Managing a small business has never been an easy road. However, 2020 has thrown all kinds of twists and turns into the mix, and countless businesses are now struggling to keep their doors open. If you’re a small business owner trying to figure out how to stay the path amid the ongoing pandemic, here are six proactive steps you can take now.
Evaluate Your Financial Position
The first order of business is to figure out where you stand financially, as it will serve as the foundation for most of your decisions going forward. For example, will you be able to keep all of your employees and/or cut back hours? Will you be able to make your rent next month and pay outstanding debts? Where can you cut expenses so that you can make the adjustments necessary to survive in the current economy? Get with your accountant/financial advisor to discuss a plan for the short-term and long-term.
Check Your Funding Options
No small business can last long without cash flow. If you determine that you need to boost cash flow in order to sustain your operations, be sure to explore all of your options. For instance, you could apply for an SBA express bridge loan, a traditional SBA loan, the Main Street Business Lending Program, and/or other government assistance sources. Additionally, there are a lot of non-government funding opportunities available to small businesses.
Talk to Your Bank
Along with looking into loans, grants, and other financial programs, check with your bank and lenders about any modifications they can make to your arrangements. For example, many banks are deferring payments, waiving fees, and making other accommodations to assist individuals and small businesses affected by the pandemic. Many lenders are also stepping up to help customers navigate these times.
Communicate with Your Customers
Most customers will expect things to be different by now, but it’s important to clearly communicate how your company is responding to the pandemic. For instance, if there have been or will be significant changes made to how you provide products or services, your customers should know as soon as possible how it will affect them. Also, let them know what you are doing to help the community and the public as a whole. Posting updates on your website and tastefully using social media and emails is an effective way to accomplish this.
Double Down on Tech
Utilizing technology has been becoming more of an essential part of running a business for many years now, but the pandemic has put that need into overdrive. Think about any upgrades that could make your website more engaging and user-friendly, and consider whether developing an app could help your business. If you’re working with a remote team, make sure you have all the tools in place to succeed. If you’ve yet to embrace e-commerce, see how you can incorporate it into your operations to boost sales.
Expand Your Offerings
Most of the small businesses that are thriving in the current economy are expanding the products and/or services they offer customers. Consider any new products that you could sell, whether it’s something related to your other products or something unrelated that can help customers navigate the pandemic, such as hand sanitizer or face coverings. Also, if you have a physical store, consider offering curbside pickup and in-store discounts.
Small businesses everywhere are scrambling to find adjustments that will help them stay afloat in these crazy times. Along with taking the steps listed here, see if you can connect with other local businesses through websites such as Wisconsin Buys Local to share advice and partner on innovative ideas. Being proactive will help your company remain in a position to succeed despite what the pandemic has to throw at it.