How to ensure your business stays afloat during trying times

By Warren Foster

Uncertain times, like the situation we are currently facing with the coronavirus pandemic, can cause many issues for people across all different industries. Small business owners have been experiencing an especially tough times. While many non-essential businesses are forced to close or to change their business drastically during this pandemic, it should be no surprise that many small businesses are struggling to keep up with their expenses. It’s important to keep small businesses running so that once the country is able to start reopening, your business and others will still be standing. Here are tips on how to keep your business going during tough times.

Show you care

The important thing to remember is that everyone is going through this and that we’re all in this together. Use that community mindset to show your customers that you’re a company they want to keep supporting during and after this pandemic.

First, show your community that you care. Post on your social media accounts with feel-good stories from within your community. Featuring encouraging messages for the frontline workers and the community at large, and updates on how you’re doing your best to keep your customers happy will show that your business is invested in the community it serves.

If you’re able to, give back to the community and the frontline workers. Buy products and food from other local businesses and restaurants to show your support. Allow your customers to buy a meal for a frontline worker as a way to enter a giveaway for a free gift card, or donate extra food to a local hospital. Don’t do good deeds just for show, but do them with genuine care for your community and the people in it.

You also need to show your employees that you care about them and their safety. Make sure your employees have the proper protection and equipment they need to stay safe. Your business is only as good as your people, so they’re a part of your company you’re going to want to keep investing in.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your business

The small businesses that are going to survive during this time are the ones that are willing to make changes to evolve with the times we’re living in. Look internally at things you can do to best serve your customer base until you’re able to reopen and operate normally again. If you’re an essential business like a restaurant but you aren’t able to have your customers in-store, offer a pay-ahead option and curbside pickup for your customers so they don’t have to worry about going inside and being exposed to people.

If you work for a salon, for example, offer to do no-contact delivery of care packages to your clients so they’re not tempted to use box dye and kitchen scissors. If you own a gym, offer effective workouts over Zoom and post daily workouts on your Facebook and Instagram. Your customers will be so grateful for the effort you’re putting into keeping their lives somewhat normal during such a tough time, and they’ll remember your dedication and kindness long after this is over.

Keep your finances strong

As you continue to evolve your business and the way you’re running it, you’re going to need strong funds to support those changes. If you are a non-essential business and are unable to do curbside pickup or delivery, find other ways to keep a steady income until you’re able to fully reopen. Sell gift cards for people to use once you reopen. Offer services that people still need at home so that they’re encouraged to keep supporting your business.

With the changes you’re making, it’s likely you’ll need to keep up with the costs that come with the new additions to your business. You might need to hire new workers to deliver your products, or put funds into keeping the employee base you have. While a PPP loan is an option, many major banks aren’t able to process them for every business that needs one. When you need the financing but those options aren’t working, turn to an online lender for a small business loan to help you with the costs of your business. Depending on the type of loan you get, you can use your funds for the equipment you need to evolve your business, to help keep up with employee paychecks, or to just help keep your business running.

Navigating any crisis situation as a business owner, whether a personal issue or a global pandemic like this one, can be scary. With the right moves and showing your loyal customers you truly care, you will get through this.

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Warren Foster is a finance enthusiast living in Michigan. Warren writes content for small business owners on how to best grow a company.

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