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Help and advice for businesses during the Covid-19 Outbreak.

Help and advice for businesses during the Covid-19 Outbreak.

Here at Northern Monkey we are already seeing a few of our clients suffer from the current situation which is having a dramatic effect on their business especially those in the hotel, tourism and catering sectors.

As a company who have been trading for nearly 15 years we have seen economic slumps before and have helped clients through two recessions historically as well as thriving with our own business at the same time.  We are always here to offer free advice and help and if you wish to discuss any concerns you have with your business then do please get in touch. All of this is offered to all businesses and not just existing clients, so if you know of anyone struggling please let them know that we are here to help.

The Government is also realising that this will have a huge financial impact on UK in the coming weeks and have already started to put together a strategy to help support businesses, it’s worth keeping an eye on the main Government website at www.gov.uk

During this time many of us may have to self isolate or work from home as a precaution. Some sectors will find this difficult admittedly but there is some software out there that may be of help.

Please find a list below of the most popular ones that we would recommend.

Conference and team management software. 

We regularly use this software within Northern Monkey not only for our international clients or clients further afield but also internally in the office. It helps us easily send files between staff members and is often less disruptive than shouting across a busy workplace or adding to their email inboxes. We have seen a huge increase in clients requesting video meetings instead of a face to face meeting for obvious reasons but to be honest this isn’t a bad thing. As much as we love to see all of our clients and have a good catch up over a coffee video conferencing can be much more time efficient for both parties especially if traveling is involved. The UK seem to be a little behind the rest of Europe in utilising this and even more so than the US who use this technology daily. Now may be the time to integrate this into your business more.

https://www.skype.com/en/

Popular and easy to use, has a simple text chat system. Allows for file transfers.

https://zoom.us/

A little more in-depth than Skype, easy to use and widely adopted by many businesses who may already be familiar with this software. Also allows for file sharing and screen sharing too.

https://zoom.us/

A little more in-depth than Skype, easy to use and widely adopted by many businesses who may already be familiar with this software. Also allows for file sharing and screen sharing too.

https://teams.microsoft.com/start

This is included with office 365 packages so you may already have this software in place.

Project and Staff Management Software.

It may be easier to organise staff and projects by using dedicated online software. Please see below a few of the most popular scheduling and project management tools available.  We use a combination of a few of these here at Monkey and it helps us to keep organised, work remotely and try be as paper free as possible. Remember its always better to work smarter than harder and online management software allows businesses to do this.

https://monday.com/

Management Project software. This is ideally for keeping staff and clients alike in the loop with ongoing projects and allows you to easily schedule tasks and projects.

https://asana.com/

Similar to monday.com, and another popular choice in the UK

https://www.zoho.com/projects/

Zoho is becoming an industry leader in the UK now and is becoming more and more popular as it also offers a host of other business tools which seamlessly links into this. There is also an option to bespokely customise this for your own unique business needs and this is something we have done as a business here at Monkey so you may want to build upon this in the future.

https://trello.com/

Trello is an easy to use project management system allowing you to easily create project boards and attach relevant files to these which can be shared. We like Trello here at Northern Monkey and they also offer a wide range of bolt ons to offer a tailored solution.

Other tips that may help….

In addition to the above we have also put a few things below which may have not been considered and may help.

Phone Systems

Remember most modern phone systems can easily be diverted to go through to mobiles especially if you are using a VOIP system, it may be worth speaking to your provider to see what they can offer.

Answer Machines Messages

Again there are many options available from modern phone systems these days, it may be worth considering putting customised voicemail on your phone line and then asking the caller to choose options such as press 1 for…. 2 for…….. etc in order to divert the call to the right homeworker / person in the business mobile. Again best to discuss this with your provider as there will be lots of options available to you.

Remote Email Access

Many hosting providers (like ours) offer direct access to any email accounts set up on the hosting server. So if you normally work form a desktop computer you can still access your emails via the online version from home on any device. Get in touch with the company who set up your emails and ask them if this is in place and available to use. Likewise if we set up your email accounts as part of your website and you feel this will be of use then please do get in touch. There is no additional charges associated with this. 

Get Social

There is no better time to make announcements to your clients via social media so keep them updated via your social media platforms. Your clients may be wondering if you are still open for business and if there is anything different they need to do in order to still work with you so keep them updated. After all the first place they will look is on your social media. Don’t forget to share any posts that your clients, suppliers or businesses you work alongside have posted as they will need your help and support too.

If you are having to close your offices don’t forget to amend your opening times on your Facebook Account as you don’t want anyone turning up at your door if there is no one there.

Websites

Have you updated your opening hours? Do you require a pop up message on the home page to notify of urgent messages? Is your live chat system being monitored? as its likely to receive more requests than normal. All of these are things to consider

Get Organised.

If business is a little quiet then why not take this opportunity to organise the business more, get the accounts up to date, review your systems and procedures and get in touch with some of your older clients who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Look at new software to implement such as those mentioned above to see if any of these will have any long term benefit for your business. Also why not look into online training courses for yourself and your staff, this may be something they can do if their normal duties cannot be performed as normal and will add a greater benefit to your business after this crisis.

Its also often a good time to check all of your IT, run system scans for viruses, see if they need any updates so when you do get busy again they can handle it. If they are getting old or you need more portable devices don’t forget that there are companies out there that rent hardware which may suit you better than purchasing it outright or just to cover you until you return to work.

Review your contracts, maybe now is a good time to do all the research that you just haven’t had time for previously? Check if you are on the lowest electricity and gas rates, look into if you are due renewals for your mobile phones and negotiate better rates, all of this will help you get up to speed much quicker once the pandemic has come under control.

We hope the above has been of some benefit to you, remember we are available to speak to if you wish to discuss any of the above and please feel free to share this information to help others.