HOW SMALL BUSINESSES CAN SURVIVE AND COME BACK STRONGER FROM THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
As we enter the Spring of 2020 and the second month of the COVID-19 pandemic and “stay at home” Orders, it is time for small business owners to begin to think about what they can learn from this experience and how they can bring their business back stronger than before..
The first order of business for every company, large or small, is to make sure that its employees and staff are safe and secure during this time. That may mean setting up remote work locations or furloughing employees with the hope that you can rehire them when things return to “normal” (whatever than will be). Once you have taken care of your employees it is time to turn your attention to your business and how you can learn and grow from this situation. Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Examine and improve your business processes. Use this time to examine the processes you have in place for your business. Are they working? How can you make them better? Where can you add or subtract tasks or steps? Are there bottlenecks that need to be worked out? Do they reflect the most efficient way to complete a task? If you are like most businesses, you may not have looked at your processes since you first adopted them. Use this time to examine and improve your business and efficiency.
2. Examine and measure if working remotely or with a small or leaner staff allows you to run your business more efficiently. One of the things that will more than likely will come out of this situation is that many companies will change the way they do business. This is a good time to examine if basic changes are needed in your business structure.
3. Check-in with your customers or clients. Now is a good time to touch based with clients and customers, especially those you have not had contact with for an extended period. A simple note or email reaching out to them and letting them know you care about them and their business during this uncertain time can go a long way. Don’t use this opportunity to sell them something, use it as a time to show that you care about them and their business.
4. Don’t forget about your employees during this time. Take this time to reach out to them and check on them and their families. See if there is anything you can do to make this time better for them. Everyone is concerned and worried about their family and job. An investment in your employees is never a bad idea. Let them know you care and are thinking about them.
5. Use this time to reevaluate your financial projections and goals for the rest of 2020 and beyond. If you have three and five year plans you may also need to reevaluate these plans as well. Do you need to create or increase your emergency of contingency fund? Good financial data is crucial for your business so make sure you take into account the effect this slowdown will have on your company moving forward.
6. If you are having cash flow problems, now is the time for you to look at possible loans through the Small Business Administration and other governmental entities or your local banks. If your company qualifies it may be to your benefit to take advantage of special programs designed to assist businesses during these uncertain times.
7. Make sure that you monitor your supply chain of products and components to insure your needed items are or will be available when you start your business back up. It does you no good to be ready to open your business if your supply chain is down or unavailable.
8. Have a plan in place to re-open your business. You may not be in position to open at full capacity immediately so develop a plan to ramp up your business as the economy picks up and demand increases. This includes thinking about how many employees you will need, how much capital you will need and how you will communicate to your customers or potential customers you are open and ready for business. The company that is prepared and ready to open will be the businesses that customers go to for the products they need.
The thing to remember is that while this pandemic is taking a personal and economic toll on everyone. it can also be an opportunity to examine and improve your business and position it for when the economy returns to full strength.
The information contained in this article should be considered general in nature and does not constitute in legal advice. If you wish to obtain further information on the topic discussed, you should seek legal or other advice specific to your situation. Steven C. Sasser and Sasser Law Firm, LLC are licensed to practice in Alabama and this article should not be seen as an attempt to solicit legal services from outside of Alabama. No representation is made that the quality of legal services performed are greater than the legal services performed by other lawyers.