As entrepreneurs, changing trends, new regulations, weak consumer demand and GST rates would have been definite risks for one to go through. But overnight the major and only concern of every entrepreneur out there was the COVID-19 pandemic. And, interestingly no one was ever taught how to make your business survive a pandemic shutdown globally.
This pandemic has undeniably emerged to be the greatest threat for business. Small businesses are more vulnerable and impacts can be way more brutal. Our solidarity to overcome the unexpected waves of threat posed by the pandemic is much required as we work in solitude.
Here is an ultimate survival guide for your business.
Stay updated on the evolving regulations of your city or country. Policies designed vary dynamically from one region to another, keep your business informed to know the details of services you’re allowed to offer. If you are not sure of the regulations confirm with the local authorities or through the helplines. Government agencies and public health organizations are places to look for accurate information.
When it comes to business, these regulations vary from one business to another. You have to consider and keep in mind the safety measures of your employees. Here’s a decision tree for you to consider before opening your workplace.
Verify the Source, Date, Time and Motive before going through any piece of information. This simple task will shield you from the fake news and reports.
Know it all – Tax relief, cash payments, repayment holidays, apprentice support, insolvency laws and much more.
“If you know the situation, you can handle the pressure better”
The most important thing you should focus on in these uncertain times is keeping your customers updated about your services. Connect through social media, websites or email.
Communicate with your customers, understand their needs and try to meet them. Keep your communication transparent, let them know how the business has been affected and your efforts to keep the service on. Empathize with them, maintaining your customer base is more important than making money.
“When dealing with customers – List. Talk. Help. Offer. Retain”
Sustainable cash flow contributes to the success of any business. Your ability to protect your cash flow is the key to overcome the current crisis. It will also be your first lead in the following months once the restrictions are lifted or relaxed.
“Analyze your position and impact. Go through cash receipts, commitments to employees, customers and what will you have at the end”
Don’t cut back on marketing instead choose effective and creative ways. Your customers might not be spending as before, but they are definitely planning for the future and interested in knowing what your business has to offer. Against all odds marketing can still keep you ahead on the game.
Whichever marketing type and strategy you choose, it requires sensitivity to what’s going on in people’s lives and should keep up with the sweeping changes.
“Be innovative. Be digital. Resonate with your marketing message”
In this unprecedented situation strategies you devise can guide you through. The strategies we are asking you to focus here is different from your organisational strategy. To survive and thrive you have to be flexible and adaptable to evolving needs.
Keeping in mind the Regulations for your business; safety and security of your business as well as your employees and customers form proactive strategies.
Right now keep this on your primary focus,
“Don’t Panic. Make Decisions, Do it Now”
Undeniably Communication is key to any business. Apart from communicating with your customers, involve yourself in your community. Help people through your business.
Connect with similar businesses around you and support them, that’s how you earn their trust. By doing this you can build better relationships which will in turn help you grow. You can show your support through your social media handles. Be a guest for your community radio, let people know how you are handling this situation.
Find the digital version of your business :
Building resilience can help you bounce back effectively.
“The 4Cs of Survival – Change, Cut Back, Communicate and Collaborate”
As mentioned before, revisit your investment plans.
Invest in technologies that promote remote work such as an internal communication platform, secured wi-fi network, online booking system and marketing channels.
Take enough time while planning things to avoid mistakes and do not ignore the facts of your financial situation.
“Take stock of the situation. For every down there’s an up.”
Once the pandemic is controlled and when countries come out of lockdown, everything will have changed. What we are now struggling with can become the new normal. Proofing your business from any such unexpected crisis in future is important.
With enough analysis you can plan a strategic framework for your business defining your purpose and perspective. Planning always helps more than the plan. It keeps you informed of your position.
“The best plan that we suggest for the post pandemic scenario is, Be prepared for uncertainty!”
A lot of countries have managed to control the virus as much as they can and life is beginning to return to “normal” .Unfortunately, normal is not what it used to be. If you are a service based business owner, offering any service that involves physical contact ranging from salon services to dental consultations or anything similar, you might have had to close your doors a few months ago just like all your other counterparts in the services industry.Here are certain things to expect.
Social-Distancing is a prime aspect that is being stressed among the public and as a business owner, that means establishing a new set of definitive ground rules.
The refreshing take on social responsibility of a business now, entails that social distancing be practiced with zero compromise. This means, you are to limit the number of people spending time in a small room for a certain period of time. This can be achieved by managing your appointments to ensure that your services are well spaced apart , and hence avoiding the scenario of a crowded waiting room. This is especially true when your business usually manages appointments with a large volume of clients such as overnment embassies ,retirement homes and lobby management in general.
“Stay Positive. Repeat Business with different methodologies”
During this time, some governments have set limitations on working hours and this can seriously impact revenue. So you need to make the most of the hours you have on a certain day.
Your workflow needs to start becoming more efficient and organised to be able to swiftly finish appointments and move on to the next client in queue.
“More appointments = more revenue”
You can use an appointment scheduling tool that sends automated reminders to both the service provider and the client so that both parties begin on time and even end on time.
If you are a co-working space provider you most certainly need to Revamp your Framework and use a system to manage time effectively. You need a system to schedule meetings for all the people from different companies who are trying to use the available conference rooms. This ensures that everybody’s time is valued and that safety is not compromised for productivity.
You might get just a few minutes between appointments, but it’s your responsibility as a business owner to regularly keep sanitising the workplace to keep it disinfected. The public is still skeptical to be setting foot outside the safety of their own homes and businesses need to assure that the client feels safe in a thoroughly disinfected environment.
You can incorporate regular cleaning hours to your calendar and make your appointment scheduling software reflect available appointment times accordingly.
“Ensure clean environment and hygiene”
If your service can be offered both online and offline like an academic course for example, there can’t be a better time to go digital. In retrospect, it opens up your business to a vast sea of clients from potentially all over the globe, willing to accept your services online.
You might also want to consider the fact that consumers are displaying a sense of paranoia when it comes to trusting businesses at this time. Studies suggest that more that 65% of consumers were willing to trust the services of businesses that had an online presence , even if they had previously not heard of it.
Taking your business online builds credibility and also offers you a new platform to experiment, experience and earn.
“Brainstorm realistic options like virtual events, online consultations and deliveries”
Do not call your workforce in all at once.Start with 20% and make your way up weekly.
Before the reopening, take time to ensure that your business is equipped to prevent contamination. Write down special safety instructions that are to be mandatorily followed and display them in their corresponding work spaces.
“Negotiate variation to contracts and agreements”
It would be helpful to assign someone among the team as a safety leader to help stress the importance and enforce the new protocol.
If you have a large number of employees checking each of their temperatures can be time consuming. Some companies have adopted thermal scanners that their employees can just walk past and the scanner can indicate if anyone’s temperature is above the normal range.
The break room can be a common place from where the virus might spread and it is important to schedule the break hours for different staff. During these times it is important to be accountable and keep record.
Assign your staff to specified break routines so that you can trace the source during a worst case scenario.
“Rotate shifts and cultivate the ‘right habits’”
It is important to constantly keep educating the staff. Also take surveys from employees with questions like,
Use the corresponding data to see how effective your current strategy is and further steps you can take to ensure that your staff feel Safe.
There has also been a lot of social tension among different races and ethnicities due to the virus. Please treat all your peers with empathy and humanity.
Inappropriate behavior should not be encouraged among coworkers in any form and management must immediately take action to ensure the safety of all employees.We can all survive this by staying united.
These measures are to be implemented so that the safety protocols are enforced at all times.The aforementioned is strikingly relevant when you run a huge etail store. You absolutely need a system to manage your staff, your store visitors and even vendors. We must prioritize the health and safety of our staff, clients and the general public above everything else.
“ Be Decisive, but also empathize. ”