Like a blockbuster sci-fi movie flick, COVID-19 has thrust its hands upon us, keeping us far from our desks and closer to our kitchen windows. Offices and businesses are closed, streets are deserted, recreational locations are locked.
Well, the good thing is you probably get to spend surplus time at home with loved ones. The bad news is you are fast running out of cash and for a business owner, it’s even worse as you probably have a bunch of staff to pay while debating on how to keep the business afloat amid this cataclysmic event.
The truth is a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs are hard hit in the present environment and you’re probably thinking there is no hope for your business. Now, here’s some business advice – don’t give up yet.
No matter how bleak the future looks, there is still a way out for your business. This article will take you through several tips to keep your business running during and after COVID-19.
- 25 Essential Tips to Keep Your Business Running During & After COVID-19
- 1. Trim Financial Costs
- 2. Communicate with Your Clients and Employees
- 3. Move Your Business Online
- 4. Revamp Your Business Operations
- 5. Take Advantage of the Rise in Smartphones and Tablets
- 6. Develop an Interactive Email Marketing Campaign
- 7. Start up a Logistics Business
- 8. Take Advantage of Resources Offered by Governments and Financial Institutions
- 9. Try to Upgrade Your Staffs’ Skills
- 10. Review Your Insurance Policy
- 11. Capitalize on Market Opportunities During the Pandemic
- 12. Inquire from Creditors and Financial Institutions About Payment Delays
- 13. Form Partnerships with Other Small Companies
- 14. Consider Getting Refunds from Travel Cancellations
- 15. Check if You Really Need a Large Office Space
- 16. Review Your business Lease Options
- 17. Cut Down on Payroll
- 18. Liaise with Your Vendors
- 19. Stay Strict with Cutting Costs
- 20. Reach Out to Other Competitors Via Your Customers
- 21. Get in Touch with Former Customers
- 22. Think Up Additional Streams of Income
- 23. Review Your Marketing and Advertising Needs
- 24. Get in Touch with Former Prospects
- 25. Opt for Low-Cost Marketing Techniques
- Final Thoughts
25 Essential Tips to Keep Your Business Running During & After COVID-19
The first thing you should do – keep calm. Panic never solves anything. Yes, you’re probably staring at millions of monies going down the drain with the longer the lockdown is enforced. Take a breather. Just go out for a walk and consider the fact that you are running into losses yet it’s not as bad as getting struck by lightning or living the rest of your life in a vegetative state.
Secondly, you need to ponder on the reality that you are not the only one affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone has been impacted by it in one way or the other. This should be some sort of encouragement for you as it probably means you get some of your bills like rent payments suspended temporarily since your creditors are aware of the limiting global crisis preventing you from fulfilling your obligations.
Although it may not be enough to ward off the legal repercussions involved in not being able to keep up with your payments, there is still nothing unethical or dishonorable about not being able to pay your bills during this coronavirus crisis. That’s why you need to really assess what has to be done. You must have a strategy in place for your business’s survival and continuity.
So, below are 25 tips that we believe can help your business continue running during and after COVID-19.
1. Trim Financial Costs
You already understand that bills payment may be difficult to fulfill during this lockdown. One important tip you can implement is by trimming financial costs.
You can do this by creating a cash-flow budget displaying fixed costs against variable costs. Fixed costs are those that are absolutely necessary to be paid, so they get prioritized based on their importance.
Try set money aside for these fixed costs only while the other unnecessary costs that are not directly contributing to revenue generation or other major business functions can be trimmed out.
2. Communicate with Your Clients and Employees
Don’t keep your clients and employees in the dark. Talk to them and let them know if you will still be open for operations and if your working hours will remain the same or will change. They need to be assured of their safety, so let them know what you have put in place to ensure this.
Let them know if there might be delays with receiving orders or attending to customer requests. Ensure that your employees have all the available resources they will require if they are to work from home. Such resources may include online collaboration tools or access to log into their office computer.
3. Move Your Business Online
You’d be doing your business a huge disservice if it still has no online presence. Now that your office is on lockdown, your business can best be represented through its website. If you want to keep your business survival assured, then you really need to create an online platform for it.
What you sell or what service you offer will determine how the website will look like and what content will be listed on it. If you own a local restaurant, you can create an online platform and ask customers to place orders for meals while you get it delivered to them using 3rd party logistics services.
4. Revamp Your Business Operations
Several big organizations are switching over their operations to the production of sanitizers, face masks, disinfectants, and several other essential supplies. You can also take a cue from here by providing relevant items or services that would be needed by the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Make it a point of duty to know exactly what your customers need during this period and divert your operations in that direction. Basically, if you cannot get what your business normally sells, then look for what you can introduce that would appeal to your customers.
5. Take Advantage of the Rise in Smartphones and Tablets
The number of business people and consumers that can be reached digitally through computers, tablets, and smartphones daily continues to increase.
From teenagers to older adults, people make use of their digital devices to access a myriad of requests like products, vendors, prices, as well as reviews.
They even go as far as asking to be notified about new deals, all of which can be done right from their smartphones or tablets anywhere in the world.
Don’t keep your business in the dark.
Take a wise business advice today and develop an online application for your business so your potential customers can see your offers and services.
6. Develop an Interactive Email Marketing Campaign
Here, we are hoping that you probably already have a clients’ or customers’ mailing list which would make things much easier. In case you don’t, get busy and start building one as soon as possible. Inform your customers about updates on your business and send tips on ways they can use what you sell to them.
Also, tell them about the products you have in stock with further information regarding discounts, links where they can buy as well as your phone number. If you’re into the physical therapy business or you own a gym, you can relay tips for staying active and healthy while they’re at home until the COVID-19 situation gets back to normal.
7. Start up a Logistics Business
You don’t need to own a restaurant before you can kickstart a pickup and delivery service. Your customers might be willing to have certain items delivered to them and you could set up a way for them to place orders for these items and have it sent to their location.
This is a very effective strategy for business continuity during this coronavirus outbreak as most people are at home and will depend on logistics services.
8. Take Advantage of Resources Offered by Governments and Financial Institutions
Governments across the world are setting up several types of initiatives to help support small business owners. It’s up to you to be updated on the measures your government is implementing to help you cut costs.
Some financial institutions like banks can also help your business with special programs like interest rate cuts during this coronavirus pandemic.
9. Try to Upgrade Your Staffs’ Skills
One important business advice you should follow is to try to upgrade your staff’s skills during this COVID-19 outbreak. (This is assuming you still kept some of your staff.)
Your staff relies on you and if you were able to successfully manage a good team, then they’d most likely be willing to support you. Try to enlist them for training that would boost their productivity. This takes out the option and potential cost of hiring more staff when the coronavirus pandemic is over.
There are several courses online today that are quite cheap and affordable or even free. Learning other essential skills can drive their focus to other vital areas of your business when their department is temporarily down.
For example, there is nothing stopping your sales team from working with your marketing team while self-isolating.
10. Review Your Insurance Policy
As much as business advice goes, you won’t be doing your company any harm if you decide to check your insurance policy in case it contains clauses related to business interruption issuance.
After reading through the policy comprehensively, if it seems they will not be paying you for any virus-related claims, keep an eye out for any new state or federal legislation that could enforce them to pay for losses incurred by you and other businesses during the current pandemic.
11. Capitalize on Market Opportunities During the Pandemic
Ethically, its never a good thing to take advantage of tragic events such as the COVID-19 outbreak, however, they just might be the wake-up call you need to reconfigure the way your business has been operating.
Niggling questions you need to ask yourself include whether your current business model can survive the changes emanating from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic? In what way do you expect your customers to react going forward? What are the things that will matter and won’t matter to these customers? Is there an improved way you can accommodate new types of customers? Can switching to a digitized business model work for you?
Try to take advantage of this business advice to keep your business continuously operational.
12. Inquire from Creditors and Financial Institutions About Payment Delays
This is important because some banks and other lending financial institutions are beginning to offer different forms of payment relief as a result of the crisis. You should check with your bank or creditors and confirm if they can allow you to make your payments at a later date without incurring any penalties.
Some mortgage companies can also offer relief by letting you suspend payments for some months. You may also need to check your utility company in case they have any program set up to keep your home or office from been shut off the electric grid and gas in the middle of the pandemic.
13. Form Partnerships with Other Small Companies
The popular saying – two heads are better than one – should suffice here. The COVID-19 crisis might be affecting you and some other businesses differently. Perhaps you and any of the other businesses can pull resources together and find a solution to some of the problems you both face.
Your networking group or chamber of commerce might be of help in this situation.
14. Consider Getting Refunds from Travel Cancellations
In case you had to cancel some already booked business travel plans, go through your airline and hotel policies to see their cancellation policies. Some of them are currently waiving change fees or handing out credits for nonrefundable purchases during the coronavirus pandemic.
You should also try to confirm if the airline you booked has already rescheduled your flights – you just might be entitled to receive either a refund or credits you’d probably not have gotten otherwise.
15. Check if You Really Need a Large Office Space
Since your employees are probably already working from home, if your lease is due for renewal soon then you should ponder on how feasible it is to cut long-term costs by choosing to rent a smaller office space.
You may also consider terminating the idea of rented space completely.
16. Review Your business Lease Options
If you run a company while leasing the business space, it would be a wise move to speak with the landlord and reason with them on the possibility of getting a temporary rent reduction or if you can be allowed to defer payments.
In case you’re faced with the possibility of closing the business for good, go through the lease agreement you signed to check for an “out” clause in it because it may get you out of the lease without you having to pay a penalty before the term elapses.
You should notify the landlord in advance for this and notification time is usually three months.
17. Cut Down on Payroll
Perhaps the best business advice you can take during this coronavirus crisis is to cut down on payroll. No one likes to let go of their employee, especially when it’s a small business and you already see your workers as “family”.
However, if there are no sales or customers, as much as it hurts, you’ll have to take the hard decision of letting them go.
Employee layoffs or terminations can also ease the burden of bill payments off you but you need to remember that your employees may be your greatest assets and if you do a mistake of cutting too deep, you’ll probably not be getting them back.
Generally, layoffs are a short-term request for employees to take unpaid time off and they may likely seek unemployment benefits but the plan is to get them back to work as soon as possible.
You can have employees work from home at a reduced rate or perhaps if they can’t work from home, they may be paid a much lower salary then get the full pay package sometime later in the future.
Just make sure your employees are not working for free to avoid possible backlash or issues from labor laws governing your territory.
Terminations should be a last resort because the employees will probably not be coming back after their status has been terminated. You should provide them with unemployment benefits following this process.
18. Liaise with Your Vendors
If your business depends on the need for vendors, be sure to talk to them and try to see if they can help you in terms of giving you a break on prices or providing certain items that your customers need which you’re not ordering at the moment.
You may also ask if they can allow you to delay payments and payback at a later time. Also, be on the lookout for other vendors who might be offering lower pricing in case your vendor’s pricing refuses to change.
19. Stay Strict with Cutting Costs
While trying to secure loan payment postponement and other bills payment delays be sure to consider your big expenses along with the little ones.
Observe your credit card statements and look out for recurring charges you probably already forgot about, for instance, online service subscriptions which you currently do not need.
20. Reach Out to Other Competitors Via Your Customers
If a particular company is interested in what you are selling, then there is every possibility that their competitors will want your product too. Take advantage of this business advice and utilize the industry groups you’re a part of or seminars, trade shows, or friends within your industry. They can help you detect potential prospects.
Although the people you meet may not need your services right now, ask them about the possibility of doing so later in the future or if they can connect you to the right contact you should discuss with at their company.
21. Get in Touch with Former Customers
It’s wrong to assume that a former customer who suddenly stopped patronizing you would never ever buy from you again. Fortunately, customers and their circumstances tend to change quickly just like the weather.
That customer who went for a cheaper competitor might have been disappointed with their level of quality or service and be ready to receive your call today. That project manager who diverted the contract meant for you to his close pal might have left the company by the time business reopens fully.
Reach out today.
22. Think Up Additional Streams of Income
This is like the holy grail of most businesses so you should not find it surprising that it is part of this list. There is no business advice that goes without pointing out how important it is for a company to diversify its streams of income and this COVID-19 pandemic screams the need for this diversity.
You could add wallpaper pasting to your business if what you do mainly is paint houses and apartments. Feel free to think up other additions you could add to your business to generate more income.
23. Review Your Marketing and Advertising Needs
As a business advice, you should consider reviewing your marketing and advertising needs based on the dictates of the current coronavirus pandemic.
If you have difficulties meeting up with inventory shortages or a reduction in staff due to government restrictions, you should consider dropping or reducing your advertising. Save it for the end of the COVID-19 crisis when everything goes back to normal.
However, if your business is still in operation and you have adjusted to a new mode of operations like e-commerce or logistics service, you should consider rallying up your marketing strategy for a campaign push.
Just make sure you stick to your budget and utilize the right media to target ads to your customers to avoid flushing money down the drain.
24. Get in Touch with Former Prospects
Those prospects you reached out to several months ago but for some reason couldn’t come to an agreement to start a project with you just might be needing your services now more than ever.
Things might have changed.
Reach out to them and ask if you can fill in for the previous project or a new one altogether. That project that had to be suspended last year could become urgent this period.
25. Opt for Low-Cost Marketing Techniques
You can promote your business successfully in a variety of ways without necessarily spending what is equivalent to your country’s national budget and still hit the right target audience.
Take out time to review the strategies that worked for other companies and try to see how they can best be applied to your business.
You might have to look into email marketing as it is arguably the most cost-effective technique you can use to attract new prospects and remind customers to patronize you.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced every business owner to change the way they run their businesses in order to continue their operations even after the crisis blows over.
Some of the innovative ways that entrepreneurs can remodel their businesses are listed in this article and it is believed that if you follow the business advice discussed here, your business will keep running at optimum levels after the end of COVID-19.