In the space of a few decades, the business world for many companies has moved almost entirely online. All aspects of a business, from sales and marketing to book keeping and strategy are largely created and stored within a computer network. Every so often, that computer network just crashes – slewing the productivity capacity for an SME and its employees.
It doesn’t have to be that way – there are always productive tasks that can be carried out during a computer network crash, and here are a few suggestions to keep your staff on their tippy toes while you get that computer network back up:
- Create a contingency plan before the crash happens. A good business is a well planned business. You might well have contingency plans for different business scenarios, so why not computer downtime? Having a basic plan for when downtime occurs, and making sure that all staff members are aware of it can help avoid chaos during computer crashes. You needn’t micro manage everyone in your SME – just ask them to prepare a basic task list that they can relate to in the event of system downtime.
- Catch up. There are always tasks that can be done offline that are ordinarily pushed to the backburner, because they are deemed not quite urgent enough. Computer downtime can present a superb opportunity to get these tasks done. It could be something as simple as talking to employees about company performance, direction and strategy or having those one-on-one performance evaluations with employees.
- Chase down those invoices. Most companies know their problem clients off hand – a systems downtime can be the perfect time to start calling clients who have unpaid invoices, and improve those bad debt numbers.
- Review your business plan. Grab the most recent business plan that you have created and see how the reality stacks up to what you had in mind. Business life gets so busy that most SME owners often don’t get the time they’d like to review their plans and targets. If your plan is too old, start creating a new plan and strategy – it can be an excellent way of focusing your mind and tending to the strategic needs of your business.
- Talk to key stakeholders. A systems downtime can be an ideal moment to pick up the phone and talk with key business contacts. This could be anyone from important clients to make sure they are happy with your service, the bank manager, investors or suppliers. Establishing good relationships and applying a human touch are vital towards building a good business that is held in esteem by all parties that are touched by it.
- Tie up loose ends and sort out those “bits n bobs”. If you’re still seriously bored, do something productive for the office – there’s always some errand to get done – perhaps get that old printer fixed, or tend to that mountain of filing that’s stretching ever nearer the roof. Perhaps, tidy up your desk and get a nice Feng Shui feel going.