7 Easy Covid Lockdown Business Ideas For Survival

COVID lockdown business ideas: you may need your boxing gloves!
Boxing gloves image taken by andreas160578

The punches rained down on Mohammad Ali. On the ropes from the beginning, he was taking blow after blow from the undefeated world champion, George Foreman. 

But Ali had a strategy to weather Foreman’s storm; use the ropes to absorb the punches.

By the eighth round, Foreman was spent.  Ali won by a knock-out.

You can win despite COVID, too, if you can absorb the blows with the right COVID lockdown business ideas.

If you can’t grow during lockdown, set your sights on survival and bounce back later to win.

Ali called his strategy rope-a-dope.  Soak up the blows without them hurting too much.

Your Business Can Use Rope-A-Dope, Too

For your business to win against COVID, it must still be standing at the end, despite the uncertainty fomented by the press, and the dithering indecision and in-fighting of our elected politicians.

You need to protect your business and be ready to bounce back once the opportunities are there again.

Despite the gut-punch of another lockdown and the uncertainty of the next few months, there are strategies for your business to thrive in a recession to keep you busy until this nightmare ends.

Here are some COVID lockdown business ideas that may help…

Take Another Hard Look At Costs

This far into the business crisis caused by the pandemic, you’ve almost certainly had a good look at the costs your business incurs on a regular basis. 

You’ll have sorted through anything you can to trim excesses out and make your business lean and mean.

But it might have been a few months ago when you did this. And with things being open, perhaps you started spending a bit more again…

So another look right now may find expenses have crept back up while you’ve been getting on with business.

Take another look. Pay close attention to every single item of regular expense. You should also maintain a good cash flow forecast, too.

Question everything: ‘Is this helping me to win?’

Eliminate anything that’s not vital to survival, unless it is for growth and you’ve got the cash reserves to comfortably afford it.

Chase down customers who’ve been slow to pay.  If they’re struggling, don’t just let them pay nothing. Help them not to get into further debt by offering a payment plan. 

As well as helping them, and helping you to get the money back, it also makes sure you’re not forgotten when they are repaying debts later on.

Paying attention to cash flow is the difference between survival and failure in business. Right now, it’s a critical function. 

Make your cash flow management a priority.

Keep Your Head Up

After doing everything you can to support cash flow, you need to look after yourself.

It’s easy when things look bleak for your head to drop.  That fact makes this into the second most important of these COVID lockdown business ideas.

With your head down, your business is bound to struggle. So let’s find some ways to keep it up!

1. Stop paying attention to the news.

Not many people know this, but negative headlines attract more attention than positive ones.

As a result, the news is mostly negative.

How is negative news going to influence you?  It drags you down with it. Avoid it – don’t read, watch or listen to very much at all.

At the same time, politicians and the general public are all throwing opinions about as well.

2. The hot air of opinions does nothing for your business, so ignore them.

Listening to other people complaining will not do any good for your mindset. 

The best thing I’ve heard about the whole thing came from Professor Chris Whitty. 

During the announcement of the current lockdown, he was asked if the government had made bad decisions by not locking down sooner.

He replied by saying every decision during a pandemic is a bad one, because people are going to die no matter what you choose to do.

What Professor Whitty meant was that there is no good decision that fixes everything for everybody.

All of the second-guessing, heated discussions, complaints and moans about government actions are hot air anyway. You can’t change these decisions.

3. The best thing you can do is stay calm and focus on what is within your own control – your thoughts and your actions. 

If you find your thoughts constantly spiralling into the negative, then mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical activity can all help.

If you are feeling like an emotional wreck, then you’re in no position to help yourself, so treat this as a priority.

Solve A New Customer Problem

People face all kinds of new problems because of the unusual circumstances created by the coronavirus.

In the same way that you are reading about COVID lockdown business ideas, your clients will have their own set of desires and problems to solve.

Just take a moment to think of the many things that your customers may be going through right now – just like you are…

What services could your business offer to people working from home? 

Many are operating without a decent desk, chair, lighting, computer, printers, etc.

Many have problems they need to solve like internet security, computer backups, and so on.

People are stuck at home during lockdown without the choice of eating and socialising at a pub or restaurant.

Could you deliver better food than they’ll get from the supermarket (one of my clients is successfully doing this)? 

Could you deliver hot, restaurant-quality meals to the door? 

Maybe a luxury recipe card and ingredients for a quality ‘dinner for two’ that knocks the socks off the cheap cook-yourself options from the supermarkets?

While people are at home they will pay attention to the space they’re in. 

Do they need building work doing?  What about a garden makeover?  New fences, tree surgery, drive resurfacing?  All of these businesses have the opportunity to do very well while people are at home.

Of course, not everybody is able to serve all of these markets well.  But it’s surprising what a little imagination can do.

How much business can you find, when you get really active looking for it?

Be There For Your Clients (And Don’t Be A Pillock)

These are uniquely difficult times for people and businesses of all kinds. 

When a customer behaves in an irrational or surprising way, take a breath before responding.

If they seem to be emotional – angry, unhappy, or something else, perhaps it’s a reflection of something else that’s not going right for them.  You’re not the only person finding things tough.

Try to be understanding and helpful, rather than adding to their problems by simply reacting without thinking first.

There are no guarantees about what’s going to happen through this pandemic. One thing you can count on, though, is that you’ll stop buying from those businesses that treat you badly. 

Don’t be one of those to your own customers.

Make the effort to be better than ever for your customers.

Look after them, and they’ll look after your business in return.

Use Temporary Discounts To Avoid Awkward Moments

Do you have regular customers asking for a discount because times are tough? This is common now, and a big problem for B2B especially.

Think carefully before simply slashing your profits to cut your prices.

You see, the customer will get used to your low prices and not like it when you want to put them back up again.

So instead of simply cutting your prices, let your customer know it’s a reduced price for a specific period of time. 

Consider adding a line on their invoice that says something like “COVID 6 Months VIP Customer Discount – 10% off from November 2020 to April 2021”. 

This clearly shows you’re doing something, but limits how long the discount will be applied. 

It will help you to avoid those awkward “we’re putting the price back up” conversations later on.

Fight For Survival – Like The Pilots Who Deliver Groceries

Extraordinary times call for extreme measures.  If your business can’t pay you an income and survive, then consider doing something else for a while.

There were stories in the press of airline pilots delivering groceries earlier in the year. That’s a real drop in income, but shows the huge character that these people have.

They would rather get out and do something useful while earning a little something. Much better to do that, than to let their egos prevent them from doing anything at all.

What else could you be doing to help your business survive these crazy roller-coaster times?

Re-Invent and Bounce Back Stronger

The key theme in all the above is survival. 

After survival comes the bounce-back. 

If you have the opportunity while things are quiet, it’s the ideal time to educate yourself with new COVID lockdown business ideas to improve your business. 

For example, my free book has 101 ways to get more customers and profits.  It’s available at the end of this article.

Bouncing back stronger means keeping your thoughts positive and taking action to first protect and then prepare your business for the opportunities as the economy wakes up again.

Just like Ali and his rope-a-dope tactic of absorbing the blows in the first few rounds of the fight, you need to be sharp and focused to make sure you survive these lean times. 

It may sound a stretch, but there are lots of opportunities right now. You just need to keep an open mind and focus on what you can do.

It’s certainly more useful than expecting politicians to make great decisions with your business in mind, anyway.

When things look brighter, you’ll be prepared to come quickly back with your own knockout blows to reposition your business at a whole new level.

If you’re looking for more ideas to grow your business, you should get my free book – 101 Tactics To Get More Customers, Make More Sales And Profit.  You can download it by clicking here.

And meanwhile, if you have any other COVID lockdown business ideas, please add them in the comments section below.

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Lee Duncan

Lee Duncan is the author of "Double Your Business: How to Break Through The Barriers to Higher Growth, Turnover and Profit", from Financial Times Publishing. He teaches the owners of small to medium businesses how to make more profit and enjoy more free time.

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