Last updated on July 14th, 2020
The adverse impact of COVID-19 on businesses of all scales is very much evident now. Enterprises are revisiting their strategies as they fear that recession may set in soon. This is the time when businesses, especially the small and local ones, assess the situation carefully. The fate of their businesses will depend on how quickly they adapt to new circumstances.
Many political leaders and business owners have expressed their concerns about saving businesses in the present crisis. They fear that the chances of a near-term recovery of the world economy are diminishing. The talk of the recession has already begun amongst the experts. Considering this, even a leading venture capital firm Sequoia has advised businesses to make fast and decisive adjustments as per the circumstances. Even the world’s leading marketplace, Designhill has started a not-for-profit platform known as SOSlocalbusiness.com to support small businesses to overcome this unprecedented challenge. They have provided much needed free resources such as free logos, informative fight corona hub resources, etc. to help local businesses to come out of this fear shell.
According to the latest surveys of businesses in the U.S, the demand and supply situation has worsened a lot. Nearly 71% of the surveyed businesses have reported a decrease in sales. 75% of entrepreneurs face problems with supply chains. The supplies of products have decreased from trusted suppliers. Also, 84% of the companies are combating staff shortages due to illness. These are terrifying stats for business owners.
Given these circumstances, businesses have started taking the utmost precautions. They are revisiting their conventional marketing strategies to make the required changes as per the new norms.
Here Are The Key Things Your Business Should Consider During The COVID-19 Crisis
01. Talk To Your Suppliers
Since most of the manufacturing takes place in China, supplies from the coronavirus ridden country may not resume fully soon. New cargo ships with supplies from China will take many months to arrive at different ports. This implies that you should place your supply orders much ahead of time.
Therefore, talk directly to your suppliers to give them an idea of your future requirements. Have a forthright discussion with them regarding the situation and tell them about your requirements.
Here Is What You Need To Ensure:
● For quick supplies, prefer securing air transportation over ocean transportation so that you get the products instantly whenever the normalcy returns.
● Buy inventory and raw material much ahead of time.
● Transport your inventory to the areas which are free of quarantine restrictions. Place the inventory near ports so that you can access the goods quickly for shipping.
● Update your customers about the possible delays in supplies of goods.
02. Think Of Your Customers
Because of a weaker supply position, you may not be able to meet your customers’ demands right now. Therefore, talk to your customers about the supply position and assure them of the availability of the products when the normalcy returns.
Think of offering discounts to customers if you have enough quantities of supplies. But make sure that discounts do not create a problem of cash flow for your business. Cashflow matters a lot to small businesses, particularly to startups. Give discounts to retain the customers and manage the situation for the time being.
SOSLocalBusiness.com: A Not-For-Profit Initiative By Designhill
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit businesses hard, no matter the scale. Designhill has started a not-for-profit initiative to financially support small businesses that are facing the calamitous consequences of COVID-19. Through this platform, businesses can request their regular/loyal customers as well as local communities to support them in many ways. Click to know more.
Register Your Business
03. Take Steps To Save Your Organization
Now that you have assessed your supply and demand position, find out the right solution to help your business survive. For instance, consider temporarily closing your office to lessen the risk of spreading the virus.
You can also let your employees work from home. Or, ask them to stay home. But make sure that you pay them adequately before sending them home. Think hard about the steps you can take to save your company in this difficult time.
04. Analyze Scenarios
Find out what are the best and worst-case scenarios for your business. Make a true assessment of the situation. Involve your top officials to do serious scenario planning. In this way, you can test your preparedness also to deal with the crisis.
Discuss each case scenario in detail and come out with different plans about how to deal with them. Know what factors can have a major adverse impact on your small business in the short and long term.
For instance, many retailers, including supermarkets, have started lowering the stock of a variety of products. Instead, they are now stocking milk, bread, jams, vegetables, and other staples.
05. Explore Different Financial Resources
Governments and private organizations have devised new financial plans to help small businesses combat the crisis. You should take a good look at these plans and see which one suits best to meet your fund requirements.
At this point, many businesses are struggling due to a lack of sufficient cash. But they need to pay salaries, rent, and many overhead expenses. They cannot meet the expenses on their own due to their limited resources. Therefore, think of taking out a loan.
Consider Exploring These Helpful Loan Plans:
Apply For The SBA Loans
Small business Administration, the federal government-backed organization, has come out with special loan programs for small businesses affected by the virus outbreak. It can provide you much-needed financial relief to tackle the crisis.
Here Are The New Loan Programs From The SBA For Small Entrepreneurs, Especially To Combat The Situation
● SBA Disaster Assistance Loans
You can get up to $2 million at a very low-interest rate under this loan plan.
● Paycheque Protection Program Loan
This is an SBA-backed loan to help you pay salaries to your employees, and you can pay rent as well.
● SBA Express Bridge Loans
This loan program is designed to provide you a quick help until you get a big loan. You can apply for a loan up to $25000 without involving too much paperwork.
● Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance
Under this program, small businesses can avail of a $2 million loan in three days only.
Get Federal Loans
The federal government has created a $350 billion loan for businesses, particularly for the crisis. Under this program, companies with less than 500 employees can get a loan of up to $10 million. In addition to that, they can also get employee retention tax credit and 50% refundable tax credit on wages up to $10,000 per employee.
Go To The Banks, Credit Companies, And Social Platforms
Besides the federal loans and SBA loans, you can also explore loans from banks, credit companies, and some social media channels.
Here Is The Precise List
● Bank of America
● Export-Import Bank of America
● Capital One, Citi, and Wells
● JP Morgan Chase
● Google AdCredit
● Restaurant Worker’s Community Foundation
● KIVA loans
06. Chalk Out Plans To Retain Customers
For many companies, a big concern is that foot traffic has drastically dropped as people are staying home.
Still, there are some practical tips you should follow to retain customers.
● Communicate With Your Customers
The first and foremost thing to ensure is that you communicate with your customers all the time. Use all the social media channels to inform them about the latest developments regarding your business. Tell them when your shop closes doors or what are your new working hours. Inform them about the steps you are going to take to keep the store environment healthy. Send emails to notify about the steps you are taking to mitigate risks.
Also, tell how they can connect with your business so that they can buy things from home. Reach out to them on social media to direct customers on how to access your store and take orders.
● Start Gift Card Programs
Customers love to have gift cards. If you start giving gift cards, it will also help your business with a good amount of cash flow right until the crisis ends. When the crisis finally ends, customers will return to the stores, restaurants, and other businesses to buy. During that time, you will immensely benefit from the surge in sales due to these gift cards.
To minimize human contact, offer an e-gift card to customers. You can also work with third-party delivery partners such as Uber Eats so that they accept your customers’ gift cards.
● Make Yourself Available Virtually
Now that your customers are sitting at home, you should contact them through digital means. One of the most effective ways is to video chat through free tools like Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.
● Conduct An Online Event
Another effective way to connect with your customers is to organize an event online. Remember that at this time, most customers are looking for ways to entertain themselves at home. You can engage them with your business even when they are physically not in your store.
So, start a Facebook Live or Instagram Live show for your business as it will help you join with customers in real-time. Conduct a live program whenever you celebrate something related to your business. To make the live-streaming program enticing for your target customers, offer special discounts, for instance, to the first 100 people who join the live event.
● Give Discounts
Discounts are very attractive to customers. If your business model permits, then use this strategy to drive customers in hard times. For instance, if you run a retail store, consider offering enticing discounts on the shipping of online orders.
07. Train Your Staff On Additional Skills
Your employees depend on you for their livelihood. So, instead of firing them from the jobs, equip them with additional skills. In this way, they will be more useful for your business in the present crisis. You can make them useful by giving them the required training in a specific field. Plenty of online courses are available to train your staff on new skills.
After the training, your employees can do multitasking. They will help you out in other fields of your business. For example, your sales team can be trained to help your marketing team. Keeping that in mind, you can ask your staff to join from home an e-course on digital marketing to learn how to create the marketing strategies. Your company should look for many other digital courses that meet your requirements to train your staff.
08. Meet New Demands
Businesses are generally built around their specific assets, such as technology, capital, people, and property. For instance, if you run a consultancy business, then people are your asset. You do business by fulfilling their demands.
However, the customers’ demand has shifted radically from conventional products to the essential things to cope with the coronavirus crisis. They are now more concerned with how to stock more essential products home.
Even larger businesses are making changes in their marketing strategies considering this buying trend. They are putting in place an effective infrastructure and technology to help their customers make remote buying easier.
Find out how your company can adapt to the new demand situations in the new circumstances. For example, if you conduct innovation workshops, think of organizing remote working webinars as your clients have switched to online services.
Looking For Pro-Tips To Protect Your Business During The Coronavirus Outbreak?
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to batter businesses, business experts at Designhill have shared several tips to keep your business healthy as a horse. Here’s the best advice on how to protect your business and stay well-prepared for a coronavirus outbreak.
Get Survival Tips For Businesses
09. Recreate Your Business Model
COVID-19 is a crisis, but this is also the time to rethink your business model. You should have an objective assessment of your business model. You should find out which are your company’s products that do not need the allocation of resources at this time. If such products, sales targets, marketing plans, etc. are not working, then stop spending your valuable money and time on them.
When you evaluate your business and its resources, it also allows you to experiment with some new business models. So, find out what you can do to give your business a new dimension at this point to keep it relevant for customers.
10. Make Your Business More Attractive To Investors
Yours may be a startup looking for potential investors, either angels or venture capitalists. Their investment in your startup matters a lot for your new business during the crisis. They have the money to invest, but considering the current coronavirus crisis, they may be hesitant to invest. Therefore, you should make your terms & conditions more attractive for investors as you need funds.
For instance, you can offer a convertible note with a greater discount, or give them a lower valuation. But make sure that your new terms to invite the investment are not harmful to your startup in the long-term.
11. Restrict Your Marketing Spend
During this crisis time, your businesses may still be spending more marketing dollars. But reduce your investment in non-essential and underperforming ads. This is because people have stopped visiting markets, and the demand for products has plummeted.
However, it is not wise to cut marketing costs drastically. You will still need to advertise products or services for your online customers. But find out the advertisers who are willing to sell their ad spaces at lower rates.
12. Brainstorm Survival Plans
Your team may be working from home but still, bring its members together online to brainstorm strategies to get new ideas for survival. Let each member work alone over own ideas. Encourage them to write down their strategies.
After you get those new ideas, share them with the team. You can even ask them to vote on the best ideas. Once you have shortlisted the best ideas, quickly test them in your market.
13. Check Your Licensing Requirements
You may require to take permission from your local government to run your business from home. Check out if you need to apply for a license to carry out some business operations in the changed circumstances.
Most businesses do not need such permission and licensing but many do need it. You should visit the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015, to comply with the terms & conditions to work from home.
So, follow these basic but crucial guidelines. Your small business needs timely corrections in your conventional marketing strategies. You must come out with unique plans to help grow your businesses during the crisis.
The coronavirus outbreak has grounded most businesses to a halt. Companies have closed their physical stores and have now switched to online selling of products. This has compelled them to make changes in their marketing strategies. You should talk to your suppliers, engage your customers, brainstorm ideas to save your company, recreate your business model, create plans to retain customers, think of redesigning your business model, and make your business attractive to investors.