As a remote-based team, we are pros at working virtually and managing our team and operations at a distance. However, this season of social distancing brings adjustment for us all.

Every business and leader we know is busy pivoting. Schedules, operations, communication with clients, and upcoming plans must adapt.

While our team gets used to more time spent at home while social distancing, we’ve put together a helpful list of ways we are taking advantage of the extra time to work on personal and professional development.

1. Support the local small business community

As businesses adjust their offerings, hours, and methods of delivery to accommodate social distancing, we are proud to support as many of them as we can. We’re noticing local business owners innovate and rapidly roll out fine-tuned services and products, then refine them based on performance and customer feedback.

Our team has picked up meals from favorite restaurants, stocked up on espresso from local coffee shops to fuel working from home, purchased gift cards for future services, and ordered gifts for milestones that can’t be celebrated in person.

For the Des Moines community, multiple Facebook groups have been formed for small businesses to find resources and broadcast updated offerings. A few that we are in:

Also, when you purchase local, make sure to post about it! Small business and location-specific hashtags are popping up in many social media posts, including #DSMstrong and #DSMlocalchallenge.

2. Listen and respond to our clients’ needs

During such an unprecedented time, we find it helpful to turn to our clients to learn what they need from us in the coming weeks. Here are some of the questions we asked:

    • What challenges are you currently facing?
    • What is your top priority today/this week?
    • What questions do you have about (our industry) right now?
    • What do you need to move forward?

These conversations offered a look at what our clients (and likely others) are thinking, doing, and asking. From there, we got to work altering our services to address those needs.

We took the route of offering new packaged services to address the immediate needs of small business owners and leaders. These Starter Kits provide quick hits of value with short turnarounds (five business days or less) and discounted pricing.

3. Strengthen systems and processes

As the world turns to online platforms more than ever before, this time has offered an opportunity to review our current operational practices and rethink their ability to pivot in unforeseen circumstances.

Internally, we have evaluated the processes and software we currently rely on. The past couple of weeks have put them to the test, and as a result, we are adding greater detail to team workflows and testing out trials of software that could benefit us longterm.

Externally, we are communicating promptly and clearly with our clients so they know what to expect from our team. Our inboxes are a bit busier, and Zoom is our friend for virtual meetings and conversations.

4. Update our editorial calendar

If you haven’t already, now is the time to revisit your upcoming marketing plans and editorial calendar.

Start by reviewing content to ensure topics meet the needs of your clients as they navigate the challenges of today. For us, this meant postponing some content to make room for resources that address tangible strategies, best practices to put to work today, and directions on how to execute.

We are also revising our messaging in social media posts, newsletters, and other outlets. It’s important to maintain consistent brand voice and tone while acknowledging current concerns and challenges.

5. Catch up on reading

Life at home has offered more time to read and learn. Our team is digging into those stacks of books sitting around that we all have, both for fun and professional development. We’re also listening to podcasts and books on Audible.

A couple of new releases that we recommend: Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller and Dr. J.J. Peterson and The Vision Driven Leader by Michael Hyatt.

6. Teach the ins and outs of Zoom

Zoom is our go-to tool for team conversations, meetings with out-of-town clients, and conducting website and software reviews.

As more businesses turn to the platform for virtual meetings and events, we have been happy to step in and instruct our clients and peers on how to get set up on Zoom and run effective meetings.

7. Livestream the upcoming StoryBrand Marketing Workshop

We are big fans of Donald Miller and his company, StoryBrand. We regularly use the StoryBrand methodology for website design and marketing clients, and one of our goals for the next couple of years is to attend one of their in-person workshops in Nashville.

Since travel is limited right now, StorBrand is live-streaming their April marketing workshop. We pulled the trigger on the discounted pricing and look forward to attending a two-day conference virtually next month while social distancing in our home offices!

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