10 things I've learnt about my business during lockdown
Both of my children are back at school part-time for a few weeks. It’s given me some time to reflect on this period of lockdown we’ve experienced as a family. I have learnt so much from us all being home together and lots of it I have been using to improve my business.
Number 1, planning ahead
My children, like most, want snacks… all the time. And after the first week or so of the ‘Mum, I’m hungry chorus’. I came up with an idea, each morning I fill two Tupperware boxes full of the daily allocation of snacks. It took about a week for the new system to sink in and it’s been brill.
This got me thinking about my clients and how and when they and I need stuff. My onboarding now asks for information I will need much further down the line. Saving us having to chase either side for info.
Number 2, have a strategy
After the first week or so of bumbling along, we realised that we needed a strategy for the family that included the needs of everybody. We ended up creating a family timetable.
One that has seen my partner and I tag teaming looking after the children. Fitting in schoolwork, time for the kids to both burn-off energy and sink into cartoons. Give my partner and me enough time to continue working our normal hours as well as an hour an evening to crash.
It turns out I’m really good at working in short bursts of time, any more than three hours and my mind wanders off. Usually down the rabbit warren of social media. So I’ll be trialling a much more blended approach to working going forward.
Number 3, planning works
After spending way to much time staring into the fridge for inspiration we realised that we needed to embrace meal planning. Something that I have been fighting against for years.
I’ve tried, but actually the thing that held me back before was the sense that we would lose spontaneity if we had all our meals planned out.
As it turns out all it does is give us a framework. It’s taken away having to make decisions when we’re tired and hungry. And actually, this has translated well to my social media strategy.
I thought that by having a plan for social media that I would lose the sense of being spontaneous. That sense of being able to connect with people and spark of each other. But actually it’s nice to have something to fall back on and to be able to switch things up when I want to.
Number 4, break tasks down
Our first two weeks of lockdown we were in isolation. My son and I had a cough. We ran out of bread, which was fine, before children we used to make bread and I used to enjoy it.
The thing that has stopped me from making bread for the past six years is that I thought I remembered it as being a long process. When in fact, it’s a series of small tasks: mix the dough, leave, shape the dough, leave, cook the dough, eat.
I used to have the same feeling about writing blog posts, I would feel the need to clear my diary for three solid hours. But actually, I’ve discovered that I can plan out a blog in one sitting. Spend another session editing it. Another planning the images and another creating the web page.
It’s much easier to find pockets of time than one massive three-hour slot.
Number 5, focus on one thing at a time
Pre lockdown I would usually have a few goals running for both the business and us as a household. I would then flit between them all.
They would all take a lot longer than I would have planned because of course, I would think I could do more in the day than I actually can…
Since lockdown, I have had no brain capacity to think about more than one goal for the business. And one goal for the house.
The business goal was central to my weekly to-do list and the house goal went on the blackboard. Each time we completed a goal I put up a fresh one.
That single act of being single-minded has been brilliant, I won’t go back to multitasking again.
Number 6, know your audience
Stepping into the shoes of being a teacher has reminded me how I need to consider my audience. On a Thursday we have been receiving an email from the school with the following week’s work.
I printed it and worked through it as best we could. It took a few weeks to realise that I was asking my daughter and my son to do things in ways that weren’t natural for them. It became a battle, which caused frustration.
So I sat back and thought about it. I realised I know my children in our home environment better than their teachers can. So I created ways that I knew I could engage between what was being asked of us from school and in ways that my children would want to engage. This mainly involved drawing all over the conservatory with chalk pens!
It drove home to me how I need to get to know my ideal customer better if I want to be able to connect and help more people.
Number 7, customer journey
About a month go I had to go for a COVID test at Bristol airport.
The experience of booking the appointment. Going through the drive-thru and being tested was one of the slickest customer journeys I have ever experienced.
Bristol airport is about half an hour away from me. The drive home gave me time to compare it to my own business and the kind of customer journey that my clients experience.
I’m still working on it. But I do hope that in the coming months. Some of the things I’ve learned can be implemented in my own business.
Number 8, dream big
There are 21 meals in a week. That means 21 opportunities to wash up, this is without accounting for snacks! Which when you don’t have a dishwasher feels like most of the day.
Two years ago we bought a house, which needs a lot of work… part of that is a new kitchen that can accommodate a dishwasher. We still have some saving to do to be able to afford the new kitchen.
My desire for this dishwasher is making me so determined to find a way to make my business work around this ‘new normal.’ It’s always good to stop and reconnect with your why and maybe add to it!
Number 9, habits are the key
Like most families, we did okay, to begin with, and then fairly quickly descended into a lot of pyjama days for the kids. This made it harder to leave the house to do daily exercise if you had to battle to get the kids dressed before leaving.
So, we returned to a family habit that on weekdays we don’t go downstairs until we are all dressed. All of a sudden getting out was much easier.
It made me think about what little habits do I need to maintain to keep the business running smoothly?
Every Sunday night I do my bookkeeping, every Monday I plan my social media, these things are now habits.
Number 10, never run out of wine
As a reward for surviving a day or winning a new project, something must be there for a celebration, after all, running a business is supposed to be fun!
If you would like to book a discovery session to see how I can help your brand follow the link below. – Lucie