The coronavirus pandemic turned out to be deadly. Not only for people, but for businesses too. To stop and slow the rapid spread of the virus, governments around the world imposed lockdown and quarantine measures. And something never seen before happened: all the world stopped at once.
During the lockdown, it was difficult to support local businesses and to adapt, as a business owner, to these challenging times. Unfortunately, nothing will be like before and businesses around the world need to find ways to grow again. Small businesses were the most affected during quarantine, especially because their costs of functioning and operating are high and their resources are limited.
But with the lift of lockdown restrictions, small businesses need to find new ways to develop and grow their products and services. They need to respond to today’s consumers’ needs, while also taking care of their health. So, how do you keep the lights on as a small business? Check these tips.
Protect the Health of Your Employees
Even though small businesses might not have many employees, they need to take measures to protect them at all costs. They are the ones that are working to help you grow your business and are important resources, so should not lose them. Especially during these difficult times where the recruitment process for new employees and their training will need to change their format.
Some of your employees might be reluctant when returning to work, as many people fear the consequences this virus will have on them, their lifestyle, and their families. It is therefore important to build some protocols all employees need to respect to protect themselves and their colleagues.
For example, you need to make sure you have enough hand sanitiser, masks, visors, gloves, and other personal protective equipment to supply your employees with. At the same time, you should pay more attention to the general cleaning of the working space and common spaces, such as the bathroom.
This means that you will need to invest more money into creating a working space where hygiene is mandatory. Like this, your employees will feel safe when they come to work, which is very important and can contribute positively to their work and life satisfaction.
Set some protocols for using the bathroom, the cafeteria, and the working space. And if the employees of your small business need to interact constantly with people, make sure you pay attention to the cleaning protocols of public spaces and that your employees always have personal protective equipment.
Protect Your Customers
Many small businesses need to interact with their customers to grow and develop their business. This is the case of many food trucks, bars, pubs, restaurants, or bakeries. More and more people are scared and afraid of the possibility of catching the virus, especially because it spreads faster than any other one.
Besides the personal protective equipment, you will need to make the space of your small business safe for customers. As quarantine measures are lifted, there are imposed new limits and restrictions that should be followed by small businesses to ensure the safety of their customers.
For example, if you offer common working space for freelancers, you need to rearrange it. The same goes for restaurants, pubs, and other small businesses that directly interact with their customers.
Money is an important resource for every small business and if you want to keep the lights on as you reopen, you need to adjust your costs and expenses. This will be of huge help especially because now a part of your budget will go to hygiene, cleaning, and protective equipment.
Before reopening your small business, you need to analyse your cash flow. You may be needed to cut some costs and redirect them to other domains. Decide upon this depending on your income and cash inflows, and make sure you plan your spending carefully.
It would be of huge help if you would meet with your advisor and accountant and carefully analyse your budget. To make sure your reopening will be successful, you need to be prepared for many scenarios. What happens if one of your employees gets sick? What happens if customers do not have face masks? If the number of customers is increasing, will you hire more employees? What happens if the reopening plan is not working?
Planning your next spending is important and making a few scenarios is helpful. You will be more prepared for things that may happen last minute and you will know how to react to them healthily.
The world pandemic changed the world as we know it and you may need to rethink your products and services. Analysing the current trends on the market is important, as you may gather some inspiration for your own business.
For example, because there were months full of restrictions, lockdown, and quarantine, people might want to return to their previous life. They might be more open to dining in a restaurant or drinking a beer with their friends. But at the same time, some of these people will choose to meet at somebody’s home to minimise the risk of catching the virus.
The market is changing and so do customers’ needs and desires. Be sure you find out which these are and that you adapt and rethink your products and services.
Keeping the lights on as lockdown measures lift will be a real challenge for small business owners. They need to adapt their services and products to today’s times. People will be more reticent regarding using or going to certain places unless small business owners take all the measures necessary to ensure their customers’ and employees’ safety. It would be helpful to re-plan your cash flow and go through some scenarios to prepare for future obstacles.