• Damian J. Miles

I'm still here.

When Covid-19 started to break, I instantly had the film Contagion playing over and over in my head, desperately hoping I was going to be Matt Damon (for many reasons). The stark reality is that Covid-19 is dangerous and governments and organisations all over the world have reacted, although some a little slow. In the UK, the Governments support package for businesses looks good for the majority and I think they have done a good job on the whole. There are people like me that will fall through the cracks, but I'm hoping I will survive it, in more ways than one.

Myself and my family have been self isolating for a little longer than when the schools were closed now as we are classed as "vulnerable". For the most part, life goes on as normal. My wife is working from home with an office in our lounge complete with 2 screens (which fascinates me) calls from her office are diverted to her and she is keeping busy. My daughter spends a good proportion of her day on the laptop doing school work (well done Okehampton College for keeping a regular stream). My son, being in primary school, doesn't have a strict a regime, but he is still doing a large chunk of learning.

So what about me? It's not business as usual for me, sales are down, I can't visit customers and it seems that week by week more events that I would exhibit at are cancelled (which I am certainly not complaining about as it's the responsible thing to do). I am not twiddling my thumbs though. Covid-19 has put a serious dent in economies and we all need to work on fixing this.

Whilst there is the opportunity I am having a really good think about things. I am currently analysing every aspect of my business to see what needs changing, improving or cutting out altogether. I'm currently looking at these things;

1. Going through the website and online marketplaces checking for errors and re-vamping descriptions and content.

2. Creating a list of blog post ideas (suggestions welcome).

3. Trying to work on a social media strategy (I say trying as I would rather do anything else).

4. Looking in detail at every aspect of my business to see what needs more attention or not.

5. Sorting through my stock, both made up, and materials and gemstones.

6. Currently splitting my Etsy shop into 4 different shops, so it makes a little more sense to buyers.

7. Re-organising the workshop. Can it be made more user friendly? Always a yes.

8. Looking at what equipment needs maintenance, repair or replacement and creating a time table.

9. Sharpening and refurbishing tools.

10. Looking at all branding, letterheads, business cards etc.

11. Re-vamping my show displays.

12. Re-photographing stock for the website.

13. Sorting through the Coin and Banknote collections I've bought for stock.

14. Restoring jewellery and silverware stock I have set aside for when it's quiet.

15. I'm going through all the articles, magazines and books that I haven't had the chance to look at.

16. Online courses are another thing, there are many free or discounted courses around at the moment.

17. Going through the "one day" box. This is a box that has evolved into a crate of all the "I don't know what to do with this at the moment, I'll deal with it one day." items.

18. I've even started getting all of my year end accounts ready, which is unheard of!

In short, I am going to be doing as much as I can to get myself and my business in the best shape I can. When we come out of the other side of this, I want to be in the best position possible. I think this is something we all need to do. Take the opportunity to use this to your best advantage.

In the mean time, I am still here, I am still working and I am still selling online. If there is something you would like to buy, I still appreciate your business. If there are any special events coming up, I can still make something for you. If money is tight or limited, I'm sure we can work out a payment plan.

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