There is no doubt that the majority of enterprises have been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bigger the business, the higher the chance of survival. However, small enterprises tend to live for a couple of months of cash flow.
When something big hits these businesses, it can be devastating for the proprietor and for the employees too. How can businesses stay afloat during COVID-19? There is no single solution that works for all businesses. However, with the following tips, you’ll easily plan and implement your strategies to achieve your objectives.
Keep calm, don’t panic
It’s difficult to keep calm especially when funds are running out. However, you need to take care of yourself by consuming nutritious foods and exercising regularly indoors. Taking good care of yourself will help you relax and stay calm during a crisis. And this will enable you to solve problems effectively and keep your staff calm.
A healthy mindset encourages everyone to come up with creative ideas. When faced with difficult decisions, you need to take time to think before making drastic decisions. In a dynamic situation with rapid changes, you need to take time to analyze and ask for opinions while keeping perspective. In the end, everything will work out. Seek help whenever you can and don’t hesitate when you need it.
Use resources provided by the government
Governments in different parts of the world have put together initiatives to support business owners during hard times. This is something that is changing daily. You need to be up to date with the initiatives that your government has put together to help in cutting costs.
You also need to work with institutions that have social responsibility. If your business is registered in multiple markets, explore all the options available. For instance, you can research the US government's support for businesses as you wait to hear from the UK government if your business is registered in both nations.
Create a financial plan
The majority of small enterprises have the same essential expenses. And they include office rent, employee salaries, and utility bills. Also, expenses range depending on the industry. Speak to the employees and other stakeholders that you need to pay in the next three months and think of how you can spread out expenses. Chances are, these stakeholders will have a wide range of options available since it’s in their interest to help you keep your business afloat. While coming up with payment plans with other enterprises, remember that they need to stay afloat, so you should be fair with them.
Analyze your finances and communicate with people who’ll help you control your expenditure for the next few months. Figure out which costs are necessary and those that can be put on hold. If your spouse is supporting the growth of the business, you have to have an open and honest discussion with them about your business plan.
Look for ways to reduce expenses. However, use this as the last measure to survive the damages inflicted by the pandemic. The biggest expenses are usually office rent and staff salary. You can consider freezing hiring processes and working with freelancers. You can also downsize your office to have flexible and affordable payment terms.
Be on the lookout for opportunities
It’s not always good to capitalize on terrible events such as this pandemic. However, you can take the time to reconsider how you’ve been running your business. Will your business model survive the changes that come from the COVID-19 pandemic? How do you expect your clients to behave in the days to come? What will they prioritize? How will you accommodate this new type of client? Can you sell your products or services online? Can you use technology to cut costs?
Train your staff
If possible, try to keep your employees. They look up to you for support. And if you’ve managed your team well, they should support you during difficult times. You can train your employees to boost their productivity and performance instead of hiring new staff. Numerous online courses are not only affordable but also easily accessible. And they will allow you to focus on other areas of business. Encourage your team to look for courses that resources that match the needs of your organization. And make time for this.
Create a safe working environment
Regardless of the size of your enterprise, you need to create a safe working environment for your customers and employees. Some of the policies that you should implement include:
- Allowing employees to work remotely whenever possible
- Reducing the number of people working in the workplace
- Creating policies that comply with the Coronavirus Response Act
- Investing in cleaning products, face masks, and gloves
- Educating employees on maintaining high levels of hygiene
Look at your competition
Some enterprises are suffering more than others at the moment. If yours is struggling to make ends meet, you need to study the ones that are thriving during a crisis. And figure out what they are doing differently. Look at your direct and indirect competition to better understand what they are doing and which strategies are effective.
While a few strategies may not apply due to different industries, you can use what you can and shift strategies to fit your needs. There are lots of amazing opportunities that will help you adjust your strategy and position your business to match the competition. If you figure out how other businesses position themselves during and after a crisis, you’ll be ready to take advantage when normalcy begins to return.
Think about short and mid-term changes
At the moment, the pandemic has dominated the short-term. However, you need to think about what is happening in the mid-term too. Are your customers changing how they think and act as we move forward? Maybe the majority will prefer buying your products and services remotely after quarantines are lifted. You need to know whether traditional business models will continue making sense when normalcy returns.
Consider the sectors such as airplanes and theatres that have been limited. Each of these sectors will have to think of ways the traditional business model will play to customers. Think of ways to sift your strategy and business model. Keep an open mind and analyze all your assumptions in your strategy. Figure out which assumptions you’ll hold and those that need to be adjusted accordingly.
One of the most important things you can do right now is improving yourself by taking online courses and reading advice from experts. Research on other enterprises and know the entrepreneurs who have achieved the goals you’ve set. Dig through the large volumes of data to get a clear understanding of your market and competition.
For the majority of successful entrepreneurs, reading and researching about business, competition, and improving themselves is a full-time job. Quarantine gives you time to condense and make this process shorter. Take full advantage of this. Most of your competitors will be using quarantine time to control damages and relax.
You should use this opportunity to be the best version of yourself. If possible, leverage this opportunity so that when normalcy resumes, you can beat the competition. You also need to listen to experienced medical personnel and keep yourself clean and healthy by practicing social distancing guidelines.
Focus on improving quality
You need to manage your finances during tough times. As an entrepreneur, you need to get all the stakeholders involved with the changes that you’ll be making. However, you need to be careful not to sacrifice quality when making product changes. When quality is affected, you’ll lose a lot of customers. And it’s going to be difficult to persuade them to buy from you again.
Prioritize the small stuff
While it’s important to keep an eye on the bigger picture, an entrepreneur should not overlook small things that may have a huge impact on the enterprise. Some of the small things that can harm a business include inadequate parking, ineffective advertising, lack of traffic access, and company signage. Analyzing the factors that bring customers to the premises can help in identifying and solving problems.
Going through your expenses line by line can also help in spotting problems. You should not be checking for one-time expenses since these items were probably necessary charges. You should look for those items that seem innocent but are draining your enterprise. For instance, the cost of office supplies can go beyond the limit if they are improperly ordered. If your supplier increases the prices of the product, you should think of working with a cheaper supplier.
The most important thing is to stay positive and healthy during a crisis. If you have extra free time, use it to take good care of yourself and your loved ones. One day, you’ll look back and assess how you spent your time in quarantine. Therefore, manage your time wisely and stay hopeful that your business will move forward regardless of what happens.
Jessica Chapman, a writing editor at essay writer online from Chicago. She is into sport and politics, enjoys travelling. Find her on Facebook.