As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear to see the devastating effects of COVID-19 on small businesses. When a crisis hits, there is greater potential for a large, financially-strong business to survive the roller coaster of income and expense fluctuations over that of a small business that generally has only a few months of cash flow in the bank. Turbulent times for consumers wreak complete havoc on the small business owner, as these owners have to worry about their own financial health and that of their employees. There are no guarantees that your business will outlive the economic impact of the coronavirus, but here are some ways you can try to keep things running for the next few months.
1. Keep Calm
When you see the cash supply starting to dwindle, it is easy to panic and throw in the towel. Your employees, vendors, and customers need you to stay calm and take care of yourself. Make your physical and mental health a priority. When you are clear-headed and in good spirits, you are able to direct your employees more effectively. They will be experiencing some similar concerns, and when you can communicate clearly and rationally, you can all brainstorm innovative ideas to keep the company moving forward. Seek out trusted advice, being careful not to rush into judgment or action without evaluating the long-term effects.
2. Adapt to the Situation
While you are working out what to do for the long-term, be flexible with what you do in the present. Since many states have shelter-in-place operations and essential-business only restrictions, you may have to alter the way you operate and when you operate. The best way to make your customers aware of how you are changing your services is through your website and social networking accounts. There are plenty of instructions online for how to update google business listing for Coronavirus, and with user-friendly apps for social networking, it won’t take long to get the word out to your consumer base. Meet with your employees over what scheduling changes they can handle and what ideas they might have to make operations more accommodating to the situation.
3. Pursue Financial Assistance/Resources
Governments around the world realize how hard of a hit small businesses are taking through no fault of their own. Many have put together initiatives that offer financial support to small business owners, and many financial institutions are working to temporarily alleviate the burdens of loans or fees. Many of these important institutions are taking on the social responsibility of helping keep the economy strong by taking care of the little man. If you are able to, work with your bank to reduce the financial demands you may face and take advantage of stimulus money your government may offer.
4. Work Out a Three-month Plan
Your business will probably face the same expenses each month, often including employee salaries, utilities, office rent costs, and phone service cost. Depending on your industry, you may have additional expenses. No one knows how long the world will be dealing with the pandemic, so a three-month financial plan is a good place to start. Start by talking to your landlord and any suppliers you deal with to find out options for payment plans. Look at what costs can be cut during the downturn. Many business owners will look at cutting employees to free up funds, but this can hurt your business in the long-term. You may be able to discontinue your copy machine contract or reduce your internet speeds to help whittle down the expenses. Allow employees to work remotely to help reduce office costs even further.
It is a lot harder to prepare for a crisis when you are in the midst of one. However, you can use these steps to give your business fighting chance over the next few weeks as the world struggles to get the coronavirus under control.