There’s no doubt that small businesses will be the hardest hit from the current COVID-19 pandemic. The bigger businesses have a better chance of surviving; however, small businesses tend to live only with a few months of cash flow (at most), so when something as significant as this hits, it can be devastating not only for the small business owner but also for the employees they support. So, how can small businesses survive the turbulent times coming ahead in 2020? There’s no easy answer; however, here are a few points to start implementing and planning at least for the next three months.
Quick aside: not all the points will be applicable to your business but some will. And if your business is online, there are some cues to take from this too to get you thinking outside the box during this uncertain time.
If you have a physical address where you pay rent, chances are it’s a considerable chunk of your budget. Figure out a win-win situation with your landlord. If you know your business will be back to normal in a few months, you could try asking for deferred payments with interest, for example. Whatever you choose to do, it doesn’t hurt to try and negotiate.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s that simple.
For many businesses, a 40-percent reduction is probably wishful thinking. But I think that’s the point of this exercise. You should figure out ways to make it so your revenues are *only* down by 40 percent.
Be optimistic and do everything in your power to reach your goals.
Most businesses have more subscriptions than they realize. Look at your accounting to see where your money goes when it comes to subscriptions and see if you can downgrade some of them.
Some providers will allow you to pause a subscription for a few months.
If a subscription is irrelevant for you at this time, ask to pause it for a few months.
For most offline businesses, that probably means to stop advertising entirely for now. But I think his point here is to try to figure out ad campaigns that can yield returns within a 30-day timeframe. The trick is to ask yourself:
Is there anything I can sell quickly and profit from?
Give them value by sharing your expertise and answering questions during these meetups.
Blogging has never been easier thanks to websites like Medium.com. There, you can share your expertise, and the more engagement you get from your posts, the more money you make.
If you can create great content, you can make serious money on Medium.
Share your expertise at large by hosting a webinar (online seminar). You can choose one from this list or use Zoom. You can even stream from Youtube directly.
Online workshops are a great way to share your expertise and even make money.
Youtube is more popular than ever. You can record videos or stream live to share your expertise with your audience. If you become big enough, you can make money through ads and sponsorships.
Most importantly, you build trust with your customers.
If you’re strapped for cash and customers will need your help in the future, pre-sell your products and services.
If they don’t buy because of the tough time, offer an irresistible offer (discount, added value, coaching, etc).
If you’re making products and selling at your local store, you can start delivering the products yourself. The restaurant business across the world is surviving on food delivery right now, and so can other products businesses.
If you’re in the products business, try to sell as much as you can online. If you’re in the service business, try to sell any equipment you don’t really need anymore.
Evaluate what you have that you can currently live without and try to recoup some money.
Are there new products you can build that are more relevant to the current situation, even if they might not be 100 percent relevant to your business? Create them and deliver them to your customers.
Think value, not profits.
Your customers likely have more time on their hands. Help them get craftier by recording (text, audio or video) activities they can do at home.
Offer free and paid versions.
Networks are a lot more powerful than a lot of people realize. Surround yourself with people who can exchange ideas and collaborate.
Create a group that meets regularly (online of course) and make it exclusive (as applicable).
Social distancing is VERY important (#Ched_Darek).
Help encourage people who are coming to your store by putting up a sign to tell them about your new home delivery service (see above).
This is likely not applicable to many businesses, but if you bake sweets for exemple, giving it away to health care workers is one of the best gestures you can do.
Find clever ways to reward those who are fighting for the good of others.
Like the above, if there’s anything you can provide the volunteers (like the Tunisian red crescent), now’s a great time to do it.
Don’t limit yourself to what your business actually does. Provide your personal help.
Because business is slower for you right now, it doesn’t mean it’s the same for your providers and other partners.
Reach out and offer your help and see what happens.
There’s no denying that pandemics are bad for businesses. The key to survival — and even thriving — is to brainstorm creative ideas and take action on them.
Take this list and apply what works for in your context. Brainstorm other ideas you can apply for your business and take action. And above all, remain calm. You can do this!