The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all sectors of society. From the health sector tasked to deal with the surge of afflicted individuals to the academic sector that had to postpone face-to-face classes indefinitely and transition to virtual learning, the effects of the new normal have been felt by people from all walks of life.
If you’re in the business sector, you’ve probably felt the pang of the pandemic, too. It’s safe to say that your group was the first badly hit segment of society, suffering the effects of COVID from the very first imposed lockdowns and community quarantines.
Those stringent rules, advanced to stop the spread of the virus, meant zero customers to cater to. And zero customers meant zero business. As such, many companies closed from the very first wave of the crisis. And 60% of them won’t reopen for business.
You’re lucky if your small business is still alive and kicking. However, for it to continuously thrive during these uncertain times, you need to adopt preventive measures. Here are some of them.
Remote work option
Your employees are the lifeline of your business. Without them, you won’t cater to customers and clients that allow you to generate profit. With that said, it’s essential to put your staff’s safety on top of your priorities. One way to do that amid the pandemic is by exploring the remote work option.
Understandably, not all businesses can operate with staff on work-from-home arrangements. But if it’s possible in your case, there’s no reason why you should say no to remote work. With effective delegation, you can rest assured that employees will deliver all the work you need on time and with keen attention to quality.
Once you give a thumbs up to your employees working from home, it’s essential to consider the best approach to managing pay for remote workers. The key is to consult with all stakeholders of your business and agree on a mutually beneficial scenario.
Get proactive with safety measures.
Suppose you run a restaurant, where it’s not possible to have remote staff. Instead, you need people in the kitchen to prepare orders and people in the lobby to entertain customers. This situation calls for proactive safety measures. Your goal is to protect both your staff and clients.
Start with your employees. Encourage utmost safety compliance. There should be a culture of transparency. A staff member manifesting COVID-19 symptoms should be encouraged to tell management ASAP. They should be allowed to skip work, self-quarantine, and, if necessary, undergo a COVID test.
Meanwhile, impose social distancing rules among your customers, especially if yours is an indoor establishment. Finally, based on the most recent advice from the local government, have everyone follow the recommended health protocols.
Maintain a virtual finger on the pulse of the ever-changing market
The business landscape is in flux. And it would be best if you kept abreast of the many changes happening.
Watch the news, read not just the headlines but the rest of the paper, and, if you have the time, discuss with fellow business people talking points that can affect your business down the line.
For example, you need to preempt any future lockdowns due to a COVID surge. Then, proactively make adjustments to the details of your daily business operation.
Innovate in a time of crisis
To borrow a line from a Bob Dylan song, “The times they are a-changing.” And the fittest businesses are those that can adapt to these changes.
There’s e-commerce to consider. If you sell consumer goods, you can begin boosting your online presence and start selling your products in digital marketplaces. This is something you can do to complement revenues from brick-and-mortar sales. Or you can even scrap your physical shop altogether in favor of e-commerce.
Another innovative business design: contactless deliveries. You can ensure that your loyal patrons receive your products without putting anyone at harm during the process.
The list of innovative ideas in response to the pandemic is extensive. You need to get creative.
Adopt new revenue streams
Maybe your coffee shop has been lagging behind your projected growth set pre-pandemic. Even your most loyal clients visit less and less, and for understandable reasons. Instead of treating the situation as a loss, look at it as an opportunity. Remember that you still carry the brand that your clients love.
Why not come up with virtual events? A-Zoom book club, for instance, where you can charge an entry fee to participants. As part of the price they pay, they get your signature coffee delivered to their door every session.
Prepare business continuity plans.
You wrote a business plan before establishing your small profit-driven enterprise. It would help if you wrote another business plan amid the pandemic, given how things have changed significantly.
Your old plans might not cut it anymore. Your business continuity plans should take into account what’s happening now. Let it be your guide for the coming months and years, the prognosis for which is still very much up in the air.
Work with the government.
Consider reaching out to your local legislators. They might be able to pass statutes to provide support to you and the small business sector in your area. You might also qualify for business subsidies from the government.
The COVID-19 pandemic has signaled new dawn in human society. It’s gone with the old and in with the new.
We need to learn how to live with a deadly virus that is showing no signs of stopping. Even if we reach the so-called herd immunity after enough of the population has been vaccinated, we cannot afford to be complacent given how the virus is persistent in its mutation. The best we can do is to adapt to the new normal. That rule applies to individuals and businesses.
So treat your business like a human being that’s constantly at risk. That should keep you on your toes. Then, try the pandemic strategies mentioned in this list. If they do not help you grow your small enterprise in an otherwise challenging landscape, these tips will, at least, ensure that you get to stay in business.