ENTERPRENEUR

A Small Business Guide to Surviving a Pandemic

History is a brim of evidence on how pandemics in the past have hampered businesses around the world. A crisis that rarely occurs, it is generally the small and medium scale businesses that suffer the worst effects whenever a global pandemic arises.

Take an example of the Coronavirus for instance. As the world battles the outbreak of COVID-19, small scale businesses have been the hardest hit so far. In fact, local ventures providing travel and manufacturing services are staring at a turbulent time ahead.

Here’s a little survey to show how small scale businesses have been impacted due to the ongoing pandemic today.

Now here’s a thing, while for small businesses to survive a pandemic calls for agile planning and implementation, the points discussed below can certainly assist owners and employees to survive the turbulent times.

A Guide to How Small Scale Businesses Can Survive a Pandemic

These points can be followed by small scale ventures around the world to survive a pandemic.

  1. Securing of Liquidity

Assessing the cash is one of the most critical things for any business. At a time when keeping the business running is, in any case, a tough ask, small businesses are particularly vulnerable due to lack of liquidity in cash. In fact, according to the US federal government’s small business administration, nearly half of the small ventures  fail to last beyond five years due to multiple reasons including poor liquidity of cash. So the real question is, how to counter this issue?

Well, to counter the issue and provide immediate solutions of liquidity, small businesses can advocate for countermeasures such as applying for AID programs offered by the government or having a dialogue with their creditors at the earliest possible. In fact, companies should create a list of priorities and set unnecessary costs aside that are not producing any revenue.

As for the AID programs, here’s an example of the same.

The US federal government has authorized loans of up to $2 million for small business owners. Ventures can use this amount to cover any debt and pay the employees. The notable thing is this case is that the terms of repaying the amount can be up to 30 years with an interest rate of as low as 3.75%.

  1. Maintain the Trust and Calmness Amongst the Employees

Your employees are your biggest asset, especially in times of crisis when it’s all about keeping the business running. Hence, sending them on leaves without pay or showing a lack of trust can further hamper your situation and the productivity of your employees. Thus, the idea is to take a step back, re-access the situation, and share opinions with employees on a regular basis. As it is a dynamic and rapidly changing position, even the slightest of adjustments can bear a huge result at the end.

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  1. Make an Emergency Financial Plan

Emergency financial plans are generally made for 2-3 months depending on the situation. The idea behind these plans is to cut costs wherever possible with precise planning. Speak to your suppliers or landlords about managing the cost for a while, and look for opportunities to spread the costs out.

Be aware of the condition of other companies while formulating payment plans for them, as there’s a big chance that they are facing the same crisis as you.

Likewise, sending employees on work from home can cut down the cost somewhat as you get to significantly reduce expenses like the electricity bill of your office, or in some cases, the cost of feeding the employees since there are some small scale businesses today that offer in-house meals to their employees.

  1. Create a Blog For Online Customer Engagement

Focusing on customer engagement can be the key during difficult times like pandemics. This can be achieved by writing blogs for your website. However, the notable thing is this case is that the contents have to align with what you offer to the customers so that they can read and understand the value of your product or service. This is an approach that will increase your interaction with customers online, eventually enhancing customer engagement to a great level.

In fact, the majority of companies nowadays lay immense emphasis on creating blogs and enhancing their online customer engagement through their social media handles. Moreover, as countries around the world head for a lockdown to counter the spread of the pandemic, people stay at home and spend more time on the internet, which again increases the opportunity for you to engage with them online.

  1. Try Your Hand At Essential Services

Online services become a great trend whenever a Pandemic situation arises. While such privileges didn’t exist previously when pandemics happened, today people have an online option of shopping for even the most essential of items. Hence, if your business model allows you, looking for ways to maximize revenue generated through e-commerce offerings isn’t the worst option.

Take a look at how the demand for essential services like groceries online has soared this year in comparison to offline purchasing.

Besides, setting up an e-commerce platform is hassle-free through tools like Wix and Shopify. You can simply create a separate website or even take quality app development services at modest prices from any medium or small scale developer to get mobile app ideas for your startup during the pandemic. Once you do that, it is always better to look for potential partnerships with platforms like eBay and deliver e-commerce services to customers with ease.

In fact, during a pandemic like COVID-19 today, many top brands have followed this approach and have begun delivering essential items in the time of need with options like contactless delivery. Take an example of market giants like Uber, Swiggy, Zomato, Flipkart, and Amazon. All these companies are now delivering essential items to customers’ doorstep.

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  1. Incentivize Your Service

There are certain businesses where the delivery of essentials or other services becomes virtually inapplicable. In this case, small businesses can offer their customers redeemable vouchers that customers can redeem post the pandemic. These vouchers would attract customers to use your service now, eventually bringing in business.

Take an example of small-scale travel agencies for instance. There are certain agencies that are offering discounted air tickets and vouchers in partnership with airline companies and hotels for future travel of customers so that they pay now but travel later when the pandemic is over.

Summing Up

Running a business at a time of a pandemic is a tough task and requires sheer planning and execution. While the above-mentioned points portray certain ways of making your business survive during the pandemic, maintaining the trust within customers and employees plays a massive role too.

So if you think there are more innovative ways of surviving a business during the pandemic, feel free to share your opinion with us or leave your thoughts on the same in the comments section below.

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