Running a business during COVID-19: A guide
The COVID-19 pandemic is a significant concern for the whole world, and there is almost no aspect of our lives that has not been affected. While the world’s scientists and medical professionals work tirelessly to care for the sick and vaccinate as many people as they can as quickly as possible, the economy faces its own challenges. Small businesses are amongst the worst hit by the pandemic and the lockdowns, but there are steps that business owners can take to not only survive but possibly to grow and become more agile.
This guide outlines how small businesses can hold their ground during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apply for financial support
The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (under the CARES Act) provides small businesses with funding so they can maintain their payroll, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover their business overheads. The program is supported by the Department of the Treasury and will fund up to 8 weeks of payroll costs (including benefits) as well to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The program is open to small businesses, eligible non-profit organizations, veterans’ organizations, tribal businesses, and people who are self-employed or are independent contractors.
Stay in touch with your customers and staff
You need to ensure that you are reaching out to your customers, clients, and suppliers to see if there is any way that you can support them. Both existing and prospective customers need to know that you are still there, operating in some capacity, and possibly still able to provide a service. Maintaining your business relationships, listening to concerns, and offering help will be remembered on the other side of the pandemic. If you have staff who are on furlough or working remotely, it is essential that you maintain communication with them so they still feel that they are part of the team.
Connect with business owners and strategy advisors
There are lots of businesses out there struggling, and sometimes a bit of support can go a long way to keeping your head above water. Make use of professional social networks to connect with other business owners as they may be able to provide advice, inspiration, or help. Alternatively, you could contact one of the specialist companies are offering COVID 19 financial services to help businesses navigate these difficult times.
Look for new opportunities
While the pandemic’s initial shock and uncertainty led to understandable panic for a lot of small business owners, many have since managed to find some positives or even to diversify. Successful businesses solve problems and satisfy the needs of their customers. To do this, you need to stay relatively true to your business model, but there may be a natural link to another product or service which could be of more use to your customers now. Whether we are living through a pandemic or not, small businesses can offer a personalized service with added value that large corporations do not.
Small businesses also have a distinct advantage as they can often adapt to changing markets more efficiently than large businesses. Consider ways that you can add value for your customers while taking your service online where you can.