COVID 19 – how small businesses should handle the crisis

With “social distancing” being the new buzzword and the looming possibility of quarantine, things aren’t looking great for business. The one advantage small businesses have during this crisis is the ability to implement changes quickly and effectively. Staying up to date with the news and the most recent regulations will be vital in keeping your business afloat. While this is definitely going to be a difficult time for all business owners, here are some tips on what you can do during the outbreak.

Find new ways to generate income

As a business you will already have a client base. Use your connections and see what people need during this time.  The most important thing is to be flexible: whether it’s using technology as an alternative way to connect with clients, or working from home, it’s critical to be flexible in order to operate your business. Poll your customers and learn what their needs are during this uncertain environment, then consider how you can meet their needs.

  • Food and Service Industry

Try and find new ways to render your services. Maybe instead of meeting clients face-to-face for appointments, you can speak to them via skype of phone call? Instead of having people in your store, you can start a delivery service. Restaurants will need stricter hygiene control when handling food, so implementing a smaller menu would be helpful. Instead of buying ingredients for countless dishes which can lead to wastage and unnecessary money being spent, focus on a “meal of the day”, this can then be packaged and delivered on order. The same can be done with many other services – scale down and make sure you are providing a quality product where hygiene measures can be strictly implemented.

  • Retail

See if you can sell your product differently; drive-throughs and delivery systems are great alternatives to having in-store customers. If you aren’t operating an online store, now is a good time to start one. Even after the COVID-19 crisis, it’s a great way to reach more clients and generate income.  You can also start selling vouchers upfront where people can buy accommodation or clothing now, and they will receive it later; this income can help see you through the current tough times. Speak to your clients, they know that everyone is struggling and would probably love to support you.

  • Manufacture Industry

Downscale for the time being; the less you produce, the fewer employees you will need. See if you can move into automation in any part of your business. The more that can be done without the need for people, the better.

Manage staff correctly

For many businesses, closing down just isn’t an option, so how do you make sure your staff are in a safe environment? Try and work remotely as much as you can. In some instances, it just isn’t possible and one solution for this is to split staff into different shifts and spread out your workday over a longer period. This way there will be fewer people in the workplace at any one time. Also ensure that the work environment is clean, and there are sufficient precautions taken to ensure hygiene standards.

Work together

We are all in this together; nobody is benefiting from these measures, but we all know they are necessary. Your company can team up with other businesses in the area and see how you can help each other. If there was ever a time to lean in and work together, it has arrived.

Use your time wisely

Although your cash flow might not be looking too great, don’t see this situation as only negative. Instead of sitting around and waiting to reopen, take this time to sort out all the things you’ve been meaning to do but are always too busy to get around to. Clean up and organise your workspace, get your books in order, get machinery repaired, sort out your office files. All of this will ensure that when you reopen you can get back to work quickly with a fresh and organised space.

Keep engaging with your clients

Right now, the most important thing for any small business is communicating with your customers. Make sure you are constantly updating your website and social media platforms, so people are informed about any changes in working hours or services. Try and move your business online where you can, and then advertise! Even if you aren’t selling anything currently, by keeping active you will ensure that clients don’t forget about you during your absence. People understand, everyone is going through the same thing, so don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to keep your business running.