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In a matter of a short time, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. This is unchartered territory and is unlike anything this country has been faced with before. Small business owners are coping with the current restrictions placed on their businesses and the uncertainty of the future. According to a new poll from the National Small Business Association,“3-in-4 small business owners say they are very concerned about the economic impact of COVID-19 and nearly half of small businesses have already experienced reduced customer demand for their products and services”. So, what can you do to ensure that your business stays afloat during these challenging times?
Here are 5 ways to help your business survive the COVID-19 crisis:
Communicate Openly with Your Customers
Be open and let your customers in on what is going on behind the scenes. You can put their minds at ease by informing them about what steps you are taking to support them although you may be working remotely. If you are a service-based business, show them a glimpse of how you are taking proper precautions to ensure a sanitary environment. You can always ask for suggestions from your customers for how you can best serve them during this crisis.
Create a Plan and Shift Your Strategy if You Can
There is no mistaking that this is not an ideal situation for most businesses. But you have the choice to either wallow and drag your feet or be proactive and figure out how to adapt to the new temporary reality. Think about what your customers need from you right now. Can you go after a new market segment or offer an alternative service? Is there anything you can offer them virtually? Can you sell products online?
If it is already apparent that the COVID-19 crisis will put a major strain on your finances, sit down and brainstorm ideas now for ways to make up the business later in the year. Plan for the remaining quarters now, but allow for some wiggle room since we don’t know how long the current situation will last.
Implement Work from Home Procedures for Your Employees
If your business allows for remote work, then consider ways to best make it successful. There are countless tools available to facilitate communication and teamwork. Meetings can be conducted via Zoom or Google Hangout and employees can collaborate via email or Slack. While it’s important to have clear guidelines and expectations, you also need to be flexible with your staff members. Many schools are closed, and families are in close quarters. It can be challenging caring for children, pets, and elderly family members during the day.
Although this is a stressful time for business owners, it is an equally stressful time for your employees. Besides the obvious concern about losing their jobs, they may also be trying to figure out how to best juggle working from home, parenting, homeschooling, and staying healthy.
With the situation changing by the hour, staying informed is vital. It is impossible to foresee exactly what new developments, regulations, and restrictions will occur from one day to the next. Policies and recommendations vary from state to state and even town to town, so be sure to stay up to date in the latest news briefings from local and state authorities.
Are there any incentives you can offer your customers in order to promote sales? Some companies are discounting curbside pickup or takeout orders to entice people to make purchases.
Another way to increase sales quickly is to promote the sale of gift cards. Many people are understanding of the situation and are happy to purchase gift cards to support their favorite shops and restaurants. Do a social media post reminding them that by buying a gift card they will have something to look forward to that they can use once things return to normal. Gift card sales are an excellent way to retain your clients by ensuring they will shop with you in the future. The immediate cash you get from the sales of gift cards will help you stay afloat now.
While no one knows for sure how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, one thing is certain: the landscape of the business world will be forever changed. Following these tips will help you to stay afloat and adapt to the temporary new normal we are all experiencing.
If you are in need of immediate financial assistance for your business to cover payroll, assist with rent, or to help with cash flow due to the current health crisis, please contact us today at (844) 284-2725.
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