The COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the world in its talon has been one of the most devastating crises that the world has witnessed in quite some time. Innumerable small businesses have vanished off the map, millions of people have lost their jobs or are facing salary cuts, and the entire global economy is in shambles. At such a time, it is important to chart out a strategy that would help you keep your business afloat and save your workforce as well. Let us take a look at some of the things that you can do.
1. Make sure you and your team stay healthy and safe
The priority right now should be to stay safe from the dreaded Covid-19 infection. The last thing you need during a financial crisis is to burn cash on medical expenses. As a leader, you need to make sure that your employees are following the necessary safety protocols to stay safe during the outbreak. Also, you should consider conducting online meetings where you can engage the team in some cathartic activities and help them bust stress and anxiety.
2. Keep a close eye on your finances
A liquidity crisis is plaguing the entire business economy and small scale businesses that do not have much in the vault are falling victim to it. Therefore, you should take every expense under the microscope and spend money only on essential operations that are needed to keep the company running. You should also consider creating a cash war room, where every expense would be reviewed thoroughly before getting the green light.
3. Communicate with your stakeholders
These are tough times and if you are open about the difficulties that you’re facing, it is more than likely that your stakeholders would understand and would be willing to cooperate. But if you keep them in the dark, you may end up losing their trust – which would very negatively affect the image of your company in the market. Therefore, talk to your lenders, suppliers, vendors, landlord, mortgage companies, and credit card companies and inform them whether or not you’d be able to make the payments on time.
4. Help your employees through the transition
Work-from-home, which wasn’t regarded highly as a viable work model by business executives, has become the major/only mode of working. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that you help your employees to make the transition easy for them. As a business owner, you can provide your team with the tools that can make it convenient to work from home. If the nature of your work, however, demands that your employees work on the site, then it is your responsibility to ensure that they aren’t exposed to any undue risk. This can be accomplished by sanitizing the workstations on a regular basis and making your team follow strict social distancing protocols.
5. Don’t forget to engage with your customers
Just because offline retail has gone down doesn’t mean that you can’t engage with your customers. If you haven’t thought about developing a strong social media presence yet, you need to do so now. India has over 560 million internet users and a major chunk of this demographic frequents social media multiple times every day. By not creating an online presence, you’re missing out on so many opportunities for business. Entering the world of social media would not only help you find new customers but it will also provide you a platform to interact with your old customers and reassure them that you’ll still be delivering your products and services in the safest manner possible.
6. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
According to the Theory of Evolution, the species that survive aren’t the ones that are the strongest; they’re the ones that are most receptive to change. This is what you have to keep in mind during these tough times. By being adaptive and looking for new opportunities to conduct business, you can significantly improve your likelihood of survival. If one door has been closed for you, look for other openings by venturing into other areas in your domain. For instance, since there has been a mass exodus of customers from offline to the online platform, you can brainstorm about how you can offer your product or service online? From comedians performing their shows online to entire food chains offering online delivery, many entrepreneurs and artists have adapted to the change, and they’re performing much better than the ones that are being rigid.
7. Plan ahead
There’s an old adage, “if you fail to plan, you’ve planned to fail.” The wisdom in these words is invaluable. As bad as things look currently, the Covid-19 pandemic, much like the crises before it, will eventually pass and usher in a new normal. The businesses that are planning for that new normal beforehand would have a competitive advantage over those that are just looking to survive. Since they already know what they’re going to do, they’ll only have to set the things in motion once the time comes.
These are no doubt difficult times, and with no clear end to the crisis in sight, it is understandable if you feel dull and gloomy. But the only way out of this situation is to maintain a positive outlook on life and to keep looking for opportunities, so that you can leverage them when they knock on your door.