If you are a small business owner, chances are that you have been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic that has swept around the globe this year.
Stay-at-home and national lockdown orders have taken a toll on small businesses around the world. With business doors effectively getting shut in the U.S., new challenges have arisen that are set to effect small business owners for months, if not years to come.
There has been much talk in recent years about disruption and trying to pick companies that will disrupt their industries. The debate continued at the Morningstar Investment Conference as Bill Nygren of Oakmark Funds faced off with Morgan Stanley's Dennis Lynch. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Persistence Morningstar's Katie Reichart moderated the Read More
Here are a couple of priorities that small businesses need to consider and work through in order to improve their chances of survival during times of economic disruption.
Check If You Are Eligible For Financial Help
Congress enacted a 2-trillion relief bill in March that includes specific provisions for helping out small businesses.
If you are a business with less than 500 employees you can apply for financial relief. The good thing: The relief bill also includes freelancers, partnerships and sole proprietorships, which most small businesses are.
Financial relief includes access to low-interest loans and money to compensate businesses for payroll costs. Relief funds provide a crucial source of funding for small businesses at a time when business revenue for a lot of smaller companies has often dropped by 50% or more. You can find more information about the conditions for application on the website of the Small Business Administration.
Endorese the Shift to Remote Work
Make sure that you follow all social distancing guidelines and allow your employees/workers to work from home as much as possible. You and your employees need to be safe and healthy first in order to ensure the short-term functionality of your business.
As you assign remote work to your employees, make sure you have processes and procedures in place to track your employees productivity.
Cut Overhead Costs
In times of unprecedented business shutdowns and chilling drops in revenues, it is paramount to get a fast grip on the cost structure of your company. Overhead costs weigh on your profitability and are a dangerous force to be reckoned with if you don’t act fast and cut costs.
Can you furlough your employees? Can you reduce their work hours? Labor costs are likely your biggest headache right now, so make sure to adjust your cost structure as fast as possible.
Reach Out To Your Customers
The Coronavirus has not merely shut down a good portion of US businesses, but it also negatively impacts customer relationships, if you are not proactive that is. Many customers are extremely frustrated and irritated that their lives have been thrown into disarray.
At this point, you as a small business owner have a real opportunity to earn a customer’s loyalty through superior customer service. This is where you can really stand out: Reach out to your customers and update them about your business hours and any kind of restrictions. Educate them about how you are going to service them while they can’t connect with your business in real life. Stand out by offering superb online customer service, and update your Social Media regularly to share customer-relevant information.
Small Business Owners Must Get Ready For The Rebound
It may sound weird right now, but this virus will pass and businesses around the country will return to business as usual. Customers will come back to your business and start to spend money again.
Are you managing your business in such a way that you can be fully operational again once lockdowns are lifted? Can you rely on your (ex)employees to come back quickly to resume business and return your business to profitability?
The small business owner that comes out of the shutdown stronger is the one that can adapt quickly to a changing economic landscape and customer behavior. Small businesses can adapt easier and faster than larger companies which can be transformed into a huge competitive advantage and improved customer loyalty, if the focus is customer satisfaction.