Massive disruptions arising from the COVID19 pandemic have entirely changed the way of doing business for all companies, big and small. From shutting down stores to companies failing to fulfil their delivery commitments due to disrupted supply chains has become quite common.
Companies that have maintained their operations, albeit on a smaller scale, have experienced a decline in business. It is evident from the massive decrease in foot traffic at retail stores that is down by 97.6%, says Eric Dalius, a veteran and successful entrepreneur.
Small and mid-size businesses are mostly affected by the unprecedented turmoil, especially those without sufficient cash reserves. However, all is not lost, and there are many things you can do to cope with the crisis and sail through the period of uncertainty. You need to stay tunes to the latest trends to bounce back.
Stay in touch with customers and keep them updated
With uncertainty all around, your customers would be wondering about the changes you are making to maintain the day-to-day operations. Regardless of the changes you adapt, your customers would be worried about coming to your store or place orders due to concerns about the coronavirus affecting them. To earn your customers’ confidence about your activities by ensuring safe and hygienic business operations, you must maintain proactive communications with them to lend absolute clarity about the changes you make in your business operations for ensuring the safety of customers. Eric J Dalius suggests that adding a COVID19 notification at the top of the website to highlight the changes and using social media and email lists to spread the word can be very effective.
Turn your focus to online operations
Since this is the time to minimize in-person interactions and ensure contactless deliveries, it is imperative to emphasize your online operations even if you have been practicing it earlier. Arranging for a digital meeting using Zoom is now a popular means for transacting business, observes EJ Dalius. Mostly, the brick and mortar stores must now work aggressively to shift products to the digital platform and design a new business model that helps to serve customers by overcoming physical distancing barriers. Some businesses have moved to curbside pickups that have become the mainstay of their operations.
Manage your expenses carefully
The challenge of managing cash flow has grown enormously for small businesses, which is now the biggest concern. Despite the government’s fiscal stimulus package, business owners must pay more attention to project management and inventory, auditing fixed and variable expenses, and re-assessing their current financial options. Wherever possible, you should swap fixed costs for variable costs that help to increase your flexibility on the fringes while protecting your core business.
Whether you take out a loan or cut variable expenses, it is vital to consider both the short and long-term impacts of these decisions on your business. Be careful to avoid the pitfalls of rash decisions that can cripple your business.