The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has affected the daily operations of every single business around the world. Whether it’s financially, logistically or economically: you’d be hard-pressed to find a business that hasn’t been affected in some way.
Small businesses, in particular, will feel the full brunt of COVID-19-related trauma, as they’re less likely to have the cash reserves necessary to negate the impact. This is why taking decisive action before the dust settles is crucial to business longevity and minimising the potential bruising that these uncertain times is sure to inflict.
Businesses of all sizes have been here before; sure, the scale of it is unprecedented and the path to recovery might look a little hazy, but the path is there nonetheless. Let’s take a look at how you can get there.
1. Build an Audience for the Future
Let’s not beat around the bush; sales are down – but don’t let that discourage you from arguably the most important course of action: growing your audience.
It might sound bizarre, and go against the fundamentals of business, but focusing on earning money is the wrong approach during this time. Think about creating unique packages and offers to supplement your customers’ loss of earnings.
This could mean free subscriptions for a limited time, contract reductions, payment deferrals or, even in extreme cases, waiving debts altogether. We should always do our bit to help our fellow man, but the circumstances we currently find ourselves in as a result of the COVID-19 crisis means the arena of public opinion is more volatile than ever before.
Now is not the time for tone-deaf greed. Such a PR blunder could catapult your small business toward the wrong side of public opinion, dooming all of your future endeavours once this is over. People won’t forget being shafted!
Yes, the global economy is in the trenches, but it will recover. History will tell you that it’s only a matter of when, not if. When it does eventually recover, the steps you’ve taken to grow your audience will have you in a fantastic position to capitalise on your newfound popularity.
2. Establish Beneficial Partnerships
Remember what we said to kick things off: every single business is currently being affected by coronavirus in one-way or another. You’re not alone. There are a number of business owners out there who are in the same boat and looking for strategic partnerships to help them stay afloat.
While there’s no doubt everyone would prefer coronavirus to disappear as quickly as it appeared; if we’re to look for a silver lining amidst the chaos, it’s the emergence of opportunities that would have otherwise never arisen.
The time is now to start collaborating with businesses that share a mutual interest. If you have the capital to do so, the riskier among you might want to consider initiating acquisition proceedings with your niche competitors who are no longer able or wish to continue operating.
Where collaborations are concerned, look no further than the chameleon-like flexibility of social media influencers, who sensed the meteoric rise in popularity of home workouts and adjusted their agenda to satisfy the demands of the market. Their initiative should inspire you to be on the constant lookout for shifting market trends and to take action when the moment arises.
3. Communicate with … Everyone!
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left us all feeling lost, and looking toward our leadership figures for guidance. Whether that’s at a government or local level, a colleague, family member or friend – a time of uncertainty calls for strong leadership.
If you’re in a position where one or several individuals rely on you, the best thing you can do is communicate with clarity and as unambiguously as possible.
Communicate with EVERYONE around you: your staff & colleagues, customers, followers, community members, neighbours, friends and families. It’s a heavy burden to bear – but heavy is the head that wears the crown.
Leading from the front will show preparedness to tackle any obstacle. The goals you set out at the start of the fiscal year have probably changed five times in the past month alone; relaying such changes to every individual involved in the process is crucial for operations to continue running smoothly.
4. Keep Thinking Rationally
Being a small business owner in a time of global crisis, it would be reasonable to assume that survival is a long shot. Your innate fight or flight response is probably going into overdrive as you try to come up with solutions to what seems like a range of never-ending problems.
This is when cooler heads prevail.
The initial stages of anxiety can be truly frightening if you let them be. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it would be wise to take a step back and try to look at the advantages of your current position.
Small companies have the ability to make big changes quickly. Being able to manoeuvre and pivot away from danger requires strong leadership and effective communication (as we previously mentioned).
Try not to get caught up in the throes of panic; we’re aware that this is easier said than done, but if you’ve brought a business this far, you should have the skills to keep going!
Millions of businesses have survived hard times before: why shouldn’t yours be one of them? An economic crisis is a terrifying prospect, but it’s the catalyst that will separate the wheat from the chaff. Small businesses that are helmed by decisive individuals who take action while remaining calm under pressure will survive and continue to flourish for years to come. Take the right steps and yours will too.