What You Can Do to Keep the Business Running during the Coronavirus Pandemic

coronavirus

With the coronavirus pandemic leading to mass business closures and social-distancing precautions, you’re probably asking yourself the following question: How do I keep the business running?

Given the impact COVID-19 has had already on companies in the United States and across the globe, it’s easy to allow fear and uncertainty to take over your thoughts. 

However, this is not a time for panic. It’s a time for action. 

If you want to keep the business running and ensure it emerges from this crisis as healthy as possible, you just need to look for ways to adapt.

Fortunately, there are a number of changes you can start implementing today, as well as financial aid opportunities you can take advantage of tomorrow.        

How to Keep the Business Running | 5 Steps to Take

It’s worth reiterating that how you react to the coronavirus pandemic will determine whether you’re able to keep the business running. 

Although this is a challenging time for companies in nearly every industry, it doesn’t mean your own business won’t make it through. It simply means you need to be strategic in how you move forward.  

By following the steps below, you can…

  • Strengthen your relationship with customers
  • Make your company more resilient
  • Boost productivity among your staff
  • Mitigate financial risk

So, let’s get started. 

1) Plan for the Long Term.

First things first, it’s crucial that you start planning for the long term. Despite the fact that no one knows when the coronavirus pandemic will end, its economic impact will likely carry forward long after the disease has been contained. 

According to SmallBizTrends, “27% of businesses expect the coronavirus to have a moderate to high impact on their revenue. Another 30% expect the virus to have a moderate to high impact on their supply chain.”

With that in mind, it’s in your best interest to keep in constant contact with suppliers, investors, and other partners. In doing so, you can determine what safeguards should be put in place.  

Further, now is the time to look at how you can start selling your products or services online. Verizon reported seeing a roughly 20% week-over-week increase in web traffic, and e-commerce is more important now than ever. If you don’t have a way for customers to support, engage with, and buy from you in the digital sphere, you’ll struggle to keep your business running while social-distancing precautions are in place. 

2) Switch to a Virtual Workplace.

If you haven’t already done so, you should consider switching to a virtual workplace.  

Here’s why…

  1. It allows you to keep the business running, no matter where you or your staff may be located.
  2. It reduces the amount you’d otherwise pay in utility costs for your physical location.   
  3. It helps keep your employees healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Though many business owners have concerns about staff productivity, a FlexJobs survey found that 65% of respondents are more productive working from home than at a traditional workplace. 

However, allowing all (or even just some) of your employees to work remotely requires an investment in tools and training. In order for those on your team to complete their assigned tasks at home, they need the right equipment.

For example…

  • Reliable internet and phone
  • A relatively new computer
  • Video-conferencing capabilities
  • Access to the company’s internal network
  • Sufficient internet bandwidth
  • Ergonomic office chair and desk
  • Separate working area

Additionally, you should have messaging, communication, and collaboration tools that make the transition to remote work as seamless as possible. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provided a list of tech tools that are worth looking into. 

3) Communicate with Your Customers. 

As you navigate the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that you communicate with your customers in an open and honest way.  

For starters, customers appreciate when brands demonstrate transparency. And given that we’re all in this together, they can empathize with what you’re going through in trying to keep the business running. 

So, keep the lines of communication open. Let customers know what you’re doing to ensure the health and safety of others. Offer ways for them to support your company.

Make sure to update your social media on a regular basis. Additionally, consider adding a live chat feature to your website so visitors can get quick answers to any questions they may have.      

The worst thing you can do is go radio silent. 

4) Adjust Your Budget. 

In order to keep your business running during the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll likely need to make some cuts. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best way to take control of the financial aspect of your company’s health. 

Here’s where to start:

  • Look at ways you can reduce overhead expenses.
  • Lower the amount you’re spending on paid ads. 
  • Limit travel over the coming months. 
  • Reduce hours if it becomes necessary. 
  • Cut back on inventory. 

Take a close look at your company’s spending habits and upcoming expenses to see where adjustments can be made.  

5) Look into Getting Financial Assistance.

Depending on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected your company, you could be eligible for financial aid. There are a number of resources available to small businesses that are struggling right now.    

For instance, the Small Business Administration recently announced that it would be offering disaster assistance loans for up to $2 million. If your company meets the criteria, you could receive a loan to pay off outstanding debts, payroll, and any other bills you can’t afford at this time.  

Several states have implemented initiatives to assist small businesses as well. Since these programs vary by state, the best course of action is to visit the website of your local governor’s office for details. 

Some large corporations, such as Facebook, have launched grant programs for small businesses and nonprofits. Other grants are available to small businesses in specific locations or industries. 

Finally, you can check to see if your bank or credit card company is offering any sort of financial relief for small businesses. Capital One, Citibank, and Wells Fargo are among those that have stated they would work with businesses going through financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chase also pledged $50 million in humanitarian aid and small business grants. 

Takeaway

Although the coronavirus pandemic will continue to pose a challenge for companies, taking the steps outlined above can help you keep the business running. 

So, instead of allowing fear and uncertainty to overwhelm you, get to work on ensuring your company will emerge from this crisis as healthy as possible.  

If you’re interested in learning more about the SBA’s loan program for small businesses affected by COVID-19, reach out to Smart Business Doctor today.