updated - October 1, 2020 Thursday EDT
A huge number of businesses are shutting down as an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Big stores in America were forced to close to avoid the spread of the virus and secure the safety of their employees and customers. However, this imposed lockdown had small businesses struggling to survive, with some having no chance of opening again.
The fall of the economy has greatly affected small businesses. It's still unknown when this pandemic will end and when stores will be allowed to open again. Therefore, small business owners should be ready to keep their businesses afloat amid COVID-19.
The purpose of analyzing your current business status is to know the core function of your business and the key people. By analyzing, you will know what aspect of your business is affected the most by the pandemic. In turn, you can focus on these aspects that might be vulnerable to the pandemic.
First, list down the names of your suppliers, agents, and distributors to help you remain connected and discuss business plans during and after the pandemic. Also, identify the technologies and equipment needed. Make sure that these are still present even after the health crisis. Do not be afraid of making a back-up plan in case these resources cannot deliver.
Next, assess your business' cost and revenue. Is the income your business is currently generating enough to keep the business going? Does your business rely on a certain target market? Are customers still availing of your goods or services despite the pandemic?
Once you're done with your business assessment and analysis, you will have a clearer view of your business' functions, customers, employees, and suppliers. Mapping the risks of running the business during the pandemic will help you understand how to protect your business from shutting down.
Your business is not the only thing affected by the pandemic. You have to be transparent with your customers about what the business is going through. Tell them some shipments might be delayed, or there has been a shortage of employees in your store. Customers will empathize with you if you tell them the truth.
With many small businesses affected by the pandemic, governments worldwide are making efforts to help these businesses. Governments and private institutions began offering financial assistance for businesses that closed down or striving to stay open during the pandemic.
In America, President Trump signed a coronavirus relief bill, providing a government-guaranteed loan for small business owners. Moreover, Trump signed another bill, an economic stimulus bill for small or big business owners who want to apply for a loan. Several states have also made the necessary steps to assist business owners. Business owners can also take out loans from private credit lenders.
In Australia, the government established temporary assistance that includes wage subsidy to retain employees, help manage cash flow, a safety net for companies under financial distress, and loans. Business owners are also taking out personal loans from private lenders, such as Nifty personal loans, to keep their businesses running.
Moreover, the UK government established COVID-19 business support. The government made loans, tax reliefs, and cash grants available to business owners. Self-employed individuals can also get up to £2,500 per month in cash grants.
Because of the imposed lockdown, everything is now online. Some companies had their employees work remotely, while agents and salespeople were prevented from traveling. Because of this, there's a rampant increase in marketing goods or services online.
If you have a website, then this is the perfect time to improve it. Update and change the features and design of your website. It should be simple yet attractive at the same time. Customers should be able to navigate through your website easily and have a working customer support feature.
Communication is crucial to keep your customers. Utilize email marketing strategies or SMS marketing. Update your customers on your new products, freshly restocked products, and promotions for any sale you are having. It is essential to keep your customers abreast of what is going on with your business.
The most utilized marketing strategy, as of now, is social media marketing. Make use of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote your business. You will also be able to keep ahead of your competitors and know what your customers want. It will also be easy for customers to reach out to you using the platform.
Technology made people resilient to the sudden change that the pandemic brought. People are now working from home, selling online, and connecting with people through online conference calls and meetings.
Online businesses are also booming, sparking an economic and technological transformation in business. Considering the uncertainties when everything goes back to normal, online selling might stay for a long time.
With everything shifting online, you have to make sure that you're equipped with the right technology to keep up with your business' demands. Make use of applications like Google Drive and Office 365 to share files with your employees and business partners. Utilize Zoom and Skype for conference calls and meetings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only individuals but also businesses as well. Stores had closed down, and some employees no longer have jobs. However, this is not the end yet for small business owners. By following the advice written above, you are now equipped to face the challenges that the pandemic brings to your business.
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