COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on all aspects of American businesses, but perhaps none have been as severely affected as small business owners. Surviving this disaster will require more than just time: you will need to take a pragmatic view of what has happened and what steps you are willing and able to take to bounce back. Here are our suggestions:
Review what you’re spending now and what you were spending before to determine what you can eliminate. Efficient spending is going to make a substantial difference in your business’ ability to survive this crisis. If you can break your expenditures down into what is necessary versus what you can eliminate, you’ll be able to give yourself a cash flow advantage.
Perhaps you’ll find that you no longer need the same amount of physical space if you are comfortable with having workers telecommuting. That single example can lead to savings in electricity and other services that can boost your ability to cut expenses. Your goal is to run as lean an operation as possible but to do so without having your cuts impact your ability to provide the service that your clients expect and want.
Examine how the shifts that the pandemic has forced can be incorporated into your business in a more sustained way. Plenty of companies have shown tremendous flexibility and skill in the way that they deliver their products or services, or even in the products themselves. Every business’ success is based on what the market needs. Business owners who can assess how the pandemic’s unique dynamics can be used to their advantage, or how they can adjust to them, will be the ones that are most successful and most likely to survive.
3. Competitive Inspiration
If you’re stuck for what to do to transform your business, look to your competition for inspiration. Perhaps they’ve moved their in-store shopping experience to one that is entirely available online, or they’re providing a new way to use an old product. Maybe they aren’t able to open but are remaining engaged with customers via webinars, podcasts, or live sessions on Facebook or Instagram. Whatever is working for one company, whether in your industry or not, can serve as inspiration for you.
Take a longer view of your business than what is demanded by the immediate moment. Some companies will be able to return to normal, but that is not true of all of them, and taking a clear-eyed look at how consumers are going to look at spending money with your type of business in the future is time well spent. If your business is primarily dependent upon having lots of people gathered in a small space, then you have to think beyond getting back to work. Instead, spend time thinking about the changes you’re going to have to make to allow yourself to stay in business.
If your business operations have slowed or come to a stop as a result of the pandemic, one of the smartest things you can do is to use the time to expand your knowledge and education. There are many courses that you can take online, both free and fee-based, to make sure that you have sharpened your abilities and expanded your knowledge of your business and industry. Taking cues from successful business owners in similar sectors is a great way to boost your expertise. You can find inspiration from innovators and great thinkers, both current and classical. There is a lot more to be gained from the downtime offered by the pandemic than thinking about your inventory and your clients. Use the time to improve yourself, and it will provide a full advantage within your business.
6. Taking Care
Perhaps most important of all, stay healthy and stay positive. If you have extra time that you would have been spending on your business, take the time to make sure that you are taking care of yourself, your family members, and the people in your community. We are living through history, and when it comes to your business, work toward a resilient response that will advance your business beyond this setback.
If you have additional questions about how to keep your business going during COVID-19, please contact us.