As the COVID-19 global health crisis brings uncertainty and elevated levels of stress and anxiety for small business owners, now, more than ever, is the time to come together and support each other.
If your team is adjusting to working remotely for the first time, if you’ve had to temporarily close your bricks and mortar shop, or you've had to pause on your work as a sole trader, you’re not alone. We’re all in this together and as a business community it’s important to lean on one another and lift each other up during these uncertain times. Connecting with others in your local business community can help you to share the burden.
Here are some practical ways you can stay connected and support each other, both on a business and personal level.
Pick up the phone
With so much uncertainty, it may help to reach out to your professional network for advice and support on the specific challenges and frustrations you are facing. There may be something practical you can do to support each other or it may just feel comforting to talk things through with someone who is going through the same things.
In the coming weeks, there may be other ways you can start to support each other beyond just moral support. Like cross-promotional activities on social media or co-hosting a virtual event.
Reach out via LinkedIn
Reach out to your connections on LinkedIn too. Drop your contacts a message of support. Or if you want to seek advice from others in a similar position to you, why not share a post asking your connections for their opinions? At the very least, seeing others respond to your query could give you a much needed boost.
Look for virtual networking opportunities
As people stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they are flocking to video platforms like Google Hangouts and Houseparty to stay connected to their wider friends and family. Businesses are also becoming used to virtual team meetings as they move to remote working and dispersed teams.
Communicating through video conferencing technology is becoming the new normal. And it can also be leveraged to bring together business communities.
At the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, we are currently exploring opportunities to make our networking events virtual. Virtual networking events have been gaining in popularity in recent years as a fun, inexpensive and convenient way of bringing people together. We hope to be able to share more information about our offering soon.
Member to member support
At the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, we have a member to member emergency helpline if you are looking for Legal, HR or Financial support. A number of our Chamber members have kindly agreed to offer their expertise to fellow members in the form of an initial 15-minute emergency advice line. If you are a member of the Beds Chamber, please contact Justin for a list of contacts. Or if you’d like to find out more about our Member 2 Member offers, click here.
Connect with your local Chamber of commerce
At the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, we understand that the COVID-19 situation is putting a significant strain on much of your day-to-day operations. And in this time of uncertainty, we remain fully available to answer any of your queries.
We can continue to support businesses with export documentation and advice, raising your business profile, and providing clear and actionable information around business guidelines in light of COVID-19. We can also direct you to other members in specific sectors who may be able to help you with your needs, such as HR and Finance.
Every business, no matter its size or sector is currently facing unprecedented challenges; challenges we can only overcome by working together and supporting each other.
Networking and deepening your relationships within your local area will help bolster the economy of your local business community both now, and in the future when the dust finally settles.
For up -to-date business advice on coronavirus, please visit the British Chambers of Commerce Covid-19 Business Guidance Hub.