The novel coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking havoc on economies worldwide. Employees were laid off. Some businesses closed due to lockdowns enforced across the country. As of March 2020, 92% of small businesses suffered because of the pandemic. These small businesses provide half of the jobs in the private sector, yet now they are the most vulnerable.
If you are planning to reopen now that most restrictions are being gradually lifted, you must have a strategy in place. This can help you do the necessary preparations to run a business during a pandemic. From determining how much the damage is to finding the right business loans, this guide will help you return to business.
Determine the depth of the damage
Before you can make a sound and effective business plan, you must first assess how much financial damage you have suffered. If you haven’t been doing your numbers in a while, it’s time to do them now. Take stock of your cash flow statements. Compare the numbers from last year’s to see how you are faring.
It’s not all about financial damage. If you had to lay off some employees during the lockdown, you must factor that in your strategy to rebuild and reopen.
Review your business plan
How you used to do business before might not be effective during a pandemic. Sit down and review your business plan. Your business plan must adapt to the current situation for your business to thrive and survive. For example, if you have a small cafe or bakery that depends wholly on dine-in customers, you might want to consider food deliveries now that staying at home is widely encouraged. You can also create take out meals for those who can drop by your restaurant.
A new business model designed with the pandemic in mind can significantly benefit your business. You might want to take advantage of online platforms to continue serving your existing customer base and to reach out to new ones as well. Embrace new channels. Even if there is a pandemic, people still need to buy food and supplies to live.
You can also analyze and study how other small businesses, especially those in the same industry as yours, are coping with the new normal. You can then compare what they are doing to what you have and identify any gaps in your end that you need to address.
Identify funding needs
You will likely need some capital to rebuild and jumpstart your business. There are many options for financial assistance available to small business owners. There are business loans specifically designed for your business needs. You need the additional fund for the following reasons:
Access to Capital. Understandably, the pandemic might have brought strain in your capacity to pay your employees and to maintain your inventory.
Inventory Shortfalls. You must have adequate inventory for some time to sustain your operations.
Employee Training. You need to acquaint your employees with the new business protocols you have in place to ensure the continuity of your operations and the safety of your patrons.
Facility Improvement. It is vital to keep your employees and customers safe in your business establishment. You need to make some changes in the setup of your store or restaurant to ensure secure physical distancing protocols are followed. You also need to install hand sanitizer dispensers to encourage your employees and customers to practice proper hygiene and always to clean their hands. Other CDC-recommended practices, such as regular cleaning and disinfecting, can also mean more operational expenses for your business.
Adapting to the Evolving Market Demand. There can be restrictions implemented or will be implemented that can hamper your business operations. The public can also be warier of going out, especially with the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. Navigate through this time by adapting your business plans to the situation. You need to invest in e-Commerce and delivery options so that your customers can still have access to your products and services.
Insurance Coverage. You might want to call your insurance representative to discuss and review your policy. Be fully aware of the events that you are covered for. If you offer healthcare to your employees, you might also want to review their policy.
Marketing. Customers feel anxious about going out to visit your store or to eat at your restaurant. You must let your customers know about the status of your business operation, the protective measures you have in place, and the new channels available where you can still cater to their needs.
Doing everything at once can be more trouble than it’s worth. Develop a realistic timeline of the steps you need to do rebuild and reopen. List down your action steps and identify the goals and timeline for each. You can easily track your progress so that you don’t end up wasting precious time.
These are challenging times. With the right mindset, a carefully thought of plan, and the right assistance and support system, you can successfully rebuild your business amidst the pandemic.