How to Keep Your Small Business Alive During a Pandemic
Studio 42 Workspaces • March 30, 2020
2020 introduced something that many small and large businesses were largely unprepared for: a global coronavirus pandemic. While we all battle the uncertain and scary times, we’ve found some tips to help keep your business afloat while we ride out the storm.
Keep your response up-to-date:
The first and foremost thing to do is make sure your business is complying with ALL government regulations and requirements. Keep in touch with your customers and employees so they know that you’re working off current and legitimate advice. While many often like to bag them out, the government is the best source of advice during times like these. Many governments have set up hotlines or regularly updated websites such as the Australian Gov’s Coronavirus page. Most importantly, make sure that you’re not jeopardising the safety/health of your staff or employees by staying open or operating as usual.
Find a way to keep your engagement up:
Shutting down for any period of time can be a huge blow for a small business. If you’re forced to close up shop, make sure you have something in place to keep interacting with your clients and customers. If you can, offer takeaway instead or set up a quick online store where customers can buy discounted gift cards to use when you re-open. Even if you can’t get an income out of it, make sure you are still keeping in touch with your customer base. You could start a community Facebook group, Instagram page they can follow or a blog that you update regularly.
Look into using a virtual office temporarily:
Its unlikely that any business is operating at full capacity at the moment, so virtual office services can be a great option to take away the everyday stress of running your small business. You can have a full-time reception team answer your calls and send you a summarised message, have all your mail signed for and have access to professional facilities if you need to get out of the house. Studio42 Workspaces have also reduced pricing on their virtual office packages for the next month to make them more accessible to small business.
Use the time wisely:
If you have closed or are operating at lower levels than usual, make sure you make the most of the spare time. Use the time to update your policies and procedures, training manuals, pricelists or menus. You can also build up a bunch of new content that you can roll out when business picks up again. A great way to maximise your time is to involve your customer base in your updates. Try starting a Facebook group where people can discuss their favourite and least favourite products. Or start a challenge for the community to brainstorm a new menu design – you’ll keep engagement up and people will be much more likely to spend more money with you after this is all over.
Take advantage of the Government’s help:
Many of us aren’t super eager to accept help from someone else for your product, but now really is the time to take advantage of all the incentives out there for small business. Use the help to keep staff onboard, renovate your shopfront or upgrade your offerings. If you can get help with wages through something like the Job Keeper (Australian Government) program, use the down time to re-train staff up so they’re ready to go when the doors open again.
While it definitely doesn’t feel like it now, this is all going to end in the future and small businesses need to be ready for that day. Make sure you have your plan ready to go if you need to rapidly scale back up and if you can, keep in touch with staff to make sure they’re ready if they need to increase their hours. If you’re going to need to recruit when business picks up, make sure you plan to do this one month before you expect business to boom again so you’re not left flailing with skeleton staff and lines out the door.