The spread of COVID-19 around the world has brought us many changes in all aspects of life. Many businesses experienced serious setbacks while some even shut down completely due to changed market conditions.
If you run your own business, you are probably trying to come up with some ways to ease the blow and to still gain some profit and survive in this new situation.
So here are some suggestions on how to manage your business with minimum damage through COVID-19.
1. Health and security first
Of course, the predominant task for you is to make sure your health and practices prevent further transmission of the virus, including face masks, gloves, safe distance, and plexiglass barriers.
If possible, arrange your business online for the time being. Nowadays, a lot of products and can be sold online, especially if you provide a quick delivery service. Also, if you provide a service, maybe you can deliver it online, as well.
Next, create a contingency plan in case one or more of your employees gets quarantined. Creating different work teams could minimize the risk of a lot of workers getting infected.
Lastly, do your best to reduce laying off the employees and lowering their salaries – it will build loyalty in the long run.
2. Transition your way of doing business
The moment you transfer your business online, you will have to be careful with the execution. You need to have barre in mind your employees’ time and respect it, as well as learn to be very clear in communication. Be open to collaboration tools, such as emails, to make things easier for everybody. Also, you can travel to time to time if you have people working remotely to strengthen the relationships.
Most importantly, be patient – everybody needs some time to adjust to new conditions and most of you are learning along the way. No need to put additional stress on the workers.
3. Ensure long-term supplies
Only food retailers have sufficient supplies to keep the business up and running. The rest of the non-food retailers have not yet felt the negative impact the virus has brought upon us – short-term supply is not a problem at the moment but after a few months, it will be hard to get a hold of all the products your business sells. There will be some serious supply chain disruptions, so it’s better to be one step ahead. For example, get wholesale dresses from a reliable supplier and make sure you have enough to last for a few months if that’s your main product. You should also have a word with your key suppliers to assess your risk and create a contingency plan. You should also contact your suppliers to see whether current purchase orders will be filled promptly because that could create issues with your production.
4. Turn to your customers
Contact with the customers is very important during this turbulent period. For example, you could call your main customers and confirm that everything is still in order. You may have to ease some of the repayment terms or even postpone production, and it’s something you need to make your customers aware of.
In case some customers owe you money, call them to see when they will be able to pay you back. Being proactive is really important because you need cash flow from every possible source. Keep all the debts and incoming payments in check – you need to react fast if you notice a delay of payment.
Lastly, check with your customers if they need anything else – maybe they will provide you with an idea on how to create new opportunities for making a profit.
5. Search for new business opportunities
When things are going well, not a lot of companies will look for more ways to expand their business. However, the current economic situation forces many entrepreneurs to look for new sources of income and ways to ensure their profit.
Be prepared that you may need to develop alternate channels that will serve as additional income because there are few businesses nowadays with a secure future. Investigate all possible options, try focusing on the things you haven’t explored so far – who knows, maybe you will come up with a service or product that will be lucrative.
6. Evaluate your capacity and resources
Due to health and safety practices, you will have to pack and handle products differently. In other words, these new methods will cost you more, so you have to estimate that and include it in your business plan.
Unfortunately, you will also need to introduce changes to your workforce. Maybe you have already done it or maybe you realize you will have to let some people go soon. So, organize your business accordingly.
Lastly, try to find recurring expenses that can be suspended for a while. For example, maybe you could stop using laundry service for the uniforms or your landlord will be willing to reduce or postpone the rent. In short, postpone and put on hold any service that costs you and that you can get by without. While you are reviewing all the services you use, you may find other ways to save money. With every invoice that comes in, take a good look at anything that could be put off for the time being. Travels, meals, and similar expenditures should be put on minimum or dismissed completely until you figure out how much money you are getting every month and if that’s enough to cover all the expenses and provide a salary to your workers.
The fact is that the pandemic is forcing us to create a “new normal” and to adapt to it fast. People’s health is of the utmost importance but it doesn’t mean we should lose sight of other things – people need their jobs and financial stability. Making sure your business survives the pandemic with minimum damages is a success that you need to start working on as soon as possible.
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