The deadly COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire and has already become a full-blown pandemic. People are locked inside their houses because the cases of novel Coronavirus are rising at an alarming speed. Within the first few months of 2020, the markets have witnessed record falls and businesses are on a downward spiral. This economic slowdown is a result of the world-wide safety measures like quarantines, travel restrictions, and social-distancing. In just a few months, unemployment rates have skyrocketed as businesses are forced to shutter their doors.
During this time of economic crisis, most businesses are struggling but small businesses have suffered the hardest hit. Unlike the big companies that have a better chance of surviving, small enterprises have much smaller coffers to sustain them. These local businesses typically survive with a few months of cash flow which makes them most vulnerable to such crisis. The nation-wide lockdown has resulted in a sharp fall in the number of consumers and this can be devastating for small firms. So businesses must move in the right direction to mitigate risks and cut down on their losses. But how small businesses can navigate this hard time?
If you’re a small business owner, you must be wondering how to survive the turbulent times coming ahead in 2020. In this post, we’ve listed some useful things that small businesses can do during this lockdown period to keep their team, as well as customers engaged. Read further to know the best things you can do if your business is affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown.
Canadian federal and provincial governments are making significant interventions in response to the Coronavirus. Since many Canadian small businesses are suffering losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government is taking initiatives to support small business owners. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the economy, measures such as tax relief and financial support for individuals unable to work due to pandemic are being announced. As a smart business owner, you need to tap into resources provided by the government and financial institutions. You need to stay up to date with government policies and make the best use of it. Reportedly, the measures taken by the government include some government-backed loan options for small businesses, and a three-month 75% wage subsidy for all qualifying firms.
The coming months are crucial for all businesses. Although countries like China have already starting to recover, the impact of this pandemic is expected to extend throughout the world, creating a ripple effect for some time. But this is not the time to panic or sit idle. This is the perfect time to plan your future strategy and determine measures to keep your business thriving. You should communicate with your suppliers, investors, and partners to figure out measures that will help you stay above the red until your small business gets back to its normal track. You should make at least a three-month financial plan to find out what options you have to spread out the costs. Most probably, your small business expenses include employee salaries, office rent, and utility bills. It’s important to have a clear idea of your expenses to take measures to control them. You need to determine what costs are necessary, which can be put on hold. For instance, instead of hiring new full-time employees, you may choose to work with freelancers on a project basis.
It’s obvious that you’re controlling your expenses but don’t stop marketing! This is the right time to invest in online marketing because most people- your customers are spending their quarantine time on the internet. Digital marketing is the safest and most effective method of advertising during this lockdown period. People are forced to stay indoors and this has dramatically changed their shopping behavior. Also, businesses that are forced to close their physical stores are now operating online.
During this pandemic, digital marketing has become a necessity because more and more of your customers are accessing businesses online. There may be a decline in pay-per-click ads (PPC) but SEO is seeing increased impressions and clicks. This is because the majority of people are turning to Google to shop from home. Even if your customers are not shopping at the moment, they will look for your product online once this pandemic is over. So, develop a strong digital marketing strategy right now so that your target customers can easily find you in the future. You should also use social media platforms to engage with your customers.
If your business has slowed down, use this time to find new opportunities. Take a look at what your competitors are up to and take ideas from what other similar businesses are doing to keep up through this time. Most small local businesses are looking to increase their cash flow but they don’t have inventory or the ability to provide service due to lockdown. A good solution to this problem is offering gift cards and prepaid services. You can offer discounts on prepaid appointments to attract customers.
Consider this lockdown period as a wake-up call to reconsider how you have been doing business. Think about new product lines and how do you expect your customers to behave post-pandemic. If you don’t have an online store, consider a remote or virtual option for your business. You can think about digitizing any of your products or services and find new ways to connect with your customers.
The success of every business largely depends on the proficiency of its staff. Even if you have a small business, you need a good team to support you. During this lockdown period, you could train your existing staff on additional skills to make them more productive and efficient. Encourage your workers to take online courses or plan webinars to learn new skills. The online training programs can help in improving your team’s efficiency while you or your staff is practicing social distancing.