COVID-19 is not just a health crisis. The pandemic has wreaked economic havoc all over the world, including right here at home. According to the T&T Chamber, “many businesses have seen sales decline substantially while others have no sales and they need help now.” The situation can be particularly frightening for small business owners, many of whom would have been operating with limited cash flow pre-COVID-19. We hope this Survival Guide can help you plan how you will emerge from the pandemic ready to rebuild.
This isn’t the same as telling you not to feel stressed at all. In this situation, a certain amount of stress is natural and it can even give you the impetus to act. However, if you are experiencing panic then you’re probably not thinking clearly about a business recovery strategy. Try to cultivate a healthy mindset by practicing meditation, deep breathing, or seeking the emotional support that you need. Maybe our last blog post on looking after your mental health can help.
Pre-COVID-19, business may have been booming. But now, you need to think about how your business can adjust to the new normal. If employees and customers will be physically present at your location, what can you do to ensure their safety and comfort? If you don’t need an office, how can you digitally transform your business so that your team can operate remotely? Take some time to research your industry, focusing on new trends and new opportunities, which will allow you to grow your business.
Remember that you don’t just need to keep operations running – you may need to jumpstart your business in the near future. Why not see whether your business can receive government support? Financial institutions are also aware that these are unprecedented times and some are willing to work with you so that you can get the assistance you need. Talk to a financial advisor to determine if there is any special help available for you.
Maybe you can’t sell to your customers now, but you should still reach out to them to continue your relationship. This can be as simple as calling key clients or even sending a WhatsApp message. You can start off by asking how they’re coping and wishing them and their families well. Customers will remember the businesses that treated them with care at this time. If things are very hard for them, now isn’t the time to try to sell. But if they’re doing OK, try to find out how you can do business together again.
Your team may be just as worried as you – or maybe more! They may be concerned about their jobs and how they’ll pay their bills. Try scheduling regular group chats and turn on the video to add the human touch. Consider upskilling your people so that they are more equipped to deal with the new digital reality. Remember, you will be relying on your team to hit the ground running when business picks up again; so you want to keep them as motivated as possible.
You may be focusing on surviving at the moment but the businesses that will emerge from this pandemic strongest, are the ones thinking about the future. Create a timeline for rebuilding. And be realistic! Prioritize the most critical changes first. For example, if you were a brick and mortar store you may need to sell your goods online and maybe even offer home delivery. Your timeline should be a living document, so be sure to update it as you make progress.
COVID-19 may be with us for a long time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start putting things in place for your business to thrive in the future. We hope this blog will help you do what you can to emerge equipped for our new normal.