There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus has had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on small businesses around the world.
Many business owners have had to close down physical locations. Furthermore, production has slowed down due to worker safety regulations, supply chain interruptions, and, in some cases, a lowered demand.
Still, that’s not to say that there aren’t steps you can take to protect your small business during this time. Yes, staying afloat will require creative solutions and lots of work. Nonetheless, your ability to take the necessary measures and think outside the box might just be the things to get you through the crisis.
Come Up With a Solid Plan
Getting a business started requires putting together a well-thought-out business plan. This plan should account for both positive and negative expectations for the future. Regardless of whether there’s a global pandemic or not, it’s crucial to remember that these plans need to be flexible. This means re-evaluating short-term and long-term goals every quarter. It also involves making any necessary changes to your operations based on how business is going.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, this should still remain the same. Look at your business plan and exit strategy for clues on what you can do. Furthermore, define actionable steps that you can take in this crisis. These might include changing the way your team works, adjusting your production process, or making adjustments to your finances.
Once you’ve defined the steps you need to take, you’ll find that getting to work is going to be considerably less stressful.
Take All the Help You Can Get
Does your small business employ less than 50 workers? If yes, chances are that you qualify for some of the relief packages approved by your government. Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan aims to help both individuals and businesses. In the US, small businesses can be eligible for a $10,000 grant and up to $2 million Economic Injury Loan. For more information on all available aid options, make sure you check out the SBA Guidance and Loan Resources page.
Prioritize Staff Health and Safety
It should go without saying that your company is only as strong as your team. So make sure you’re doing as much as you can to protect your workers.
Some companies have the luxury of being able to switch to a remote way of working. This can be an excellent solution, seeing that it allows you to continue operations without having to slow down. With the right tools, insistence on efficient communication, and mutual trust, managing remote teams can actually be a pleasant experience. Plus, it might even result in boosted job satisfaction and productivity.
If, however, you can’t make telecommuting work, then look to do as much as you possibly can to ensure safety in the workplace. This includes the use of personal protection equipment, as well as thorough cleaning and disinfection of all spaces.
Negotiate or Cut Expenses
If you’re struggling with money, it’s not a bad idea to take a good look at how much your business is spending right now. Adjusting your cash flow is something you should be doing regularly, but you might want to take a more serious approach to it during this time.
Look at any unnecessary outgoing expenses and try to eliminate them. It’s also not a bad idea to talk to your landlord and vendors to see whether you can lower or delay the expected payments. You might just find that they’d rather give you a 3-month grace period than lose you as a customer.
Adjust Your Promotional Activities
The one expense you should not be cutting on right now is marketing. The survival of your small business may depend on it, so look for the most effective (and time-efficient) ways to reach your customers.
Some great ideas for things you could do:
- Keeping your clients informed about your activities through social media and email marketing.
- Creating new content that will drive visitors to your website.
- Engaging with customers on social media platforms.
- Running promotions that encourage online shopping. These can include discounts, extended shipping options, or freebies.
- Running PPC campaigns to reach new audiences that may not know about your offer.
- Investing in buyer experience through offering information and maximizing your customer support efforts.
- Listening to changes in demand. You might find that you can offer something you have never sold before, that your patrons would benefit from.
One of the most difficult things about the Coronavirus pandemic is the fact that it’s a time filled with uncertainty. When both your health and income are at risk, it’s not difficult to become overwhelmed.
However, this is probably not the first time your small business has run into a bump in the road. And it very well might not be the last. So, what you need to do is take a good look at where you’re at, and create a solid plan.
You might just find that this situation proves to be a blessing in disguise. You might manage to reach new customers, find novel ways to run your company or figure out solutions to common problems. What you can certainly expect is that once this is all over, you’ll have come out of it stronger than before.
Featured image credit: Unsplash.com
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