Smart Advice for Small Businesses During the Pandemic

business owner on a call

Adjusting to the new normal means shifting a lot of what we know about everything, including business. Safeguarding your business can be intimidating, but by staying ahead of the curve, you can find yourself adjusting and even flourishing.

Map out your finances

Financial business coaches say you can get ahead by mapping out a financial plan for the next few months. Check if there are any expenses you can cut, like your office space, for example. If you and your team will be working from home, consider shutting down power to your office in the meantime. That coffee budget you used to set aside can now maybe go to helping pay for your employees’ data service.

Every cent counts, and the best way to keep track is with a detailed map. By doing so, you can anticipate any cuts or changes that need to be made so that they don’t catch you off guard when they do arise.

Create an online platform

If your business has a storefront, you may be thinking, “well, what does that mean for my walk-in customers?” The answer is simple: The Internet. Create an online outlet for your business that can offer customer assistance. If you can, you can even provide bookings or deliveries. That means that transitioning some of your revenue flow should not be too difficult. Marketing research shows that online orders are seeing a significant increase from consumers since the start of lockdowns.

Just make sure that your message is clear. You want to be able to answer all initial questions and have a clear interface so that all customers (even new ones or ones who are not so adept at technology) will feel comfortable accessing your site.

Adjust your management style

manager discusing a report

Avoid burning out your team by forming easy solutions for staff. Set strict cut-off hours, after which nobody is expected to keep working. Keep an open line of communication without micro-managing, as this has been known to cause disengagement and lower productivity. Lay out weekly check-ins to keep track of progress and concerns to stay updated.

The temptation here is to pile on more work and extend hours since, theoretically, the staff is at home anyway. But be considerate of the fact that now, everybody cannot merely separate work life and home life anymore. If your team has responsibilities to take care of at home, offer to talk to them to find the best option.

On the other hand, if your business means that some people still need to come to the office, then ensure their safety. Use a skeleton crew to minimize interaction, and install sanitation stations throughout your space. Also, make sure that you have your office regularly deep-cleaned. You should also offer protective gear as well as assistance for their transportation since they will be frontliners. If your business means interacting with customers, create a new set of guidelines to follow. These include how many people inside at once, social distancing, needing to wear a mask, etc.

Entering this rapidly changing time can be daunting, especially for small and local businesses. But by making sure that your staff is protected and your business is stable yet flexible, you are making the best investment you can for the future.

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