For many small business owners, the number one priority right now is surviving COVID-19. Instead of trying to do big things during these trying times, it may be a good idea to stick to the basics to help ensure your future success. Here are some tips for keeping your small business afloat now, so it can flourish once the pandemic subsides.
1. Reduce Your Overhead as Much as Possible
Before you focus on much else, consider what you can do to reduce your overhead costs. A lot of small businesses can cut down on expenses during this time by doing things like turning the heat down and suspending garbage service while their storefronts are closed. Every cost adds up, and the goal is to lower your expenses as much as you possibly can so your small business can survive longer on what it has available.
2. Take Advantage of Disaster Relief Programs
There are many disaster aid loans and grants available to small businesses right now, and there will probably be more offered in the coming weeks and months. Apply for as many of them as you can. Casting a wide net with your applications will help increase your chances of getting the assistance you need to keep your business going.
3. Increase Your Sales in Creative Ways
Finding new, innovative ways to increase your revenue can be very valuable during the pandemic. Some businesses have switched to making masks, hand sanitizer, and other needed items. If you can easily do that, it could be well worth your time. Your small business could see increased sales from in-demand and hard-to-find products, and you’ll simultaneously be helping people get the things they desperately need. Plus, it will help you remain top-of-mind with your existing customers, and could get your business in front of new customers as well.
4. Keep Employees and Customers Informed
Don't leave the people who rely on you in the dark. If your business is closed, has limited hours, or your products and services have been modified in some way, let both your employees and customers know what to expect. Ensure that your business’ website and social media accounts have up-to-date and accurate information. Even if you’re not open for business, checking in with your employees and leaving posts for your customers periodically is important. By providing updates, you can help foster some sense of normalcy, and can provide them with concrete information instead of leaving them guessing. The uncertainty of this pandemic is difficult right now, and you don't want to contribute to that by going dark.
5. Communicate What You're Doing About Safety
When you communicate with customers and employees about the current state of your business, also be sure to let them know what you're doing (or will be doing) to keep them safe. If you've moved to appointment-only sales and are disinfecting everything between appointments, tell them that. If your employees are all wearing masks and gloves now, be sure to mention those things. People want to feel that they can trust you, and that they can do business with you without risking their lives.
6. Take Things Online, if You Can
Not every business can sell their goods or services online, but every business can advertise that way. Move the parts of your small business that can be online to a website, social media site, or blog. Make sure you prominently post the information about where customers can find you on the internet. Increasing your online presence can help keep your business' name and information in the minds of your customers, and may allow you to make some digital sales while you wait for your physical storefront to reopen.
There’s no arguing that this is a very difficult time for small businesses. But with some perseverance and creativity, you can help your business survive the coronavirus pandemic. We here at BankFive are so proud of our small business customers and all of the work they’ve put in thus far to keep their businesses thriving!