The COVID19 pandemic has not only taken its toll on the health of people worldwide, it has also caused many small businesses to suffer in the wake of partial and mandatory closures. As of March 30, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported that “92% of small businesses said they have suffered negative effects as a result of the pandemic.” This leaves many business owners questioning “how can my business recover from COVID19?” There are some simple steps that businesses can take when navigating through post-pandemic recovery.
Assess the Damage
You should run a full assessment of the financial impact that the pandemic had on your business. How much less profit did you make this year when compared to the same period last year? You may find that you will need some extra financial assistance to keep the business running. Also, evaluate your workforce. Were you forced to furlough or lay-off employees? Are you able to bring every employee back that you need? If not, you may need to hire new workers to help with the rebuilding process.
Adjust Your Business Plan
You might find yourself in the situation where you must adjust your business planning for a period before things go back to business as usual. This might cause some new opportunities and new sales channels. For example, doctor offices are turning to telemedicine and virtual appointments for non-emergency situations such as follow-ups. Technology can be applied to expand customer reach. You may also find that there will be an increase in demand for your products or services when businesses can open again. Will you need to hire more employees to help with this increased demand? You may want to increase your marketing efforts in order to stay at the top of mind with your customers.
Account for Funding Assistance
You might find that you will need some extra marketing dollars to help push your message. If you find your business hurt financially from the COVID19 pandemic, there are many financial assistance programs available to small business owners. Some of these services are provided for free such as remote mentoring services provided by SCORE though a partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA). Other services you might have to pay for like business lines of credit, credit cards, and loans. You should create a repayment plan if this is the case and repay as quickly as possible to avoid high interest.
Once you have a clear picture of the financial damage and the path to recover, then it is time to rebuild. Set into motion all the action items needed to proceed and be successful. You will be happy that you went through all the work of creating a plan. This plan is your roadmap as you navigate through a business world after COVID19. Consider your customers. You may find that you need to adjust your marketing messaging. Many people will be wary and fragile when coming out of quarantine. Taking an overly aggressive tone could deter customers from using your services. Instead, try to relate to them and let them know you are there to help.
Create a Contingency Plan
Living in Houston, we are no stranger to adversity. The entire city went through Hurricane Harvey and had to endure a disruption in their everyday routines. The same is happening around the world with COVID19 with measures to keep as many people safe as possible. These things happen and unfortunately may happen again. That is why it is incredibly important to have a contingency plan in place. You want to be prepared so use knowledge gained during this time to ensure success for the future.