Keeping busy by refocusing your efforts back into your company is more crucial than ever to ensure you come through the current crisis stronger than before. It can be tricky to figure out a roadmap of what needs critical attention and which resources will assist you in accommodating the needs of your employees and customers during this time. To help you get started, we’ve identified a few areas to help make immediate changes and afford your staff in staying informed, while putting some stronger practices in place for your business.

Reduce Unused Licenses

Now is a good time to review and organize your software licenses. Taking account of what you’ve been using and why will help to see if you have any overlap in your current programs. If you’re using videoconferencing software such as Zoom, it may make sense to switch some accounts to the basic plan, which includes up to 40 minutes of uninterrupted meeting times. With many remote teams collaborating with Slack, you can ensure all users are still able to communicate within one core channel while switching a portion of your team to single-channel guests. This will ensure any furloughed employees are still able to communicate with the rest of your teams as well and stay up to date on any major company announcements.

Auditing which functionalities of Microsoft Office 365 your employees use will be a huge help in reducing costs. Weighing the must-haves against the nice to have can aid you in identifying which features are truly necessary for your team. Users may need an email only versus full-blown licenses with all the bells and whistles. Reconciling your current employee roster against licenses assigned can help decrease costs as well as show any outstanding profiles that aren’t in use and can be completely removed.

Communicate and Collaborate

Since many businesses have increased their remote capabilities, more vendors are offering free or reduced rates on software to encourage effective collaboration and communication. We discussed a few key communication software above, and Forbes has established an ongoing list of free software available to businesses at this time. Smaller teams working within Agile or Kanban Methodologies might consider Atlassian’s robust collaborative software Confluence and Jira for well-organized sprints and to detail any story points along a project’s journey. If you’re looking for an option that houses all conversations, projects, to-dos and more in one place, Basecamp offers reasonable plans for their solid one-stop solution.

Basecamp

Review Phones

If your company has been considering the switch from analog phones to VoIP, this might be a great opportunity to make that jump. About one-third of businesses have upgraded to VoIP systems, with small businesses leading the charge. Consumer Affairs recently released its own best of list for VoIP providers where you can access user reviews and research providers to do some side-by-side pricing comparisons. If you’re already utilizing VoIP, we recommend reviewing your contracts to ensure you’re using all features included in your plans and contacting your provider if any tweaks need to be made or contracts renegotiated. Not sure where to start? Reach out to BCC, and we can identify your needs and give you some pointers to make sure you’re looking for the right features.

IL Emergency Small Business Grants and Loans Program

Individual states are working toward emergency small business grants and loans, where the legislation is changing based on the unemployment trends as the situation progresses. For small businesses with less than 50 employees in Illinois, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity continues to update their emergency assistance programs. Follow along with the latest updates and be sure to review your eligibility here.

IL Small Business Emergency Fund

Banks and Finances

We’ve all seen the increase in emails about how different companies and banks are handling support requests based on our current situation. Now is the time to contact your banks. Explain your specific circumstances and how this has affected your business. It will help direct the conversation, and your points of contact will be better able to give you an idea of what is available for your business in both the short and long term. A number of financial institutions have plans in place to allow for deferment and extensions on loans or expansion on lines of credit during this time of crisis. Information is available regarding a few options through the government, but we strongly suggest reaching out to your lenders directly. Speaking with a person who can answer your questions and address your concerns in real-time can give you some peace of mind.

It’s likely that you’ve mentally mapped out a few changes you wanted to see within this year, and BCC can help support you with realizing the potential during this time of uncertainty. As your IT provider, you can contact us at any time to help get the ball rolling on any or all of these initiatives.