What can small businesses do in these times of economic uncertainty? Are you a small business owner worried about the impact the corona virus may have on your future?
While a lot of things are out of our control right now, there are a few things in our control that we can do to give our businesses the best chance of surviving this pandemic.
There’s no doubt the corona virus is impacting small businesses. How can we minimize losses and what steps do we need to take to protect our business?
First, self-care. Even before this corona virus pandemic, I was a huge proponent and advocate for self-care. But self-care is more important maybe now than ever. The situation is stressful to say the least and managing a small business at the same time can exaggerate that stress. So, find ways to relieve your stress. Some suggestions to minimize stress and anxiety include:
- Exercise, take a brisk walk, do yoga or meditate.
- Consider limiting your consumption of news right now to only quick updates.
- Talk to your friends and family about your worries. This is especially important in these times of social isolation. We still need that human interaction and connection.
- If you have not added a quality CBD to your wellness routine, consider adding CBD. It’s a natural solution for managing stress and anxiety.
- Maybe a little self pampering…do an at home mani-pedi session, have a relaxing bath time, or fun face masking virtual event with your friends. Take care of you.
Second, this tip applies if you have employees to consider in your small business. Safety should be the number one priority. Encourage your employees to stay home and follow the CDC guidelines and support each other. Fostering an encouraging and safe environment and putting that above numbers at this point in time will be remembered in the long term. Set up some virtual social hours for you and your employees. Maintain those relationships and connections with each other. There are many digital tools at our fingertips right now to maintain a strong community even without being physically present. I like the Zoom app. It’s user-friendly, has a free version, and you can see everyone at the same time on your screen which is fun.
Customer service should be a next priority. And right now customer service may just look like checking in on your customers to make sure they’re safe and healthy. Consider sending them a short message of gratitude and appreciation for their support of your business in the past. Not asking for anything or advertising anything, just simply a thank you. And, if you have a business that offers a service or a product that is specifically applicable to the times we are in right now, share it. Share it in a helpful way. Don’t be afraid to still do business, if you genuinely have something that will help people during these times.
Some financial things to consider… look at your monthly overhead and see what you can cut without impacting your employees too much. There are ways to minimize overhead without eliminating people. There is priceless value in goodwill towards people and maintaining strong relationships. When all of this turned around, you will need that good will to get your business back on track. So, ask yourself, what subscriptions are you subscribed to, that maybe you won’t need for the next six months? Ask your employees or staff where they think you could cut some costs and overhead. They probably have some insight and know how to cut down on waste. Reach out to your vendors and suppliers and try to renegotiate some contracts during this tight time. With everyone working from home hopefully, you can reduce energy consumption and energy bills. Look for ways to reinvest those savings during this time.
And if you don’t have employees… you can still take some of the same measures to see what you can cancel to reduce monthly overhead. Maybe move your office into your home for a short time or try to renegotiate lease terms on your current space. In terms of economic uncertainty, most landlords would opt for a reduced lease payment versus a tenant that can’t pay their lease at all and moves out.
If you have equipment on rental that you’re not using right now, again try to renegotiate those terms or cancel the lease and turn it back in.
Barter or make in-kind exchanges with your vendors, your landlord and other businesses. What do you have to offer? And what do you need from them? Work out a deal.
Capitalize on social media and word-of-mouth marketing. These are free. And hint, I have a feeling when this is all over the shift to social media and word-of-mouth marketing will stick. So, you might as well get in that game now and start to learn it.
Leverage good PR… In order to leverage good public relations, you first need to have good public relations which is where some of the tips I suggested earlier come in. But use social media and word-of-mouth to spread the good PR about your business and what you are doing to help people and remember people during these difficult times. Share your stories. If you have employees doing wonderful things as well, share their stories. Capitalize on human connection. I know it sounds somewhat ironic given our social distancing policies right now, but that’s why it is important at this time. People are soaking it all in, they are watching the stories, they are reading the stories, they are needing the stories of people who are being THE GOOD… so don’t be afraid to share it.