COVID-19 has made a major dent in the global economy and the long-term business fallout is inevitable. For many small businesses, the coronavirus means they must close their doors entirely, even if temporarily. For others, it means scaling back significantly and making unfortunate cuts to salaries, workforce, and more. Owners of small- and medium-sized businesses are in a panic trying to figure out how to stay afloat and keep disruptions to their operations as minimal as possible.
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and how businesses are supposed to remain open and thriving. Protecting your business during this crisis means a lot more than disinfecting keyboards and scrubbing down common areas. It means strategizing and planning for the unknown, being as transparent as possible with your staff, and taking as many precautionary measures as possible. Some companies are relying on digital marketing efforts, others are setting up “lemonade stand” outside of their storefront. The reality is that “by any means necessary” has become the bloodline of businesses across the country.
First and foremost, it is important for business owners to look inward before they turn their attention outward. This means making sure that your internal operations are able to function with remote access. Can your employees all access the tools necessary to do their jobs remotely? Have you found a good platform for meetings and project management? Take the time to find a good fit now and don’t be afraid to bail on technology that is not working for you.
Next, it’s time to look outward and focus on maintaining customers and reeling in new prospects. The following are some things to consider as you attempt to keep your business afloat in these unprecedented times:
- Email Outreach: communicate with your current client base and reach out to new prospects. Offer a loyalty deal to customers. Start a promotion for new leads. These efforts will prove to be critical in the coming weeks and months.
- Get Creative: how can you adjust the way in which you deliver your product and/or service? Challenge the executives in your organization to think outside of the box and encourage them to truly get innovative in their ideas.
- Invest in Marketing: this may seem like a crazy time to spend more money when so many companies are cutting back. But if you can swing it, throw more money into digital marketing efforts. Your competition is not spending their money on Google ads and social media marketing, so made the investment now and take advantage of the lean competition.
- Encourage Your Workforce: working from home is a massive challenge. From children to lack of motivation, it can be easy to drop the ball as an employee. Combat this issue with incentives and positive reinforcement. Encourage your employees to go for a run or take a break for a television show. That may seem counterproductive, but breaks like that will keep them working hard for your business. Also, try to be as transparent as possible regarding the health of your company. A worried employee is an unproductive employee.
- Consider Federal Relief: lean on the government to keep your business afloat and your employees paid. There are a few funding relief options available to you, take a look at this Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources for more information.
The economic and financial fallout of COVID-19 is yet to be fully realized, but one lesson has certainly been revealed: people can thrive in a digital world. Use this pandemic as a way to rethink your business and how to best address your customer and prospect needs and wants both today and tomorrow. There is no better time to focus on strategy and growing your business, just remember that success today depends on the ability remain flexible in these uncertain times.