The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone, but perhaps no one has suffered more than small business owners. While many large retail stores remained open because the government deemed them essential, thousands of smaller businesses had to close at least temporarily. A sudden and unexpected business closure and loss of revenue is one of the most challenging things that business owners can face.
Sadly, some small businesses will never reopen, and others will remain shuttered for much longer than anticipated. That can feel like discouraging news, but there is also room for optimism. With willingness to employ some creative solutions, it might surprise you to see your small business thrive rather than just survive during these challenging times.
Go Digital if You Haven’t Already
One of the best pieces of small business advice that owners can heed at this time is to adapt their business model to offer digital options first. What this means is that your small business must make it possible for customers to purchase items and pay for them online using digital payments such as a credit card or electronic check. Consumers who don’t yet feel comfortable venturing out for their shopping are demanding this option. Your company risks losing at least some of its long-time loyal customers if it doesn’t adapt to meet consumer demand.
Your small business also needs to adapt to offer more flexible options for customers to receive their merchandise. Curbside pickup, which involves a customer placing an order online or by using a smartphone app and an employee delivering it to their car, has become extremely popular since the pandemic began in March. Sending orders via mail or a delivery service is also an excellent way to meet the needs of your customers.
Since delivery incurs an extra cost for customers, we encourage you to offer free or discounted shipping whenever possible. Offering free shipping when a customer spends over a certain amount can drive up their order total to help offset some of the shipping costs absorbed by your company.
Consider Making Remote Work a Permanent Arrangement
The pandemic forced many employers who previously felt skeptical about having employees work from home accept the arrangement as a new temporary reality. Some have been pleasantly surprised that employees are more efficient because they don’t have to contend with distractions from the office. A mostly remote work force can also save your business considerable money on leasing office space and paying for furniture, utilities, security, and more. As long as it’s possible to perform certain jobs at the same level of quality from an employee’s home, it’s worth making remote work a permanent arrangement. Your employees should appreciate the opportunity for greater flexibility as well.
Investigate Loan and Grant Options for COVID-19 Relief
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has made several programs available to small business owners financially impacted by COVID-19. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was one of the earliest forms of financial assistance available. While it has now run out of funds, President Trump is currently working with Congress to pass a second authorization of funds. If approved, a PPP loan will provide funds to continue paying your employees with a portion of the loan forgivable if you meet eligibility criteria. You can learn about additional SBA funding options at this link.
Juvo Business Advisors is Here to Help Your Small Business Thrive
Business coaching can help you get unstuck if you feel like your small business is still in survival mode. This is just one of many services we offer to small business owners. Please contact Juvo Business Advisors today to request a time to meet.