Dealing with COVID-19 – advice from a small business in the events industry

2020 has not been the year we expected it to be. Business plans were created to make this monumental year one of growth and prosperity, but that all changed with COVID-19 sweeping the world. It is clear that businesses are all facing challenges that the world has not seen before with lockdowns being enforced, isolation being demanded for own and national safety and uncertainty of when this will all be over can be a daily struggle.

It’s safe to say that we live in unprecedented times and every business is being affected in one way or another. As business owners it’s vital to adapt and diversify offerings and plans in order to survive and come out the other end with our livelihoods and mental health still intact.

Zing Events, a corporate team building company, was hit from all angles. The events industry has been pole-axed as a result of the widespread enforced isolation measures that the world has in place at this moment and regrettably, seen many agencies make a large amount of redundancies in an attempt to cut their costs and ride out this storm.

For Andy and Charles this invariably meant that the sales pipeline and event delivery calendar quickly deteriorated - and with no clear parameter for the longevity of this disruption, they made a decision to save their business by looking ahead and innovate rather than fold.

Use your energy to build the new, not fight the old

At first pandemic came as a complete shock, and it quickly became clear that there would be no easy fix for the crisis, and that in fact it would likely have an impact on the business in the long term. As this is not something businesses could have planned for previously, it’s now important to look ahead to the next three months by creating a 90 day business plan to set new goals for approach, sales and marketing with a clear direction and purpose for everyone in the business.

It’s imperative that the whole team is on board with this plan to give clarity, help motivate and ensure everyone understands how they fit in to making it a success. It’s so important to involve every individual, get their buy in and ensure that they are happy with the new path. If you empower the team you empower the business.

Innovate in a time of crisis, don’t sit back and wait for it to happen

When crisis like this one happens out of the blue and affects so many people so quickly it can be easy to panic and think all is lost. This has been especially true for the events industry, where the main product - face to face gatherings - has been rendered both illegal and highly unsafe, at least for the time being. However, for many this has also been an opportunity to bring forward new innovations and solutions. If you sit down and think about what new valuable solutions your business can offer people to help with current issues – remote working, lack of social interaction, collaboration etc. – then you will find your answer.

As an example, Zing Events had to think of new ideas that would ensure that clients could still connect with their teams, boost morale and focus on wellbeing. Therefore, they brought three app-based solutions to market (Team Connected, Team Social and Team Motivator), which allowed them to deliver remote team builds. All three offer solutions to challenges that clients are all facing and therefore provide a direct impact to businesses.

Look after the well-being of your team and yourself

It’s probably an understatement to say that the past weeks have been a little stressful and so the well-being and mental health of employees and employers are more crucial than ever. When working from home individual situations are all different, whether you’re living alone, home-schooling children, have access to outdoor space or trying to stay motivated when being faced with isolation from the usual work environment.

Introduce a default diary where everyone works out their ‘schedule’ for the day. This gives people flexibility with childcare, exercise, work and general wellbeing to allow a remote routine that works for them. Mental health as a really big thing and at the end of the day, people are what makes up a business and you want to make sure that everyone is happy and coping.

By Andy Wells and Charles Berry, founders of Zing Events, a corporate team building events company.