Small businesses have it very hard even when conditions are normal since they usually do not have sufficient resources. With the current coronavirus creating chaos on people’s health and the economy, small businesses have come under even more pressure. With manufacturing lines closed, supply chain systems disrupted, and the market chaotic, small businesses need to do whatever it takes to survive these trying times and rebound with greater energy in the post-COVID era. With immense pressure on their operations, these practical tips can help them to overcome the challenges of the day:
Keeping the Business Operating
The biggest challenge, by far, for small businesses in these times is to keep their businesses open and functional, observe Ej Dalius. If there are restrictions in place on opening offices, remote working could be a solution, however, because of their limited IT resources; small businesses may find teleworking more practical. However, if your business is already in the cloud, giving even simple internet-connected laptops to employees to work from home may well suffice for most functions. Using a commercial VPN service is suggested for ensuring data security.
Reconfiguring Retail Operations
Retail businesses operating out of brick-and-mortar stores will be the worst affected if their locations have access restrictions. It may help to alter the business hours and also provide customers the option of picking up goods from the curbside. However, if the situation changes for the worse, the stores may have to be kept closed. The best way to manage such a situation is to set up an e-commerce platform for online sales, suggests Eric Dalius. There are quite a few solutions that small business owners can implement very quickly to start selling their products online, including options for direct shipping and order fulfillment. Repurposing store employees can keep them motivated while ensuring your customers get the same level of customer service.
Securing Short-Term Financing is Critical Says, Eric J Dalius
According to https://www.scrapality.com, on average, small businesses have cash reserves to last them around 27 days only. Businesses will be left with no option but to seek short-term loans to ensure business continuity. The U.S. government has announced a $2.3 billion package to ensure the survival of small businesses. Grants are available up to certain limits provided the small business meets the eligibility norms. The stimulus package also facilitates funding of up to $5 million with no repayment obligations for the period of the pandemic. Further, emergency funding of $10,000 is available to eligible businesses in the form of a non-returnable grant. There are other grants and loans available at the state level while some large corporations are also chipping in with their relief programs.
Even though the current situation is grim, humans are naturally resilient and can bounce back with enhanced vigor. While small businesses are the worst affected by the pandemic, they also need to appreciate that their small size makes them nimble so that they can quickly adapt and overcome the challenges of the changing circumstances. The key to surviving the coronavirus chaos is being decisive, innovative, and resourceful to be able to overcome the diverse challenges and emerge stronger and smarter.