No matter the size of his business, he was probably caught in the spotlight of COVID-19 one way or another. The pandemic has put companies to their knees, struggling to support customers and finding new ways to stay innovative and grow.
Businesses can survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, but much more than government-led financial aid will be needed to do so. From mapping a new financial strategy to reviewing your current business operations, the work you do now can successfully take your business into the future.
Financial Relief Alone Is Not Enough
In April 2020, CNBC reported that 7.5 million small businesses in the United States could potentially close due to the effects of COVID-19. Since then, the government has published financial aid in the form of the CARES Act. Still, about 25% of small businesses don’t think financial relief helps their business enough to stay open.
Financial relief alone is not enough to get companies out of the deep water that COVID has developed. It also takes a long and hard look at the finances, operations and strategy of employees and clients to find opportunities for growth after the pandemic.
- Consider New Employee Roles
New business moves may require the removal of two staff members. The employees you’ve been making are some of your most important assets, but your business may not have been as relevant six or seven months ago, with your business strategy reconfigured.
You can also consider using freelancers to help with new tasks that come up as you start operating. Freelancers can help with customer service, social media marketing, website design, award writing, etc. The self-employed can save money on the payroll because your non-employee status does not make you eligible for employee benefits.
- Client strategy
Your clients are the foundation of your business, presently and later on. Now is the time to truly explore your needs and find business solutions that keep those needs at the forefront.
Consider Your Customer’s Needs Now
The customer experience has changed for many companies since the COVID-19 outbreak. Customer needs have also changed, and they need the support of the companies they attend.
Your primary goal for customers should be to meet these needs in any way possible. Contacting customers to see what they need can help. You can also:
- Temporarily reduce the prices of certain products and services
- Offer contactless delivery or pickup
- Digitizing as many trading operations as possible
- Provide many discount codes and promotions
- Creating new products or services that meet your needs through the pandemic
- Offer digital demonstrations of your products or services
- Host free online events
- Connecting with customers on social media and by email
- View Your Contracts and Insurance
Do you plan to continue renting properties for your business? What kind of contracts do you have for the payroll? You may be able to reduce some of these costs by renegotiating contracts. Other companies might understand their situation if they were going through something similar.
Your landlord may be willing to temporarily reduce your rent by a few months, especially if you offer to pay interest in the favor when the deal rebounds. Your payroll company can provide a long-term contract for a lower price per month.
You can also try renegotiating commercial loans and credit cards. Ask for lower interest based on your payments on time so far. Or, offer to pay a lump sum to settle the account for less than the total amount. Credit companies can bite if you offer them a guaranteed payment.
Business insurance costs can also have some room for cost adjustments. You can also examine your insurance to see if it will cover interrupted business operations, known as business disruption insurance, to contain the effects of pandemic revenue loss.
- Make Your Business More Remarkable Online
An online presence is gold now. If your business operated only physically until now, it’s also time to move it to the digital world. Consumers have generally moved more to online shopping and digital services than by leveraging physical stores and services, even with the order blocking survey. Your online presence may be what makes your business noticed.
A website will act as the center of your business. Make one if you don’t already have one or focus on making the current one as easy to use as possible. And, make sure your site has a blog. Companies with blogs on their sites receive up to 67% more leads per month than non-blogs.
Build your social media presence as well. Spend all day posting industry-relevant information on your channels, asking questions that provoke thoughts, and interacting with your current and potential customers on Twitter, Face book, Instagram, and other platforms.
- Business Strategy
Changing or adapting your business model to changing customer needs and growing your business is essential for every business. During the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to keep your business flexible. This may mean changing the very foundation that built your business, but it could also keep your head on the water during these unprecedented moments.