If the COVID-19 global pandemic has you in a panic, you’re not alone and what you’re feeling is totally normal. You may be worried about your well-being, the safety of your family, and the survival of your small business.
Again, you’re not alone and billions of people around the world are feeling the strain of staying afloat while also staying safe.
Worrying about keeping your family out of harm’s way while also trying to ensure that your small business remains open is a huge weight. Here are a few tips that may help lighten that load or could have you prepared for any global crisis in the future.
Step 1 – Look after yourself and avoid COVID-19
One of the hardest parts of surviving a global pandemic such as this one is neglecting yourself. Losing sleep about finances and the fear of surviving the current crisis all make for a bad mindset. Keeping a healthy outlook not only goes far when dealing with stress but it can keep your staff calm too.
Medical professionals have warned that a low immune system makes one more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. Eat well, get some exercise, and rest to boost your immune system and avoid falling ill. Always look to authorities like the World Health Organisation for information, and follow government guidelines when possible – wear a mask and encourage your staff to do the same.
Step 2 – Cut costs where possible
Cutting costs at a time when businesses are closed and making money at the same time is difficult but it can be the difference between keeping your doors open or not. You can reduce costs by cancelling non-essential services, renegotiating fixed fees on contracts, and requesting payment holidays or extensions. These small steps are great ways to boost the available cash in your bank, even if only for a short while.
You may need to take drastic steps if cash is tight. Could working from home cut travelling costs? Do you have outstanding invoices that could bring in money? Do whatever it takes to keep you and your staff paid during these unprecedented times.
Step 3 – Make use of government-provided funds
Many governments are finding ways to provide businesses with the assistance they need to survive using either government funding or money collected via donations. If you qualify to receive a part of these funds, make the most of the opportunity. Ensure that your paperwork is up to date and that the necessary documentation is available to avoid being penalised unnecessarily.
Step 4 – If possible, pivot your business
Businesses are being closed due to lockdown but essential services are still able to operate during this time. If your current business falls under the non-essential umbrella, consider pivoting to provide essential products or services instead.
Are you able to produce facemasks or deliver goods? Can you change how your business operates for a short time to earn an income and stay within government restrictions? Being able to adapt in a situation like this is crucial for ensuring that your small business will still be standing once the smoke clears.
Step 5 – Start saving as soon as possible
COVID-19 may have caught the world by surprise but it’s not to say that this will be the only crisis during your SME’s lifetime. As soon as you are able to start saving money for the future, do so with gusto. Having a nest egg that can sustain your business and all of its costs for at least 3 months is a good place to start. Once again, cutting costs is vital to ensuring that your business swims instead of sinks even when not earning an income.
Step 6 – Create spending opportunities
Find ways to offer your customers something extra special that will encourage them to spend money. Creating vouchers that can be purchased now and used once your business opens its doors again is a great way to generate income immediately.
Special offers and discounts are another way to entice customers. Create lockdown deals or offers that will only be available during this time. If the rewards are large enough, clients may be willing to pay now for a product that can only be delivered later.
Step 7 – Stay in touch via social media
If your business has been shutdown entirely for the lockdown, don’t disappear off of social media too! Interact with your customers, share anecdotes, and find ways to make sure that they’ll be back for more once your doors open again. People are spending more time on their mobiles than ever before – put their scrolling to good use and keep your social media presence alive.
Remain calm, save for the future, and do what you can to help your small business be ready for any global crisis that may come its way. To learn more, continue to Part 2 of our Small Business Survival Guide, or read our recent article highlighting 5 ways you can grow your small business in a snap.