Mak Tok’s 5 tips on how to run a business during a pandemic. Businesses don’t stop.
When the UK went into lockdown over 4 months ago Mak Tok had to reinvent itself overnight. Remote working 24/7, no face-to-face meetings and halted revenue from restaurants and certain stockists hasn’t been easy. But being adaptable to the pandemic has been key. Spotting opportunities and building a stronger online presence has been super important for Mak Tok. I hope these 5 tips are useful for your business or those looking to become an entrepreneur during this time.
1 -Build your online presence
Restaurants and some of our stockists closed, but having existing platforms such as Ocado and Amazon made us somewhat prepared for online orders. With 70% of internet users using their smartphones more due to COVID-19, building an online presence was more important than ever. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1106607/device-usage-coronavirus-worldwide-by-country/
With countless meals being cooked from home, we know people are looking for inspiration to spruce up their meals. That’s why we decided to…
- Do live videos on Facebook to interact with our loyal customers and respond to their needs.
- Every week, posts 3 recipe videos on Mak Toks social channels and website based on different themes and dietary types. You can find them here.
2 – Adaptability
As a small company, we are more agile as we don’t have the bureaucracy that most larger organisations have. This certainly worked in our favour during the pandemic.
Spotting the gaps in consumer habits is key to seeking new opportunities and utilising this crisis as a force for change. For example, foodie shows that Mak Tok had lined up have been postponed/cancelled, meaning our budget allocated for this has now been used for social media marketing because everyone has been cooking from home!
3 – Future growth
The current climate is still so uncertain, will we go back into lockdown? Will there be a second wave? As a business you have to look ahead and plan for a future or re-evaluate your future plans over different time periods, eg 1 month, 3 months, 1-2 years. The economic climate is a good indicator for this. What are the markets saying? How are other countries responding?
It is important to capitalise on opportunities in other markets that you may have not considered pre-covid. For example, exporting to countries/regions that have contained COVID-19 more effectively than the UK as a potential market. In June 2020 Mak Tok launched internationally to Hong Kong in Feather & Bone. Whilst some people may think you are taking advantage of the situation, it’s only natural for entrepreneurs to seek these opportunities to keep your business afloat and family going. I am sure many would understand because after all, we are all in this together.
4 – Be kind and support each other
Don’t be afraid of getting help when needed. There are workshops organised by The Department for International Trade, local councils and other small business organisations such as Small Business Saturday and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). These workshops are informative and can help you with your future direction.
It is also important to help fellow businesses that may be struggling. Whether its small things such as buying their products or giving them a shout out on social media. It can really help them!
5 – Communication with your stakeholders is key
Customers are always interested in how you are doing. Don’t just bombard them with marketing, but create content that will generate conversation. That way, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.
Suppliers – it is super important to keep up-to-date with your supply chain. Depending on how big your supply chain is, it can cause delays if they have been hindered by the pandemic. Stock control is so important!
Colleagues – Check on them to see how they are doing, it can be a lonely and stressful experience working remotely. Recently Mak Tok onboarded two new graduate members all remotely! Adapting to new ways of working and ensuring open communication has been key to success. If you are onboarding new members, look for good sharing software platforms such as Slack and Trello to help you manage your projects.
If there are other tips that have helped you, post them in the comments below so that others can find it useful too!
Stay safe and well 🙂