Coronavirus Lockdown. Pandemic Guide For Small Business
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and left almost every entrepreneur out there asking: How the heck am I going to survive this? The virus is spreading quickly and it is forcing people to stay home, which is not exactly a dream come true for small businesses.
On the contrary, it looks like coronavirus is already jeopardizing entire organizations. Here’s what a recent Goldman Sachs small business study revealed:
- 51% of owners claim their business will only be able to continue to operate for 0-3 months.
- 96% of small business owners say they have already been impacted by the outbreak.
- 75% say their business has been impacted by fewer sales.
- 53% of entrepreneurs say their employees don’t have the ability to telecommute.
- 67% are uncertain about how to access and apply for emergency funding.
The COVID-19 pandemic is obviously hurting small businesses, but the most important question is how to respond to the crisis and keep your projects alive and kicking.
It is clear that you will need to improvise and adjust in a way that matches the specificities of your company, but we can share with you practical techniques that are applicable to all types of organizations.
Here are the 10 most important tips for small businesses in the coronavirus lockdown.
1. Establish a remote team
Insisting on standard office-based operations will only get you so far in the age of COVID-19, so you better establish a remote team as soon as possible. Members of your company should have the option of working from home as it will make everyone feel safer and more convenient.
The only thing that matters is to provide people with the necessary equipment, including laptops, software programs, and communication platforms. Besides that, you should set weekly business goals, stick to the same schedule of work, and keep the usual routines uninterrupted.
2. Create an efficient communication plan
The fact that you and your team will be working from home means that you will have to create an efficient plan of communication. This step is critical as you don’t want to waste too much time organizing conference calls and typing group chat messages all day long.
The best solution is to prepare daily briefings where you can run through everyone’s achievements quickly. Of course, don’t forget weekly one-on-one video calls with your employees because it’s the only way to discuss their problems and professional challenges individually.
3. Treat your employees with all due attention
The business in the age of COVID-19 is far from usual, which means you and your colleagues will have to make a lot of improvisations along the way. Keep in mind that some people are going to make mistakes – it is completely natural when employees change their everyday habits.
This is exactly why we recommend you treat your staff with all due attention and understanding. You will have to go through this together and panic and anger won’t help your small business to recover any sooner.
4. Make a long-term plan of work
Coronavirus will likely have a long-term effect on your organization (and all the other small businesses, for that matter), so you should make the corresponding plan of work. Jake Gardner, a business essay writer, claims that every firm should come up with three types of plans:
– The worst-case scenario
– The best-case scenario
– The realistic scenario
Each of these strategies must come with a detailed description of activities, financial obligations, key performance indicators, etc. It will help you to prepare for all possibilities and react promptly in each case.
5. Seek financial assistance
A vast majority of small businesses don’t have enough capital to make it through the crisis. If you are running one such company, don’t hesitate to seek financial assistance. After all, governments and financial institutions from all over the world are launching quality programs and there’s no reason not to take advantage of it.
For example, The Small Business Administration announced a guide on coronavirus funding options with instructions for businesses and employers. You can find local assistance here, debt-relief options, and many more.
6. Keep the customers informed about possible changes
The purpose of your business is to serve the customers, so don’t forget to keep them informed about possible changes. This is particularly important for loyal consumers who keep coming back to your stores and generate the largest portion of the profit.
What does it mean in practice? Well, you need to announce whether the physical branches of your business are still operational. You also need to explain other changes related to the modifications in your portfolio, shipping terms, inventory issues, and so on.
7. Start selling online
Small businesses are not exactly the pioneers of online sales, but now is the perfect time to finally start thinking about it. Online retail has been growing steadily, with reports showing that the US food and beverage e-commerce sales will grow by 23.4% in 2020.
The same logic applies to all the other branches of digital retail, which means you should treat the COVID-19 pandemic as the opportunity to go online and begin offering your products or services on the Internet.
8. Give a brand-new boost to your discount marketing campaigns
It won’t be easy to ensure long-term purchases these days, but you can maximize your efforts with discount marketing campaigns. For instance, you can promote cheaper annual memberships plans.
Another option is to reactivate the free shipping policy because that’s what most purchasers are hoping for. You can also support and cross-promote non-competitors in the local community. All it takes is to offer discounts for customers who show you a recent bill from a neighboring merchant.
There are many other options to think about, but it’s up to you to get creative and find the most appropriate discount campaign for your target audience.
9. Strengthen your digital marketing efforts
People have been spending more time online in the last few weeks, and they will continue to do so, which is a nice chance for you to strengthen your digital marketing efforts. If this is not really your area of expertise, you should at least begin from the basics such as:
- Writing a few interesting articles for your website.
- Creating weekly newsletters for your email subscribers.
- Publishing funny, entertaining, and educational posts on social media networks.
- Using targeted advertising to promote the latest products or services.
10. Organize events online
If you’ve been planning events recently, there is no need to halt the process because you are free to do it online. For example, you can always organize a digital meeting or use live-streaming to promote a new product. It’s a great way to engage the audience and raise brand awareness quickly and with little to no extra costs.
The Bottom Line
No one was really prepared for the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s natural to feel worried and uncertain about your small business. The most important thing is to calm down and prepare a thorough strategy on how to prevent further damage.
In this post, we showed you 10 practical tips for small businesses in the coronavirus lockdown. Think about these suggestions and use the ones that suit your business needs – it will help you get through this mess without severe financial losses.