The whole world is suffering right now and it doesn’t end at the health aspect. Even though our priority right now is curing as many people as possible and making sure the rest stay healthy, we can’t ignore the inevitable economic consequences for the world. If you’re a small business owner, this period will be especially hard for you. You’ll need to make some hard decisions and play smart if you want to survive the pandemic. Here’s how you can ensure your local business survives.
1. Use government aid
Luckily, you aren’t alone in today’s situation. The whole world is suffering and governments everywhere understand this. That’s why they’re pumping cash into the economy and offering business aid in the hopes of minimizing the effects of the coronavirus.
What this means for you is that you can use government aid to help your business survive. Whether it’s loans or something else, it will surely be useful right now. You’ll have a much easier time paying it off later, too, because your business will stay open throughout the whole world crisis.
2. Redefine your budget
It’s time to look at your current budget and expenses and see what you can cut. If you want to stay open, it means that you’ll have to find alternatives for running your business. This also means that some things will become unnecessary expenses. For example, if you switch your team to working at home, it will be unnecessary to pay rent and utilities for the office space. You can talk to the landlord and see if you can stop paying for the time being, or at least lower the price.
The last thing you should cut is your employees’ paychecks. You need high morale and loyalty right now, so make sure your employees understand you’re still a family and in all of this together.
3. Keep your customers informed
To keep your audience engaged and ensure you still have orders and regular business, you need to keep them informed. Don’t choose radio silence while you figure things out then suddenly show up with new methods and techniques for running your business. This is a sure way of losing business, as your audience will have moved on to the competition by the time you let them know you’re still in business. In other words, if they don’t hear from you immediately, most of them will assume you simply closed down.
This means that you should keep your customers informed every step of the day. Using social media platforms is perfect for this step, as it allows you to directly reach your audience and show them you’re still there. On top of that, social media could be a great way to stay in touch and interact with the audience until you figure out how you’ll continue to provide your services to them.
4. Choose delivery over the closing
If you’re in retail or the food industry, there’s no reason you should close down completely. Your restaurant, cafe, or similar venue should be closed to the public in the sense that no one but your employees can enter the building. This doesn’t mean deliveries are not an option. Your whole business could operate thanks to deliveries without suffering nearly as much as it would if you closed it.
As well as that, this means your employees would still have their jobs. Those who can’t work their regular positions, such as waiters, can help with the deliveries and maybe even work as delivery people for the time being. Even though it’s not an ideal solution, it’s an upgrade from closing which means you won’t lose nearly as much money.
5. Focus on local SEO
Even though it doesn’t seem sensible to focus on marketing and SEO during the pandemic, it’s the best thing you could do for your business. Just look at what successful Australian small businesses are doing and take that model. They understand there’s no point in reaching a wide or international audience right now, which is why they’re focused on SEO in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and any other Aussie city you can name.
The only new audience members you’ll be getting are all going to be from your area, seeing as most countries are on lockdown. The time to build local brand awareness and rank your business higher is now. On top of your business getting the recognition it deserves and being more approachable to the local audience, this also means that you don’t have to fire people. Instead, you’ll be focusing the team on something new.
6. Build a website
If you’re in a business that typically doesn’t do deliveries and has nothing to do with food, you may want to consider building a website. If you haven’t switched to online operations yet, now is the time to do so. Instead of closing down, your employees will have the possibility to work from home and devote their time to the new website.
As well as that, this keeps people engaged with your business and reminds them that you’re not shut down just because of the pandemic. Make sure that your website is user friendly and has the aesthetic appeal which will attract more people and retain their attention. Instead of just making this an informative website, it’s advisable to include an online store, too. This allows your customers to keep using your products and services despite the current situation in the world. In other words, you don’t need to lose as much money as you anticipated.
As you can see, there’s no reason your local business needs to shut down. The period ahead will surely be hard, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome it. Think of this as a challenge that you’ll want to ace. It’s your chance to prove what a capable business owner you are and that your business can survive anything. We’re confident you’ll come out of this stronger than ever before and that your employees will recognize your strength and leadership.