Guest Post: Keeping Your Small Business Afloat Through COVID-19

Guest Post: Keeping Your Small Business Afloat Through COVID-19
By Katie Conroy


It’s a weird time to run a business. COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines seem to change by the day. It’s hard to tell when you’ll be allowed to gather in person, and harder to tell if you actually should. Some industries have it harder than others; a marketing company may have an easier time going remote than, say, a restaurant, but every company has felt the pandemic’s effects.


Cities reopen and close again, infection rates slow then soar, and all the while an impossible choice rests on business owners’ shoulders: Do you open up and put your employees, your customers, and yourself at risk? Or, do you keep things closed and watch your business wilt?


Fortunately, there is a middle ground. You may have to take a fresh approach to the next few months, but you can make this time serve you in the long run. Here’s a look at a few of the ways you can keep your business afloat through the pandemic without putting people at risk.



Start with the Budget


Before you dive into any recovery plans or reopening schemes, American Express recommends taking some time to thoroughly evaluate your budget. Get a sense of exactly what kind of wiggle room your business has. It’s easy to want to ignore the numbers during a high-stress time like this. Plowing forward blindly can feel like the right call since it gives you the freedom to make fast decisions. However, it’s a bad move in the long run. You absolutely must understand your financial situation to get over an obstacle like COVID-19.


If you take a look at the budget and find that you’re close to the red (or already well within it), look into ways to get funding. There are several resources available for businesses struggling due to the pandemic. There are government aids, such as the Main Street Business Lending Program, as well as private options in different cities and industries. Your COVID-19 survival plan is going to need funding; ensure your business has what it needs to get through.


Work Remotely When Possible, Stay Safe Otherwise


If your employees don’t need to meet in person to do their jobs, don’t make them. Working remotely is one of the best things businesses can do to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. That said, it can be a huge adjustment. Take measures to support your employees through the transition. For example, you might want to offer a stipend to cover the cost of upgrading to a suitable wireless Internet plan. Hold a meeting where you go over remote work best practices and encourage employees to share tips on how to work from home effectively.


Accept that productivity is going to go down, at least in the short run. This is, in part, due to people working from home. It’s a difficult transition, and it will take some people longer to adjust than others. However, remote work isn’t the only cause. The fact is, your workers just aren’t likely to be at their best right now. People are stressed out and scared — it’s just not a good time for productivity. Expect projects to take longer, and plan accordingly.


If employees do need to meet in person, ensure that everyone wears masks and keeps a distance of six feet at all times. Retail shops and restaurants can put up plastic barriers to protect employees from customers. Sticking to safety guidelines can be a challenge, but it’s well worth it to keep your talent safe from harm.


Redirect Energy


Finally, focus on ways you can redirect energy and productivity during this time. For example, now could be the perfect opportunity to redesign your office space. Since everyone’s already away, it’s easier to do things like paint walls or replace carpets.


You can also take this opportunity to enhance your company’s online presence. If you don’t already have a digital marketing expert on staff, consider hiring a freelancer to revamp your web copy and social media presence. This gives you the ability to connect with customers and clients despite the distance.


Eventually, the pandemic will be behind us. The meantime, however, will be a defining moment for our businesses and ourselves. When we look back on this period, we can remember fear and stress, scraping, and desperation, or we can remember creativity, determination, and the iron will to keep moving forward. How will this time define you?


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