Many businesses have been affected by the recent pandemic. For the last few weeks, companies have had to shut down or scale back. Sheltering at home is an important step in saving lives. That does not make this process any easier. Here is how to keep your business afloat during this difficult time.
As of April 12, 2020, 64% of US local business had closed, and employees were down 75% of their usual hours. Most companies have been affected one way or another. In fact, 91.4% of businesses feel that they either have been, or will soon be, negatively affected. The coronavirus outbreak is a very new thing. As a society, we dislike having new things. We hate not knowing. As time goes on, we will have more information, and we will have a more positive outlook. Eventually, society will return to a sense of normal. Eventually, the market will improve. Until then, here are 5 ways that you can help keep your business afloat.
If you have had to lay off your team, you will still want to keep in contact with them. You hired your team for a reason. Of course, you want your employees to stay with the company. At the same time though, you likely want your employees to go where they have opportunity. You may have loyal employees looking for another job right now. They may have loved working with you, but they still have bills to pay. When this is over, some employees will return, and some will not. How you treat your employees, or recent employees, will say a lot. Your actions now will affect views of your business in the future. Future applicants will likely ask how you responded during the outbreak.
Reaching out to your team is a big gesture. A small act of kindness can do a lot. Try to set up some form of open communication with your recent employees. Check on how they are doing right now. See if there is anything you can do to help them. It might not be possible to cover everyone’s rent or mortgage right now. You may be able to help with smaller things. You can check in to see if they have enough food for their family.
If you already have a risk assessment, it is likely too far out of date at this point. March feels like it was longer than a month. That is because a lot happened in just the course of 31 days. We were getting daily updates on how the pandemic changed. The world has changed a lot in the last month. Run a new risk assessment. Create a new SWOT analysis. Do another PEST analysis. Are there other assessments or analyses you usually do? You will want to see where you are now that the climate has changed.
The world is in a crisis now. Almost everyone has been affected one way or another. Keep your stakeholders informed of every move you make. You need to establish trust right now. Tell your stakeholders what you are doing to keep the company afloat. Keep customers up to date on when you think you will reopen again. If you are selling products curbside right now, let them know that.
Be sure to update your social media at least weekly so customers stay informed. Customers do care. Many consumers want to help their favorite local businesses. We have talked previously about ways that customers can help support local business. Consider sharing our infographic with them. Your customers are likely affected by this as well. Many are overwhelmed and will not seek out information on their own. If you want your customers to stay up to date with your store, you will have to keep them informed. Stay active on social media. Keep posting updates.=
We are not saying to do a 180 on your company, but look out for other opportunities right now. There are a lot of businesses joining the fight against COVID-19. We are hearing a lot about national businesses getting involved. However, local businesses are getting involved too. What these companies are doing is great for the community. However, their actions are also helpful to their own business. They are hiring back their team, staying open, finding revenue, and maybe even getting free publicity.
Check in with your customers to see what they need. See if you can provide what they are looking for now. Talk to your providers about what they are able to offer you at this time. See if there is a market for a product or service you had not previously considered. You do not have to just focus on finding ways to pay. Money is tight for every company right now. You might even consider trading current products or services.
In the last few weeks, we have been sharing ways to spend your downtime. There are a lot of things you can do now to ensure that you are ready for business in a few weeks. You could practice a new skill, or even read up on a new topic. Here are five more ways for you to spend your down time:
Start Your Marketing
Create an Online Shop
Redecorate Your Store
Add VR to Your Sales
See How Seasonal Businesses Thrive
Humans do not like the unknown. Now may be a scary time, but this is only temporary. If you are a business owner, you have likely had to overcome a lot in life to be where you are today. This is just one more hurdle. Eventually things will calm back down, and the market will reopen. Until then, you do not have to go feeling helpless. There is a lot you can do to help your business stay afloat.