How Small Businesses Can Face Up to COVID-19
The Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly the greatest challenge that most small and medium enterprises have faced, or are ever likely to face. To say that it has hit us like a cataclysm is an understatement.
Despite how it feels at the moment, there will be a time when life goes on and business takes up where it left off. How are you, a small business owner, going to deal with the coronavirus challenges and ensure that when things get back to the new normal, your company is fit and ready to go?
Secure Your Liquidity
The first thing to say is that help is there so don’t be afraid to ask and ask quickly. Find out what you are entitled to get from the government, and drill away at getting it. It’s a good idea to put one of your team just on this task.
Make sure that all your debtors are closely informed of your position, especially your bank. Ask for a payment holiday on any loans, forgiveness of interest, whatever you can get that will help. Contact your creditors, and see if any of them are able to pay you, even if it’s a small amount. Don’t forget to be as forgiving as you can to small people who owe you money – you want to be one of the first they pay back when they can. Push down hard on your best-situated creditors.
Maintain Strategic Spending Choices
Keeping your expenses to a minimum is, of course, a must. You have to pare everything down to the bone, and then pare again. Look for nickel and dime savings everywhere. Be ruthless. Many credit card companies are offering softer terms. Use your personal credit cards for vital purchases if you have to. Yes, this is normally something that no-one would advise a business owner to do, but these are not normal times. Conserve your cash flow as if it were a cure for Covid-19.
Try To Retain Your Team
Remember just a few months ago that it was hard to get great employees, and that this shortage might even have been constraining your growth? Be as kind as you can to your employees. If you can, and it makes sense for them financially, allow people to job share rather than firing them. If you have to let people go, don’t forget them. Stay in touch. Set up a staff support group, and help out where you can.
Have your laid-off people brainstorm new ideas for the business, even if they aren’t on the payroll right now. They are probably bored out of their skulls and would welcome something constructive to do. Promise to reward them when things get back to something resembling normal again – and do it. You want these people to be ready and raring to go – not drifting off to some other opportunity.
Engage With Policy Makers
Finally, engage with your community. Find out what your City, County, and State can do to help you. Talk to other businesses, and give each other a helping hand. Do pro bono work in the neighborhood; it will not be forgotten.
Finally, have your Senator, Representative, Mayor, Governor, and local media on speed dial. Speak up, make your voice heard to the policymakers. Don’t feel voiceless, you have the exact voice that these people need to hear right now if we are going to come back even better and stronger – and we will.