Since the WHO declared COVID-19 a world health emergency at the start of 2020, the pandemic has spread to over 200 countries and devastated the $90 trillion global economy.
Businesses across the world have suffered considerably, with millions of them experiencing financial strain as a result of the coronavirus. As more consumers opt to self-isolate or uphold social distancing practices, many small businesses face potential financial ruin.
So, what can you do to keep your business afloat in the current crisis? In this post, we provide seven proven tips for small businesses to survive during the pandemic. We’ll also outline a few ways local businesses can get the financial aid they need during these tough times.
Keep reading to learn more.
1. Prioritize Health and Safety
If you run your business singlehandedly, you need to put your health first. Minimize your travel. You can use home office collaboration and communication tools instead.
If, on the other hand, you have staff, inform them of travel restrictions and provide work from home options. Of course, that may not be possible if your business offers essential services. In this case, take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of virus transmission at your workplace, including:
- Social distancing
- Splitting shifts
- Frequent sanitization
Come up with effective ways for employees to report when they’re feeling unwell or suspect that they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.
2. Assess the Impact of the Pandemic on Operations
With no end in sight for the crisis brought about by the pandemic, it’s only prudent to start planning for the worst-case scenario. Ask yourself what will happen to your company if the pandemic becomes a one-year, two-year, or three-year problem.
For instance, if one or more of your critical employees become sick, how will your company accommodate the changes? Now’s the time to identify other people who can step in. These may include qualified family members, retirees, freelancers, or independent contractors.
What if some of your customers close their operations for weeks or months? How will that impact your sales cycle and revenue forecast? Come up with the adjustments you would make to protect your employees and business.
3. Keep Communications Open
Effective communication is one of the pillars of a succeeding business. During the pandemic, you may have to develop new ways to reach out to your customers, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders. Consider investing in a local business online toolkit for seamless communication.
The idea is to keep everyone aware of what’s happening in your business at this time. In particular, you want to make sure that everyone is aware of your current business policies, changes to your operations, or any new ways you’ve adopted to serve and collaborate with them.
4. Adapt Your Business to the Current Changes
The coronavirus is changing people’s lives in previously unimaginable ways. That’s why you probably need to reevaluate the yearly goals you had at the start of the year. Owners of small businesses must be willing to plan and reconfigure their businesses for each stage of the pandemic.
If the pandemic is going to be a short-term problem, you can consider cutting costs to stay afloat. This may not be the best time to spend money on new hires, travel, or extensive marketing.
Look for new ways to meet your customers’ needs. You may need to start doing home deliveries, for instance, as many people opt to self-isolate.
Other businesses are opting to diversify their products and services. If you run a dog walking business, for instance, you can begin to help your clients run errands.
That said, keep in mind that it may be impossible to plan too far ahead. If the crisis continues for over a year, you may need a different contingency plan. You may have to renegotiate fixed expenses, cut benefits, or lay off some employees.
5. Remain Compliant
You’ll need to look out for the fast-changing developments at the government level that might directly affect your business. Some governments, for instance, have removed or significantly restricted counter service. Observe social distancing requirements at all times, and any other stipulations that have been given to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
If your employees now work remotely, you may have to observe new state compliance requirements regarding payroll, income tax filing, and so on. Getting remote workers from other countries may also call for you registering your business there.
6. Take a Good Look at Your Finances
Any measures you take to keep your business running during this time must account for potential financial risks and impacts. Keep updating and tracking your cash flow. Seek new ways to cut costs.
Some SME owners have financial safety nets they can draw on during a crisis. If you do not have one, then this is the time to seek opportunities to get money to keep your business afloat.
7. Apply for Financial Aid
Most likely, you’re going to need financial help to weather the storm. The good news is that there are many ways that small businesses can get financing during the pandemic.
Many governments, for instance, have put in place extraordinary measures to keep SMEs from sinking. Find out what stimulus package your state has put forward for businesses like yours and apply for it.
You can also take advantage of corporate aid. Huge corporations are promising to help SMEs survive this crisis.
Facebook is one of the corporations giving over $100 million in cash to eligible businesses in different countries. Yelp is also helping entrepreneurs by offering tens of millions worth of free advertising, services, and products.
Many lending institutions have also put together packages that can help your company during the pandemic. Visit your local bank to see what products can suit you best.
Use These Tips for Small Businesses to Survive the Pandemic
While the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged businesses across the world, there’s still light at the end of the tunnel. One thing’s for sure: your clients and supporters have your back and want you to succeed. With the tips for small businesses we’ve shared above, you can help make sure that it happens.
Are you looking for more information on how digital marketing can keep your business thriving during the pandemic? Would you like to know how advertising with Yelp can take your business to the next level? Please contact us today.