We work with many businesses providing bookkeeping, VAT and payroll services and over the last 2-3 weeks I have provided guidance to clients who have telephoned and emailed.  I have also written 6 lengthy briefings, 4 for our payroll clients and 2 for our bookkeeping clients.  In one of them I provided links so they could check when new information was issued but all the rest have been written by me to set out the information in a way that is clear for them rather than just pointing them to the HMRC website for updates.  I have received lots of appreciation for this which has made the time spent putting them together worthwhile.

It has been good to talk with other business owners though because the current situation affects businesses and the people who run them in different ways.  As a business owner myself I have not only have to support all my clients, I have been trying to support my team too whilst they are working remotely.  I have never wanted my team to work remotely because it is important to me that most of the time we are all in one place and we can support each other.  When the team is working remotely, even though we have daily telephone conversations, it is difficult to know how they are coping - I can't see them and I can't interpret body language.  It really is a different way of working for me.

But whilst it is a difficult situation for all of us I try to put the negative to one side and look for the positive.  I am not a worrier - you can't change anything by worrying and certainly none of us can change or help this situation except by following the rules.  So this is the time business owners who aren't able to run their business at the moment can use to develop and streamline their business in preparation for the time when normality begins to return.  

I read business books from time to time and have a shelf (or two!) full of them.  I usually get one out when I feel in need of something to boost my motivation and for inspiration.  I don't read them to follow the rules to enable me to work 5 hours a week or manage my time better or delegate more but they do give me ideas to think about and I become more positive.  I frequently re-read books because there is always something to gain from them.  This weekend I needed that boost after an exhausting couple of weeks.  I read a book I had had for a while which I hadn't had chance to pick up before.  Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz is about the steps you need to put in place to enable you to own your business and build it rather than just work in it.  I also like Built to Sell by John Warrillow which is in a similar vein.  I find these books interesting because authors have different ideas, just as we all have different businesses, but we can use some of the ideas they talk about which suit us and our businesses.  I still work a lot in my business so it is clear I don't follow all the suggestions but I do find just reading them promotes positive thought.  And it was a good excuse to sit in the garden and enjoy some sun!

With many business owners having time on their hands reading a business book or two may provide some inspiration for your business and you can make some plans for when your business is up and running again.