.
My own personal view is that I don't want to add to what will already be a huge public debt burden once we get over this.
What positive behaviours have you seen in business since lockdown?
I've been reminded of the great adabtability and resilience of many businesses. These are the ones that will not only survive after the crisis, but will thrive.
Have you seen any negative behaviours by business since lockdown?
The eagerness of a few business owners to seek government aid even when they don't need it.
We are generally critical of people who 'know how to play the benefits game', but I kind of see the same happening with some companies in the business world now.
By doing it, we are just building up a bigger national debt.
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Accept that there will be times (some extreme) where income will dip. It's in the good times that you need to retain cash in the business, rather than giving large payouts to shareholders or over-stretching aggressively to grow.
What can we do to help each other?
Listen to each other. Keep meeting, if only online. Refer like crazy.
Your parting thought?
I suspect that this crisis will leave a lasting impression on many new, and would-be, business owners. They may now be considering employment rather than business ownership going forward. This could allow stronger businesses to do better, with less competition, but could also deprive the business World of genuine innovation. So I would urge government to keep their foot on the gas to encourage and incentivise entrepreneurs to keep having a go.
For more information visit https://dmjcomputerservices.com