The importance of a community cannot be overstated, especially in times of crisis. Community support is crucial for emotional well-being as well as for gathering practice advice on how to manage the crisis better. So, we turned to our community of business owners across sectors to seek their wisdom on how to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses.
These pieces of advice come from real experiences of small business owners and are a reflection of how they are dealing with the situation themselves. We hope these gems of wisdom will help you with your business during these challenging times.
50+ Small Business Owners Share Their Advice for Dealing with the Impact of COVID-19 on Business:
1. Keep a cool head; look for other opportunities.
2. Take a deep breath and look at your operations. The “changes” many businesses are facing right now are another stage of business evolution and while things will change, I’m confident many will thrive and evolve.
3. If you are fortunate enough to weather the storm, be positive, and continue to invest in your long term future. The global pandemic won’t last forever and this could be an opportunity to come out of this ahead.
4. Stay calm. You’re in business because you’re innovative. Rely on that and stay calm. You might even find new ways to serve customers as their needs change.
5. Don’t give up! Think smart, not hard.
6. Stay safe, this will hopefully end soon!
7. Stay creative and weather the storm.
8. Everyone’s business is so different it’s hard to comment. I would say that this an opportunity for people to be still and reflective. Through this process, solutions will come. It may be that you completely change the focus of your future work. It’s frenetic out there. There is so much noise, it is difficult to see the wood for the trees. Slow down. Be still. And breathe.
9. Wait it out.
10. Make smart short term decisions with the hope that this will not last for more than a few months.
11. Keep working on the backend so that when it lifts, you have fresh products to deliver.
Pivot, Pivot, PIVOT
12. Be agile and adaptable to take business affairs online.
13. Be flexible.
14. Pivot to solving immediate user problems.
15. Pivot if you can, sell online, take this time to explore other possibilities.
16. Adapt yourself.
17. Come up with new offerings that will attract clients.
18. Look around to find a way repurpose your business or apply your model to other contexts
19. Create a new way of business.
20. Diversify your income stream.
21. Don’t focus on where you’ve been, focus on where you need to go next. If your business model doesn’t make sense anymore, don’t get caught up in regret; get ready for what you need to do now to make it work.
22. See what opportunities lie ahead, and do it before others do.
23. Be ready to offer alternative products or services, and offer varieties to consumers so as to keep the business going.
24. Identify where you can grow fast, what can you improve and what you can come up with during this time
Lend and seek support
25. Be compassionate to yourself and your team.
26. Put your own concerns behind, pay your employees, take care of your clients.
27. This isn’t forever, we’re going to be okay. Support your fellow team members and together we can make this work.
28. Find a group of business owners in your industry at various stages to form a support group.
Take everything online
29. Operate completely online, it makes a huge difference when it comes to maintaining a plan for continuous operations.
30. Plan for your business to move online.
31. I would recommend they keep as much of their work online as possible and to not give out personal information like addresses or phone numbers. I do all client communications exclusively through email or video conferencing.
32. Take advantage of the current change in thinking re: online technologies.
33. Focus on remote sales/revenue.
34. Online businesses are the key to the future. There has already been a massive shift towards online business in the past decade and I feel the virus will only give more of a push towards online commerce.
35. Having a good online store has been crucial. Running sales worked very well for us as it seemed people were willing to spend money.
36. Make improvements to your online presence.
37. Create more online products.
38. Moving a retail store online, or adding an online component to your restaurant doesn’t need to be intimidating. This is a perfect opportunity to start small and be kind to yourself. It doesn’t need to be perfect!
Reduce expenses… FAST
39. Reduce spends, increase savings
40. Cut expenses and think fast, and really act fast if you see that your business does not fit the current situation and the needs of your customers.
41. You don’t have time to sit and wait, you have to change quickly.
42. Build savings.
43. Reduce spending and try to find a way to get more clients /customers.
44. Cut your expenses ASAP.
45. If you are self-contained and self-funded at the moment, you only need to continue to do what you are doing.
46. The best time to prepare for a crisis is 3 months before it happened. The second best time is now. Make sure you have funding in place for these sorts of things and ensure you can transfer to a homework environment for all employees.
47. Plan ahead and reduce spending on concurrent platforms.
48. Utilize the resources on cleaning the foundations and preparing for the re-bounce.
49. Work closely with the manufacturer so you get new stock quickly.
50. Choose the less delayed shipping methods, and encourage new possible customers to place orders
51. Offer discounts. Reduce margins. Move stock.
52. Be diligent in finding new suppliers.
53. Ride the wave. Focus on consistent business to sustain volumes. Don’t think of margins, volumes will drive the near term focus
54. Have a plan in place and if possible, move services like phones, etc to IP phones that can be diverted to staff homes and have a remote working setup.
So, there you have it! Advice from 50+ business owners just like you sharing their experiences for the benefit of the small business community. If you have any tips, suggestions or advice that you’d like to share, mention them in the comments below!