The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc all over the world and has resulted in new challenges for everyone. The business world has also taken a hit due to COVID-19 as most countries all over the world have gone into lockdown to prevent the spread of the disease.
Governments all across the globe are trying to figure out when and how to end the lockdown, but it remains a fact that the next few months will be immensely challenging for small and medium-sized businesses as they are now facing an uphill battle. Returning to business as usual is no longer an option for many of these businesses.
But, even those who do plan on returning still have to survive the next few months until things settle down. How will they do that? Outlined below are some COVID-19 survival tips for small businesses that can have a big impact:
Secure access to cash
According to Ido Fishman, if you are not already doing so, it is time for your business to make a conscientious effort to secure their access to cash. It is a fact that all stakeholders of a business, including its employees and customers, are expecting it to act prudently regarding their organization’s finances. Depending on what industry you are in and your business model, all financing options should be carefully evaluated in order to figure out how effectively they can support you during this lockdown and once it is lifted.
If you have any unnecessary direct debits, they need to be identified and cancelled and you should also be aware of any relief programs being introduced by the government that apply to business. Some breaks are also being offered by banks and you can also apply for a payment holiday on any mortgages that you may have, if it seems like a good option.
Bring employees into the loop
Not only should businesses stay up to date about the latest details related to the pandemic and how it can affect its operations, Ido Fishman recommends that you should also share the same with your employees and managers through video conferencing and email. You should also discuss the coronavirus’s health implications and highlight the importance of maintaining social distancing and proper workplace hygiene. This will ensure that everyone remains on the same page and will also curb any misinformation or unwanted fear.
Prioritize the needs of your employees
Most businesses are more concerned with their customers, but experts like Ido Fishman indicate that businesses need to prioritize their employees. Along with sharing any coronavirus-related news, you should also have a clear and open conversation with your employees about managing their expectations and fear. It is essential for the employees to keep their calm in such troubling times.
You also need to understand that employee priorities may have changed since they are now working remotely. Moving forward, it is possible that workers will demand greater flexibility. If your business is faring well even when operations are remote, Ido Fishman suggests that you should extend this policy until the employees are comfortable in coming back on their own. In addition, you can also consider split-shifts and offer flexible working hours to limit exposure.
Adjust your business strategy
For the foreseeable future, consumer behavior is also going to undergo change. Businesses need to use this time wisely and adjust their strategies and business model going forward. It has been predicted by business experts like Ido Fishman that the same strategies will not be applicable in the post-coronavirus world. You will have to carefully plan what changes need to be made for adapting to the new normal. This means that businesses will have to figure out alternative means of delivering their services to customers.
For instance, restaurants are exclusively offering delivery and takeaway or healthcare providers are taking advantage of telemedicine. Businesses also need to explore how to apply their expertise to other areas and provide new yet relevant services to their existing target audience. This needs to be done in the short-term for generating new income streams.
Constantly communicate with customers
Staying on top of customer communications should be your priority, says Ido Fishman. You have to be in control of the situation and communicate with your customers and this can be done through several ways. You can make use of social media, do a press release on your website or through a weekly email newsletter.
Use any of these mediums to clearly convey to your clientele about how your company is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and what steps are being taken for mitigating the risks associated with it. You can take this time to fully understand what matters to your customers. It will put you in a better position to help them deal with the challenges through your new or current products and services.
Augment your workforce
Staff augmentation is the ideal solution if you need expert software engineers and developers for boosting your team’s capacity, shaking up your existing business model or for improving your online presence. Ido Fishman says that this will help a business in staying on track and avoiding disruption, whether it is planning to continue working remotely or planning to open up.
Be realistic about pandemic response
Once business places are given the green light, it is highly likely that most of them will reopen. But, experts like Ido Fishman state that businesses will have to be mindful about how they maintain onsite cleanliness and safety and how to enforce social distancing. This lockdown period should be used productively by businesses to come up with and iron out guidelines, policies and protocols for employee isolation, health screening and more.
These times are very difficult and it will be hard to determine how long this situation will persist and how deeply it will affect people and businesses. These survival strategies can assist small businesses in making appropriate adjustments and plans to make it through this coronavirus outbreak and last in the long-run.