Covid-19 and it’s effect on Small Business
Now is not a time for panic. Now is a time for calculated and conscious decision making. Stemming the tide of Covid-19 (Corona Virus) is your duty. Is everybody’s duty. But doing so in a concise and calculated way is imperative if we are to mitigate the economic damage the Covid-19 pandemic can potentially cause.
Spend wisely, but don’t stop spending entirely.
The worst thing we can do from an economical standpoint is to stop contributing to the economy, i.e. to stop spending. As soon as we do, we create a self fulfilling prophecy that quickly spirals out of control. There are already industries that are seemingly helpless (on the surface at least) against the effects of Covid-19. The likes of eventing, travel and hospitality businesses immediately come to mind at least in the short term. However, we, as consumers, have the power to keep business and industries alive simply by continuing to spend and support where possible.
The first reaction to any disaster is to stop spending, to cut back on costs, to reduce overheads. This is the worst thing we can do. I agree that you need to relook at any unnecessary expenditure or renegotiate where possible (rent, retainers, etc). But whatever you do, don’t stop spending altogether. We need to rather see this as an opportunity to invest in other areas of our lives and businesses. Do you have to self isolate and work from home? Great, travel costs have now suddenly been made available to spend elsewhere. Increased marketing perhaps? Or an online course or piece of software that makes team and client communication easier.
As soon as people stop spending, the chain reaction starts. The small business that runs month to month has to start letting employees go, or worse, closes it’s doors for good. With each business that closes, more and more people become unemployed, leading to less disposable income in the system and in turn more businesses closing, and so the cycle repeats.
As a consumer:
You may need to adapt to the new normal, but please continue to support your local coffee shops, restaurants, flower shops and gyms in any way you can. Trust me, they are going to need it. Look out for innovative solutions that these entrepreneurs are going to offer and support them accordingly.
As a business owner:
It is time to react and adapt.
Necessity really is the mother of invention, and in times like these, opportunities arise. Entrepreneurs by their very definition are problem solvers. Well massive problems (opportunities) are here, and (maybe) here to stay. Perhaps the gym owners can run video classes? If this works, they may just have stumbled upon scale they could never achieve in a brick and mortar building.
Make it easy for consumers to support you.
Adjust your way of doing business by ensuring that you perform your service in a way that suits the new climate. This may be through delivery and pickup services in the name of a coffee shop or restaurant, or through video conferencing for consulting businesses. Perhaps you can offer gift cards for consumers to use at a later stage, while still remaining cash flow positive. Couple this gift card with a contribution to the Covid-19 fighting cause and you may just have a sustainable formula.
Demonstrate how you are contributing to flattening the curve, if you run an installation business, make sure your team is wearing gloves and masks, and clearly demonstrate how you sterilize when you arrive and leave site. If possible, delay installations until the dust has settled and use this time to plan productions and installations so you can hit the ground running when the time comes.
Shift your resources rather than cutting them.
If you own a restaurant, consider letting your waiters and kitchen staff perform deliveries to those in the neighborhood. If you own a delivery van, consider offering your services to those who are delivering essential goods. Don’t be afraid to ask you customers what you can do to help them, you never know, you may have just the skillset or solution to what they are looking for.
Don’t stop spending on marketing.
Although this may seem like the instinctive reaction in this situation, you need to take a step back and think about how best to access your clients right now. Social media engagement is at an all time high, people are cooped up at home and are consuming content through their cell phones and other digital platforms. Meet them where they are! Engage with your clients through digital marketing and digital platforms.
Digitize your business.
If you have been resisting taking your business online, the Corona Virus may just be the catalyst that finally gets your business to where it needs to be. We live in a digital world where technology is advancing at an exponential rate, and this is a GOOD thing. Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it. Your consumers live online too. And if they haven’t in the past, they most certainly are right now. We at Versofy are trying to short cut this for you by doing all the groundwork, all you need to do is login and connect with your base of clients. Make sure you have online reviews for prospective clients to see. Trust me, they are going to have plenty of time to do their research before choosing a supplier.
Check out this list of free tools you can use in your business to streamline your workflow and gear up for a remote working experience.
Use time to your advantage.
Again, every cloud has a silver lining. In theory, you should have more time on your hands than you did a month ago. You have cut down on commuting time, on time getting to and from meetings, on the small talk that inevitably happens when you are at the office or in meetings with clients.
Use this to your advantage. Get on top of your admin. Follow up with prospects. Make your sales calls and fill up that pipeline. Plan and execute your marketing and reaction strategies now.
Keep working, selling and quoting.
This is the most important thing of all. Make sure you keep selling! Customers may not be buying right now, but convince them that everyone should be planning during this phase. Quote them now, offer discounts on services and fill your pipeline for when the crisis is over. Do whatever you need to do to keep your business alive. As a business owner, these are the trying times that are so widely spoken about. How are you going to survive and perhaps even thrive in these circumstances?
You are not alone.
Finally, you are not alone. We are all in this together, both business owners and consumers alike. If there is ever a time to support one another it is now.
Stay Healthy, Stay Hungry, and Keep Working
P.S. What are you doing to adapt in these unprecedented times? We would love to hear how you plan on tackling the challenges that Covid-19 has conjured up. Leave your thoughts in the comments below or send us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org