What a bizarre and unimaginable situation we seem to have found ourselves all in. For those that don't know me, I'm Steve and the founder of My Local Services. Unfortunately, in the last couple, of years I've been too preoccupied to participate in the forum, leaving it instead in the capable hands of Rebbeca.
My main day job is managing Trading Standards Trusted Trader schemes across Scotland, on the trustedtrader.scot platform. This means I'm talking to small business owners, Trading Standards and different Council contacts on a daily basis. With the current crisis, that has now turned into sending out reassurance messaging and maintaining a CoronaVirus Trader support page.
Although the information is aimed at Scottish business, 99% of it is the same across the UK, so it may be of use to smaller businesses or sole traders.
But what I've found, is that there is a lot of information out there, which obviously regularly changes, but half of the problem is interpreting some of the advice. A lot of it comes down to common sense, if you need to enter someone's home, is your visit urgent or essential, such as fixing a faulty boiler or restoring power.
But there are bigger decisions and questions, such as deciding to furlough staff, or working out what support you as a business owner or self-employed are entitled to. Are you one of the 95% that are supposed to be catered for, or the 5% that slips between the cracks.
Do you have any questions, or can you share any advice?
It would be fantastic if forum members could impart any wisdom, advice, maybe share stories of how they are coping, or just give us some positivity. You are all running businesses, you are all facing incredible problems. Share your solutions and help others reduce their stress. Tell us how you are coping, help all of us. It's going to be a tough ride.
If anyone has any areas they are struggling with, has any questions, is confused about if they can continue working or not, then, by all means, post a question. I'll try my best to help, and if I don't know, I'll bet we can find someone who does. For anyone reading this, feel free to chime in and offer your advice and support.
Just start a new thread in this Coronavirus Forum and then everyone can benefit from your question and any answers.
Ignore misinformation on Social Media
I want to avoid the echo chambers of doom and misinformation which are plaguing social media. I have done a post with as many links to official sources that I can find. Always base any decision making after visiting official sources so you are informed and have the correct information.
We are in an unprecedented situation, but there is the reassurance that we are all in this together, and this will end.
Whatever industry you are in, from dog walkers to manufacturers, if you can weather the storm, then you will bounce back. Whatever demand that has now gone, will be back in force once this passes. So start planning, keep communicating, keep your presence alive in people's minds, and be ready to get the show back on the road when we are given the green light.
Harsh reality - Businesses that go silent during a crisis will be forgotten by their customers.
This forum is a free resource for you to use. Over the days and weeks to come, I'll clean out as much old stuff that's no longer valid, and add as much useful content as I can. If there is anything you particularly want, shout.
But primarily, look after yourselves and your families, if you don't need to leave the house, then don't.