The current situation in the country and the world hurts everyone. Especially hard for a small local business, whose customers are now on self-isolation. But do not fall into pessimism: these rules can help survive the storm.
1. Accept the situation
The most obvious, but also the most difficult point. You personally will not correct the adverse epidemiological situation. And do not cancel the laws and orders that require your potential customers not to leave home.
But you are quite capable of not wasting your strength and nerves in a panic. Emotional decisions are the worst enemy of any business. It is better to immediately pass the anger and other stages and proceed to acceptance: it is inevitable anyway.
The situation will be a stress test for you, a powerful test of all business systems. And if now you decide to suspend work and wait out the storm, then you will have to compete with those who are better equipped, able to learn from any situation and are not afraid of difficulties.
2. Think about what costs can be reduced.
Due to the widespread crisis, people will obviously spend less. So, your profit will steadily decline if you do nothing.
Profit in the simplest sense is the difference between income and expenses. And this means that everything you managed to not spend will increase your capital. Think about what your business may refuse. It can be:
- paid software that has decent free counterparts;
- high-profile advertising campaigns;
- tasks that you outsource;
- work with distributors, and not directly with suppliers;
- incentive payments for employees;
- team training (you don’t need to refuse it, you can just look for free courses, which are many now).
3. Ensure the safety of those you work with
COVID ‑ 19, which the whole world is rightly afraid of, is truly dangerous. If you work with clients live, and not online, to ensure the safety of them and the whole team is your task.
Let’s say you have a small pet store (such retail outlets continue to work along with pharmacies and grocery stores). Buyers, of course, became many times less, but they are still there. Indeed, not all online feed stores promise delivery on the day of order. Disinfection of surfaces and door handles, access to antiseptics, limiting the number of people in a room, wet cleaning, and, if possible, cashless payment, is what needs to be done several times a day. And of course, there should be a complete ban on coming to work for employees with the slightest signs of a cold.
4. Switch to a new format of work
Many companies transfer employees to remote work, and where it is not possible (in supermarkets, restaurants), they limit contact with visitors to the maximum.
Not only the media or the IT business can afford the new format. There are options for other areas. For example, a number of restaurants in United State have already connected to courier services, and shoe or electronics stores, in addition to the possibility of home delivery, extend the shelf life of orders at pick-up points. You can also offer customers special conditions for delivery or reduce the purchase amount to transfer the parcel to the pickup point. Many companies have switched to contactless delivery. The client pays the order in advance, and the courier leaves the purchase under the door and, having departed to a safe distance, waits until it is picked up. Switch to this format and be sure to tell customers that you are doing the maximum for their safety.
Because of the pandemic, your business may need some professionals, but others will have nothing to do. Dismissing staff is an extreme measure: in a month or two everything will return to normal, and hiring new employees will cost more. Not to mention how mass cuts demotivate the team.
No matter how smooth your work system is, it can be reconfigured. For example, some of the staff could communicate with customers over the phone using pre-created scripts, while others could follow the comments on your website and social networks. You yourself can also motivate people with your own example: stand at the cash register and deliver the order.
5. Create special offers
Crisis – time to take risks, including in marketing. You can and should experiment, the main thing is to maintain ethics and not speculate on human fears. Think about what you can offer to increase sales, but at the same time not work at a loss?
A good idea would be to subscribe to goods and services. One client who places an order every month is more profitable than a dozen one-time customers.
You can offer this to your audience by making a good discount. Special conditions should be negotiated with those who pay for the entire subscription at once.
6. Encourage those who remain with you in difficult times
A difficult period will pass, and your business will remain if you do everything correctly and circumstances are successful. If possible, now mark the contribution of each team member. Keep in touch with partners, suppliers, and contractors who help withstand a difficult situation. And so that your relationship continues, think now, what particularly pleasant terms of cooperation and bonuses you can offer them when it’s all over.
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