The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a global shutdown and I’m wondering, how will businesses survive in this period.
As a business owner, you first have to protect yourself from the virus then, there is your business to protect also.
How are you going to keep your business alive while the world is in crisis?
It’s unfortunate that not too many people talk about businesses as much as they talk about lives.
Of course, I understand their stand on this issue, after all, life is more important than business.
However, we still have to keep businesses alive as well.
Below are some tips that will help your business survive this global coronavirus pandemic.
Strategies that will help your business survive a global pandemic like COVID-19
1. Revisit your business’s 2020 strategic plan.
If you didn’t make a Strategic Plan for this year, it’s certainly time to make one now.
This is a great time to make modifications.
Now that a lot of businesses are getting hit by this global crisis, you need to include new survival strategies in your plan.
Start on projects that have been on your wishlist and reevaluate your objectives for the year.
Adjust the plan and outlook for 2020 as you know more about your business.
You’re going to have weeks or months dealing with this mess.
Are you going to use the time wisely or waste it?
Though China and other economies are already starting to recover, the spread of the coronavirus is still extending throughout the world, creating a ripple effect that will impact us for some time.
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.”
Speak to your suppliers, investors, partners and local officials on a daily basis to learn how you can start to implement safeguards that will help you stay above the red while officials work to contain COVID-19.
It might be a while until your small business gets back to business as usual.
2. Establish a remote working option
The second thing you have to consider as a business owner at this time of global lockdown is to work remotely.
A lot of businesses are already using this option and there are a lot of free tools business owners can utilize to achieve this.
You and your teams can stay in touch and keep working even if they aren’t in the same place.
To be effective at this, implement a remote work policy that covers when you expect your team to be online.
Also, state categorically what deliverables each team member is responsible for completing.
This way, you can have your business running smoothly in this period of crisis.
3. Take your marketing and sales online
While everyone is busy fighting to survive this coronavirus pandemic, you have to look beyond surviving.
You have to let your customers know that you have them at heart.
Make sure to communicate clearly and consistently with them.
If you are open for business, make sure they know that and let them know how to interact with you.
Make it easy for them to purchase your product and services.
You can still make money online even though everyone is trying to survive this global pandemic.
Use your social media presence to keep your customers up to date.
If you typically don’t use social media, this is a clear sign that you have to go online ASAP.
If you have a database of your customers, you can double up on the volume of emails you send to them.
Since they are not busy with work and other stuff, we can assume that they will have more time to go through their emails.
At least the open rate will be higher than before.
Use this medium to communicate your ability to help customers in this trying time.
Let them know if there are any changes to how you regularly provide them solutions to their queries.
Be creative and find new opportunities to market and sell.
Given the current conditions, what resonates with customers right now that you can provide?
Focus on your existing customers and provide excellent service.
In addition, make sure you retain your important relationships and customers.
At this point, your customers want to know that you care about them and not just their money.
Finally, consider new ways to deliver your service or product.
It may be through home delivery, mail or through virtual web-based services.
Offer discounts if necessary and think outside the box.
4. Communicate transparently with your customers
Let’s be honest, everyone is facing this crisis together.
While you tell your customers that you are available to help them, you should also be transparent with them.
Be transparent about what your business is going through.
Customers can empathize with brands facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly.
Describe the steps you’re taking to mitigate risk and give them insight into the steps you’re taking to help the community.
A Harvard Business Review reports that “When customers are separated from the work that’s being done behind the scenes to serve them, they appreciate the service less and then they value the service less.”
So, let them know what’s happening behind the scene. What are you doing to survive the global pandemic?
You must not spill all the details though, but it is good for them to know a bit of what is going on.
5. Reduce meetings and travels during this global pandemic
I don’t know how to emphasize this topic enough.
Try to keep opportunities for exposure to the virus to a minimum.
Please postpone any pending meetings to a further date when everything is back to normal.
If it is a very crucial meeting that needs immediate attention, there are a lot of online meeting tools.
Hold your crucial meetings virtually. Skip any conferences and other business travel travels.
Here is a good reason for you to reduce meetings and travels.
If your workers get sick because of travel or meetings, you could have a liability issue on your hands.
When an employee falls sick, you will have to manage low morale and sick leave requests.
Now you get the point of this matter. Reduce meetings and travel.
6. Give employees flexibility
Most schools, offices, stores, businesses and commercial centres are closing down all over the country.
At this rate, the country is slowly moving toward total lockdown.
You will need to be flexible with your employees’ time.
Some team members may have to leave within short notice to pick up their kids from school.
Others may have students who only come home from school for break and aren’t able to return.
As a business owner, try to be as understanding as possible.
When something comes up, have a contingency plan in case most of your staff begin to take this urgent leave.
7. Improve on operations, products and services, research and development to survive the global pandemic
If things are slow, this is an ideal time to tackle those projects you have been putting off.
Invest in this time, don’t waste it on Netflix or overwhelm yourself with the never-ending news updates.
Instead, consider this time as an opportunity to improve products, services and finding efficiencies.
If you or your team have more time available (because you have less work or fewer customers), use this time to improve your processes and efficiencies.
Improve products and services or make the changes you’ve been meaning to do over the past few years or months.
We know we all have them in our business, and we’ve been too busy to get to them.
Well, use this time now. Come out of the storm stronger and have a better product or service.
Conduct training in your company or get training yourself as a leader in areas you know will improve your company.
If you know you are weak on social media marketing, or accounting and budgeting, IT, or a niche thing in your business category that could drive your business, invest your time into this.
Get your team doing the same.
8. Be obsessive about workplace hygiene
Keep your employees and your customers safe by being as proactive as possible about cleanliness.
I believe you already know these proactive steps to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
If you don’t know already, I will just restate these health and safety tips from the CDC:
- No handshakes: Use a non-contact method for greetings.
- Wash your hands: Employees should wash their hands frequently throughout the day.
- Sanitize your hand regularly: If you can’t find soap and water to wash your hand, the next best option is to sanitize your hands. Use sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol for effectiveness. If you are short of hand sanitizers here is a simple way to make homemade hand sanitizer.
- Try not to touch your face, and remind employees to do the same
- Constantly and regularly disinfect surfaces, including doorknobs, handrails, the POS system, tables and desks.
I hope these tips help you and your business to survive this coronavirus pandemic.
If you find this article helpful and you’ve got other tips to share, please leave a comment below.
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