The recent months have shown how all sectors of the economy have been impacted by COVID-19. While all businesses have had to deal with problems, small businesses seem to have been hit the hardest. From the online-service based firms to the brick-and-mortar family stores, business owners are scrambling to come to terms with this new reality and the evolving situation. Things had just started to go back to normal when the second wave of the coronavirus hit and trouble has once again begun to surface. Nonetheless, vaccines are now on their way, which means there is hope that the pandemic will come to an end in the near future.
Until then, Israel Figa suggests that you assess how the situation is affecting your business, what can be done to keep it running today, and how to position it to achieve success in the post-pandemic world. Listed below are some tips that can be incredibly helpful:
Plan Tomorrow’s Successes Today
First things first, Dr. Israel Figa suggests that you figure out what your business can do today to make it ready for tomorrow. There are plenty of things that need your attention, such as planning, strategizing and budgeting. Consider whether customer demand for your products/services has increased or decreased, whether you can still get supplies on time, if there is a change in delivery options and how much of your staff is working remotely. When you have a snapshot of the current position of your business, it helps you identify where your attention needs to be and any new opportunities that might available.
Come up with a plan for addressing the necessary issues. This will provide you with a framework for taking actions. You can also prioritize after you create an initial plan. This means breaking it down into a timeline and making a budget. How much will the adjustments cost and where you will get the funds? You could temporarily shut down your operations or slow things down. It is also a good time to work on a new service or product line, depending on what customers require. Increasing prices is also an option, but your customers may see it as a greedy tactic, so there is a risk.
Forecast And Prepare
How will your local market and the economy look like after the pandemic? To thrive in the future and survive in the existing economy, Dr. Israel Figa says that you need to forecast and highlight where your business will be after the pandemic. Will your best option be to attract new customers or reconnect with existing ones? How will your budget be impacted by the pandemic-related changes? You need to be flexible and expect to revise, project, and make new predictions based on the changing coronavirus situation.
There are a number of different scenarios that can be forecasted because it is not possible to predict how COVID-19 will influence the economy in the near future. You can add a permanent work-from-home option for some or all employees, offer digital delivery of services, open brick-and-mortar operations for customers only by appointment, reduce store or office hours or move to part-time workers or multiple shorter shifts.
Make Investments In Digital Solutions Wisely
While stay-at-home means that more people are spending their time online, Israel Figa says that you need to exercise caution when making investments for growing your digital business. If your operations are better suited to brick-and-mortar options, then it is better to divide your business plan budget. You can include ecommerce or digital options, along with post-pandemic opportunities when your clients will be ready to meet face-to-face. Once restrictions are lifted, there is a possibility that people will be eager to ditch their laptops and go out to shop.
Nurture Self-Care And Company Culture
If your business is closed, Israel Figa says that it is a great time to strengthen your non-tangible assets. You have to nurture company culture and also offer support for individual wellbeing and mental health, so everyone is in their best health post-pandemic. It is a great time to revisit your mission statement and also remind your staff and team of what makes your company culture and business. This can be done through chats, regular emails, or Zoom calls. You should consider ways you can bring your employees together either through virtual social gatherings or socially-distanced get-togethers.
It is also important to model physical and mental self-care to your staff. This means you need to manage anxiety by minimizing exposure to news headlines, starting a new physical activity challenge that everyone can participate in or following a specific timeline for shutting down at-home work.
Only Open When You Are Prepared
Even if shops, businesses and offices are opening, Israel Figa says that it is not ‘business as usual’. If you have a brick and mortar business and restrictions in your area are lifted, you still shouldn’t be pressured to open your operations. Instead, you have to make an effort to ensure you are prepared because you want to put your best foot forward for clients when you do end up opening. If you open your business before you are ready, it is possible that you will not get the kind of foot traffic you expect, which makes it difficult to justify the cost of staying open.
In addition, you could also be missing out on offering new products or services that customers now want because of lifestyle changes that have happened due to coronavirus restrictions. Before opening, it is best to figure out if you need to change how your products are delivered to your existing clientele. Is there is a need to adjust staff hours? How can you maintain social distancing requirements? Is your business ready to accept cashless and touchless payments?
Making definite plans may be difficult right now considering the economic situation, but Israel Figa suggests that businesses follow these tips to survive in existing conditions and to be ready for opening post-pandemic.