As governments around the world contemplate when and how to end lockdown, the next few months will likely be very challenging for small and medium-sized business owners, who are in for another uphill battle. For many, returning to business as usual won’t be an option, and you’ll need to anticipate this to reopen successfully. With that in mind, here are seven tips to help your small business weather the effects of COVID-19 in a post-lockdown world.
1. Secure Access To Cash
You should make a conscientious effort to conserve cash if you aren’t already doing so. It’s no secret that all stakeholders, including your customers and employees, look up to you to act prudently regarding your organizational finances.
Depending on your business model and the industry you’re in, you should evaluate all the financing options available to you and how effectively they’ll support you during the lockdown period and in the long run. Identify and cancel all unnecessary direct debits and stay in the know regarding any relief plans your government is providing (Check your local city or state website). Banks are also offering breaks, and you can look into applying for a payment holiday on your mortgage if that suits you.
2. Keep Employees in the Loop
It goes without saying, but you should check the CDC’s website regularly and relay the latest details and updates about the pandemic to your managers and employees through email and video conferencing.
Make sure to discuss the health implications of the virus as well as the importance of maintaining proper workplace hygiene and social distancing. Besides ensuring everyone’s on the same page, this will also serve to curb unwarranted fear and misinformation.
3. Prioritize Employee Needs
In addition to sharing coronavirus-related news, try and have a clear conversation with your employees about managing their fears and expectations, and help calm their nerves in these troubling times.
Also, understand that employee priorities are likely to have changed after having to work remotely during the lockdown, and workers are probably and justifiably going to demand greater flexibility moving forward. If you’ve been able to get by with employees working from home, you may want to extend this policy until they are comfortable coming back on their own. Further, you can also offer them flexible work hours as well as consider split-shifts and phased returns to limit exposure.
4. Tweak Your Business Strategy
Consumer behavior will also likely change for the foreseeable future. You need to use this time wisely and adjust your business model and strategies going forward. You’ll have to carefully plan out what changes to make to adapt to what will most likely be a new normal.
This includes figuring out alternative means of best providing services to your customers (i.e., restaurants exclusively offering takeaways and delivery or healthcare providers turning to telemedicine, etc.). Additionally, exploring how to apply your expertise to other areas and providing new but relevant services to your existing customer base, at least in the short term, will also help generate income.
5. Communicate Constantly with Customers
You’ll need to take control of the situation by staying on top of all your customer communications. Whether through social media, a press release on your website, or your weekly email newsletter, you should clearly convey to your patrons how your company is responding to the coronavirus outbreak and what steps you’re taking to mitigate associated risks.
Take this time to really understand what’s important to your customers. This will allow you to be in a better position to help them address their challenges through your current or new products and services.
6. Get Real About Workplace Pandemic Response
Most business places will inevitably reopen once given the green light, and you’ll need to be mindful about how to go about onsite safety and cleanliness as well as enforcing social distancing. Take full advantage of the remaining lockdown period to create and iron out policies, guidelines, and protocols for health screening, employee isolation, etc.
7. Augment Your Team
If you need expert developers and software engineers to boost your team’s capacity, build your online presence, or shake up your current business model, staff augmentation is the way to go. This will help you stay on track and avoid disruption, regardless of whether you’re gearing up to reopen or continuing to work remotely. Intagleo provides cost-effective, scalable, and risk-free staff augmentation services for businesses globally. Contact us today to learn more.
These are very difficult times, and it’s going to be hard determining how long this situation will persist and how deeply it will impact us. We wish you well and hope these tips prove beneficial for your small business.