The COVID-19 crisis is scary, frustrating, and confusing. And for small business owners, it’s twice as challenging. But for those who are proactive and focused, there are ways to survive.
The Business Environment Under COVID-19
There’s really no way of sugar-coating how things are in the business environment as of now. To sum it all up, economies and business communities are taking a catastrophic hit as non-essential travel and businesses are halted. In just two months, the COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be more costly than the 2008 Financial Crisis and Great Recession with hundreds of millions around the world currently jobless. Telecommuting employees working for online businesses were lucky enough to keep carrying on amidst the COVID-19 pandemic since doing business online is the new norm now. But not all online businesses have been so lucky since consumer habits have now changed (iPhone 11 vs. toilet paper and food), along with serious and prolonged interruptions to the global supply chains.
5 Encouraging Tips for Growth
We’ve never experienced anything like this before. If you’re a seasoned business owner, you’ve experienced your fair share of market dips – maybe even a recession or two – but nothing matches this.
The economy is otherwise healthy and robust – except for this pandemic. So either one of two things will happen as a result of this situation. The first possibility is this is a major catastrophe that could send the nation into a massive recession or depression. The second (and more likely) outcome is that this is a temporary market downturn that will eventually normalize once the virus is contained.
As business owners, we have to operate under the hopeful assumption that we’ll be facing the second outcome. And if you’re lucky enough to have a balance sheet that allows you to stay afloat during these worrisome times, here are some encouraging steps you can take to stabilize, grow, and set your company up for future growth.
1. Knock Out Your To-Do List
If you’re like most small business owners, you have a never-ending to-do list of items and tasks that you just never seem to get to. The list typically consists of things that aren’t considered pressing or time-sensitive, so they continually get pushed to the back burner when you’re putting out fires and dealing with other pressing deadlines. Now is a perfect time to address these tasks. Examples include:
- Take the time to really focus on web design, content, SEO, and other elements of branding that get lost in the shuffle when business is busy. Most digital marketing agencies are still open for business. Partner with one and strengthen these foundational elements of your company so that you’re prepared for a strong resurgence after this crisis.
- Bookkeeping is something far too many small business owners get behind on. This is the best opportunity you’ll ever have to catch up and implement an intuitive system that works for you.
- Software updates are time-consuming and frustrating. The same goes for replacing outdated hardware and tech. With less of a need for these systems at the moment, you may consider upgrading your tech stack.
2. Get Creative With New Product Ideas
You can view this pandemic as a destructive force or an opportunity. The marketplace is about to be reoriented in some pretty profound ways and there will be lucrative opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners who are willing to get creative. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the business of selling socks, automobiles, or business consulting services, you’ll have chances to pivot, expand, and/or shift.
3. Show Employees You Care
People are scared and anxious. This includes your own employees.
Whether they’ve been laid off, their hours have been cut back, or they’re in a weird “purgatory,” employees are stressed. You have the opportunity to support them and show them that you care.
Caring looks different for everyone. It could mean sending a handwritten note, placing a phone call, offering financial assistance, or simply listening.
4. Care for Yourself
You can’t be an effective business owner and communicator if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Be mindful of your health – especially now. Get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet, exercise, and practice gratitude. This will help reframe your mind, which translates positively into your decision making and interactions with others.
5. Spend Time With Your Family
As a busy small business owner, you don’t get nearly enough family time. Rather than be frustrated that your house is chaotic, embrace it! Spend time with your partner and kids. Make memories, in spite of the circumstances.
Finding Opportunity Amid Embers
This article isn’t meant to belittle or gloss over the severity of this crisis. For some businesses, keeping the lights on is the order of the day. And if you’re in that situation, we hope and pray with you. But for those who have businesses that are staying afloat, this article should provide some helpful guidance on how to march forward in spite of mitigating circumstances. Good luck!