As we continue to practice social distancing, along with vigorous and frequent hand washing, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on a global scale, upsetting markets, closing businesses, and forcing those working professionals who are still employed to somehow incorporate homeschooling their children into their busy days. For those of us who own small businesses, no matter the industry, these uncertain times are increasingly worrisome.
But, there are three practical ways to protect and reinvent your business in order to survive the COVID-19 crisis and, with any luck, come out stronger on the other side.
Seek Available Assistance
Trying to keep up with the now daily press conferences and barrage of news briefings, not to mention the steady stream of updates — both questionable and legitimate — is dizzying, to say the least.
However, banks and financial institutions are working to stop the bleeding for small business owners and help them bridge whatever financial gap they are facing. Check out reputable agencies like the Small Business Administration (SBA), which offers small business guidance and loan resources.
Take the time to submit whatever applications align with your business needs to secure necessary funding to stay afloat during the coming weeks or months that this crisis continues.
Again, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and fearful of the future, but now is the time to recast the challenges posed by this pandemic as opportunities to flex your problem-solving muscles. Consider what your business offers your clients, whether it’s a good or service. Now, isolate the reasons why they cannot or might not be inclined to access that good or service and see where the opportunity might exist to adjust, accordingly.
We’ve seen, for example, non-essential services like restaurants and bars forced to close their doors to dine-in customers. Rather than risk the loss of funds from ongoing closures, many of these establishments are offering extensive take out and even delivery services, along with a push for gift card and branded merchandise sales, in order to create potential revenue streams even while the main source is shut down.
According to Marvin Irby, National Restaurant Association interim president and CEO, “The industry supports the efforts of the local, state, and federal governments to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and are making every effort to pivot business models to focus on delivery, drive-thru and carry out.”
Even businesses deemed essential during this time, like general contractors, are making similar pivots; for instance, providing the option for customers to book virtual services for estimates and project planning in order to accommodate those who would like to move forward with or start a remodel or renovation, but are fearful of opening their doors to new people in their home, possibly increasing their risk of coronavirus exposure.
Try to look at your business from an outsider or potential client perspective and see how you might adjust the delivery of your goods or services to meet the current challenge threatening the small business community. Better yet, if you have a team — no matter how small — ask for their input and creative ideas.
The Perfect Time for Team Training
During this down time, take a moment to check in with your team and challenge their problem-solving skills. This could mean soliciting their opinion, as suggested above, on how to diversify your delivery of goods or services. Or, it might look like embracing the opportunity to provide training and workshops on those skills that will come in handy once we’ve closed this difficult chapter.
Our team is adept at developing marketing strategies for your business, which now requires communicating with current and future customers to let them know how you’re still showing up for them, despite the COVID-19 crisis. Contact us today for help pivoting your business during this uncertain time.