We now live in a time which journalists and doctors refer to as war zone-like situation. The COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic has created a hysteria that has led to the lockdown in Italy, a “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles, and people on a panic buying frenzy leaving countless grocery stores with empty shelves.
While many of us are affected by the rapid spread of this disease, the most impacted sector during this outbreak are small businesses, their employees, and their loyal customers. From supply chain interruptions, sick employees, and slower sales, the epidemic has negatively impacted 23% of small business owners, according to a National Federation of Independent Business study.
While some small business owners are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their business, there are ways to protect businesses during this unprecedented pandemic we are facing.
Instead of panicking, small business owners need to breathe, sit down, plan, and be proactive. Now is not the time to be a deer caught in headlights, but rather a moment to wash your hands with soap and water and be the driving force that delivers hope to your community.
Here’s our small business survival guide during the coronavirus pandemic.
Create A Plan. As coronavirus spreads, businesses need to put safeguards in place to protect their companies and employees. Initiate an emergency preparedness plan and a plan that outlines future endeavors such as developing digital materials. This is a great way to secure your place in your industry now and post-COVID-19.
Transition into digital marketing. If your small business hasn’t done so, consider fully transitioning into the world of digital marketing. Or if you are, make sure your strategy is up to date. In times of an outbreak or a government-imposed quarantine, there are eCommerce platforms such as Shopify or Weebly that you can start with or integrate into your web system so your consumers can reach you anytime they need to purchase goods and products online.
Be creative and flexible. Small businesses are finding alternative means to communicate with consumers and partners. During this time of the coronavirus outbreak, there are better ways than canceling or postponing a face-to-face meeting. There is a plethora of tools and apps to help businesses to adapt and be more flexible.
Start with Zoom for all your video conferencing needs. You can live stream on Facebook or Instagram to reach out and update their followers. Similarly, there are online project management tools such as Trello, Jira, or Monday for a better workflow.
If you’re a restaurant owner, set up a takeout system for locals and provide a delivery option, either assign an employee or two. Another option is to join mobile apps such as GrubHub, Postmates, and Uber EATS.
Reassess your cleaning procedures. You need to sanitize your business, especially if you’re a grocery store or a restaurant, during our fight against coronavirus. Maintaining a squeaky-clean workplace gives employees and customers some peace of mind knowing that they’re entering a safe environment.
Here are some precautionary measures to protect your business:
- Clean your business more than usual
- Send out a general notice to disinfect workstations daily
- Purchase extra cleaning supplies and disinfectants, if available
- Request that sick employees don’t come into the office
- Encourage employees to wash their hands often, for at least 20 seconds each time
Encourage consumer support. It takes a community to establish a small business. Encourage your loyal customers and their friends and family to support you in any way they can, in these tough times. Send out an email blast or social media post informing your subscribers and followers that their support is essential to you, your staff, and your business. Create a relief fund for your business on GoFundMe, Kickstarter, or Facebook Fundraiser.
Plan and use money wisely. While it is common knowledge that small businesses, on average, can survive for 26 days without sales, it is advised to plan ahead and to spend money on business essentials. For other alternative sources of financial support or assistance, the SBA is offering disaster assistance loans up to $2M for small businesses affected by COVID-19. The loans can help pay for payroll, and other unresolved debts.
Need help surviving the coronavirus outbreak? Let’s talk! Our creative experts can assist with all your digital marketing needs.