Small businesses all over the united states are currently struggling to maintain their operations during this dreadful epidemic. So far, most are unsure when this deadly virus will be out of our lives, but some believe things will be going to normal soon enough. Still, it’s a harsh situation for many businesses to be in, and despite the recent $2 trillion stimulus package won’t be enough to take the edge off worrying business owners.
Trying to maintain a small business stable during these trying times can be challenging. Although many small business owners are passionate about their business, doing certain things can help with keeping the business running through the epidemic until everything goes back to normal. Unfortunately, there are no standard guidelines to help small businesses make it out of this crisis with little to no trouble. Every small business operates in its own way, and each one of them comes with its own set of problems. These dissimilarities make following another company’s strategy impossible.
Even so, there are still some general guidelines small business owners can do right now to continue running their business during this crisis. Let’s go over what you can do right now as a small business owner.
Look over your finances
As a business owner, you should always have a deep understanding of your business’s finances, especially now with this current epidemic. You must be extremely clear on your numbers, with less revenue flowing into your business, or with more limited income returning in the future, you want to learn about your expenses and what you have in your business reserves. Take these numbers and start plugging them into your business model template to help answer some of the crucial questions on where to take your business. While doing this may come off as intimidating at first, you’ll be relieved to see where your business is currently standing.
Educate customers on what you are doing to keep them safe
Some businesses are still running and operating their business during this growing crisis. If you are one of the many business owners who have kept their doors open to continue providing your community with desperately needed supplies, you’ll want to make sure you are informing the public on what you are doing to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. There are several ways you can do so that you won’t take too much time or resources to accomplish this goal.
If you have any social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, consider making a post about what you are doing to provide a safe and clean environment for your customers. For example, grocery stores have begun opening their doors earlier than usual, so those of older age can come and stock on food. This is to prevent any potential transmission of the virus to occur from young to old and ensures the place doesn’t become packed with too many shoppers like it usually would be.
If you’re a restaurant owner who delivers food, let customers know that not only are you still open for business but let them know of what safety precautions you and your staff are taking to make sure the virus doesn’t contaminate their meal or spreads to them. For example, some restaurants are leaving the food on the curve of the person’s home or apartment so their customer can get it themselves. This ensures that social distancing remains in practice and will show the customer how serious you are about preventing the spread.
You can also hang up posters or flyers outside your store to inform the customers what steps you are taking and what steps they should take to ensure any potential transmission remains as low as possible. Keep in mind that you are doing this to alleviate any fears and anxieties they may have and will make it easier for you to not only retain your business but establish a strong reputation as well.
Educate staff members on remaining healthy
There is a lot of misinformation being spread around the media, and plenty of your employees may not have the most accurate information from credible sources on how they can keep themselves, their families, and their coworkers safe from the virus. You should take the time to remain up to date with reputable sources so you can keep them informed about the latest news on the coronavirus. As the owner of the business, you’re in a position of leadership, and now is the time to take action and prove yourself as a leader.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put up some health and safety tips that help prevent the spread of the virus, share them with your staff.
No handshakes: Use a non-contact method for greetings.
Wash your hands: Employees should wash their hands when they arrive and every time they enter the premises, as well as frequently throughout the day.
Try not to touch your face, and remind employees to do the same
Constantly and regularly disinfect surfaces, including door knobs, handrails, the POS system, tables, and desks.
By ensuring they remain proactive about cleanliness, you’ll be keeping your employees and customers safe from potential harm.
Assess your business
Most individuals will ordinarily try to undertake the most prominent problems as soon as they can. While most would consider the move to be a smart business sense for certain situations, it can lead to potentially losing out on something. Small business owners will need to learn to take a step back, and carefully assess the situation, to make a positive and lasting transformation.
This is the chance to take a close look at the size and scope of any current problem plaguing your business and further becoming familiarized with the business model, discerning how it’s stable and weak points impact your business. For instance, if you discover that two of your employees are making far too many mistakes with inventory that have caused several supplies to be understocked, you’d usually fire these employees. Although, you can take another approach by considering whether the manager who hired and supervised them has trained them appropriately, or maybe the manager could be the real issue. By looking at the problem carefully, it is possible to minimize or eliminate the possibility of these problems from happening once again.
If the manager was the source behind these difficulties, you’d usually consider firing them without thinking of other alternatives. This could cause further problems for your business, especially if that manager’s relationship with existing customers has a history of retaining business and considerable revenue. Instead of firing them, consider providing them with some simple training for the manager instead of just firing them.
Taking the time to assess the situation and understand the problems that are plaguing your business will help you gain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Plus, this should help prevent other situations from cropping up and negatively impacting your revenue.
As a small business owner, you’ll need to take several steps to make sure your business has enough access to cash, especially during this critical period. Getting in contact with a bank loan officer and understanding what steps you need to take to acquire a loan is one option. You can also open up a line of credit in advance to fund any potential short-term cash flow issues that may arise.
Another thing small business owners should have is a source of finances lined up as well. This can include several things, such as utilizing your savings, borrowing funds from friends or family members, liquidating any stock holds, and so on. Small business owners will need to have access to money or have to come up with inventive ways to gain funding to ensure they survive these troubling times.
The Treasury Department has recently managed to pass several loans that are capable of providing financial help to small business owners. Two of the ones that were recently passed are the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Small business owners should consider checking these out while they have the time to apply to them.
At the moment, several special measures are being taken to support small business owners as we speak. For instance, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act offers tax credits to small business owners who are currently taking care of their children at homes. Several states have also begun implementing their measures that suspend mortgage payments and prevent eviction for those who are currently struggling financially because of this current epidemic.
Take the time to talk with your accountant about any other potential tax credit or deduction that may be available in your location, as well as our credit car company since a couple of them are offering to waive fees and payments. Congress is doing its best to release relief packages, so chances are more of them will come out that can provide assistance to your business. That’s why it’s crucial to pay attention to reputable sources in case something does get announced that can help your small business.
Go on the offensive
Don’t allow this current epidemic to paralyze you from going on the offensive. This is a great time to promote your business since the competition may have already bowed out. Remain in contact with your customers through social media and offer them deals or resources that will provide them with some sort of help. This will allow you to not only promote the brand of your business but capture the hearts of these folks who will likely become customers once everything becomes normal. They’ll remember the name of your business for providing them with all sorts of goods during a period of stress.
Shift sales to online
With storefronts closing down their doors and workers staying at home, smart business owners are moving their sales strategy online to avoid massive losses. If you are planning to close your stores, consider thinking of a way to continue providing a paycheck for your employees by selling on social media platforms, placing your email listing to excellent use, or solely relying on video tools to obtain new leads.
Don’t cut corners on quality
If you are having issues with the quality of your product, then it makes sense to deal with it as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to remain on top of things and get employees on board with any changes that may be made to your business. Although, most business owners should be concise of not cutting corners on quality when making changes to a product.
Small business owners who are searching for ways to remind a steady cash flow on certain products should be cautious about making massive adjustments to specific components. For instance, if you run a pizzeria and are currently experiencing a downturn in revenue but are searching for ways to increase margins per pizza by procuring cheaper ingredients, this could lead to some severe issues in the long run. Lowering the quality of your ingredients will cause customers to become dissatisfied with the flavor of the pizza, and sales will start to plummet.
The idea here to maintain your revenue while retaining or improving the quality of a product.
Small business owners are getting burnt of this current epidemic, but that doesn’t mean they should give up on maintaining their business. It’s your responsibility as the business owner to continue doing everything you can to ensure your business remains afloat until better times arrive. Right now, you need to do everything you can to provide your employees and customers with the best service they can get. If you are having trouble, just keep an eye out for the loans and assistance that are being passed by Congress so you can benefit from the help offered to small businesses.
Hopefully, this article has managed to help you during these trying times. The best we can all do is continue to hunker down and weather this deadly virus.