As COVID-19 has reworked the social fabric of the world, it has also thrown small businesses into a tailspin. Staying open has not been an option for many and those who have been allowed to operate have had to rethink how they do business in order to stay alive. This unprecedented crisis has given birth to unprecedented ingenuity and small businesses have had to be on the cusp of these changes to stay afloat. So, how do small businesses survive the crisis?
Getting access to cash is a huge concern for most small business owners. Even in the best of times, staying liquid is a major concern for most business owners. It is even more vital now. Luckily, there have been a number of new policies and programs implemented by the federal government to help small business owners gain access to the funds they need to stay open. Some small business owners have taken a more grassroots approach and have begun crowdfunding to convert their current business into one that is more sustainable in a crisis.
Of course, this brings me to the second big innovation which is a change in how we work. Many small business owners are finding that they simply don’t need many of the things they thought were essential. With employees teleworking, shortened hours of operation, and the rise in contactless shopping/delivery, businesses are reassessing their model and some are experiencing growth. Sandwich shops and delis are beginning to open walk-up windows and offer delivery. Pizza parlors are selling pizza-making kits for bored kids and parents to use at home. Doctors are doing virtual visits. Even personal trainers have begun using apps to conduct virtual training sessions with clients. Small businesses need to find a way to rework their operation so that they can continue to meet their customers’ changing needs in the midst of this crisis.
Manage Your Debt
Now that you have access to cash and have created a business plan that works, you will need to make sure that your debt burden doesn’t become so large that you are still underwater long after the crisis has passed. This may begin with making layoffs or giving up expensive office space and taking your operation online. You may need to negotiate with your vendors, take advantage of relief funds, grants, or even downsize your operation. Whatever you need to do to keep your expenses low, don’t hesitate to do it. You’ll be grateful that you did once we adjust to our new normal.