So far, the effects of the novel Coronavirus on the world economies are very concerning. The supply of goods and services in some states has come to a halt. Nothing is moving. And if nothing is moving, small business owners are the most affected. But why?
You see, unlike big corporations that have been in the game for a while, a small business barely has a lot of money in storage, forcing them to be on a constant treasure hunt. This means that they depend on the day-to-day cash flow, which has now been disrupted. Many would argue that insurance would come into play to cushion the blow, but most small business insurance covers do not cover for medical pandemics as the COVID-19 one. So that is thrown out the window. With that said, you need a plan B, C, and even D.
Some of the things you can do to stay afloat are highlighted below. You should consider going back to the drawing board and implement the strategies for the survival of your small business.
Step 1. Consider letting your staff work from home
Office settings have now been greatly affected by the pandemic. No one wants to expose themselves to the virus, and you, as an employer, do not want to endanger your people. And since a small business has a small number of workers, formulate a way they can work from home. Indeed not everyone needs to be in the office, and so working from home can help you deal with the pandemic.
This will help both you and your employees save up cash they would have otherwise used for transport and office matters.
Step 2. Invest in tech solutions for communication
Now is the best time for a small business to invest in communication solutions that will make sure everything is done as it should. Apps such as Zoom and Skype can come in handy when they need to have virtual meetings. Some Google apps can also help you still attend to schedules, appointments, deliveries, and any other matter of importance. Since most of your staff members will be working remotely, this will make them work in unison, just like they would in the office.
Step 3. Protect employees on the ground
Indeed not everyone will have the luxury to work from home. Mainly if the sector your small business is in is a hands-on one. In such cases, make sure that they are well-protected. Provide masks, sanitizers, and protective gear. Also, add extra hand-washing spots on your premises if they are a large group. Above all, make sure that you sensitize them on taking care of themselves by upholding social distancing while they work—no crowding under any circumstances.
Step 4. Utilize government tax reliefs and any other financial relieving routes
Yet another small business guide tip as we all fight COVID-19 is to be smart about your finances. This is the time to take advantage of the government tax reliefs that a lot of authorities are offering. If you happen to be in a state that has this plan in play, make sure that you are using it well. When the year began, you had set a budget for all your procedures. Do not interfere with this unless it is a must. Instead, you can seek small business loans that have been made available with understandable terms. You will need this cash for everything, keeping in mind that people are working from home, so the installation and pieces of training may cost you quite a bit extra.
We have an association whose aim is to promote architecture competitions amongst young designers – no matter if graduates or students. This competition recognizes small architecture firms that have invested time and resources in effective planning for their business. Cash and prizes are awarded to the winner, including paid travel and lodging to the AIA Conference on Architecture in Los Angeles.
Step 5. Switch your sale strategy to work online
Whether you are offering a product or a service, you should consider shifting it to become an online venture. Even as you continue following your treasure map, you will need to employ Small business tools to make this work. That means that you will have to redirect to offering deliveries for free or at a cost. Alternatively, have your staff members stretch their services to people’s homes. For instance, if you are in the business of fixing electronics, get online, and have customers request you to visit their home to repair. But you have to be very careful, sanitize, wear a mask, and maintain a safe distance.
Step 6. Maintain transparency with every one
By everyone, we mean the whole supply chain- investors, suppliers, retailers, and customers. Things are critical, and everyone knows so, and keeping it in the light invokes trust in your small business. Create a small business report and keep everyone in the loop. If there is an issue and everyone is on board, all those minds will work together in sorting it out.
Step 7. Upskill your staff
Another marketing plan for a small business you can use is to upskill your staff. Some operations in your organization might indeed be put to a halt, leaving quite a number of staff members with a lot of free time in their hands. To keep them busy, find them or encourage them to look for online courses, seminars, and webinars they can be part of to increase their market knowledge. Everything might be shut, but our minds are still very open.
Step 8. Look for market loopholes you can fit in
Last but not least, search for slots in the economy that you can fit in. For instance, with everyone at home, they will need food, right! Why not extend your restaurant services to make deliveries in your town. That way, your clients will still enjoy their favorite delicacies in the comfort of their homes. If you are into selling or making textiles, employ tailors and get busy into the making of face masks. With a small business at hand, if you take a closer look at the economy, you will find a way to help people deal with the pandemic. At the end of the day, you have made money, kept safe, and helped the nation.
Why should a small business follow the steps above?
No one ever wants to get to a point you have to scale down or even close down, especially small business owners. On that same vein, you must do everything in your power to stay in business. Ideally, not all steps above will work for your business, so pick what is best for you and get started. This pandemic will go away, so uphold hope, faith, and discipline. But until it does, let’s keep working and growing. Don’t forget to stay home if you can, sanitize your hands, wear a mask, and uphold social distancing. The survival of our small businesses, the economy, and our lives, in general, starts with you! Leave any question on the comment section below.
Thomas Quarry is a self-employed business writer, graduated data scientist, and successful small business owner. He specializes in helping small businesses find funding and in developing effective financial plans for new startup companies.