Currently, many businesses are wondering how they will weather the storm of COVID-19, especially after the World Health Organization labeled it as a pandemic. In any type of crisis, it can be difficult for businesses to know where to start planning and how to create a strategy to move forward. Most businesses want to protect their employees as best as they can, while also being financially stable. Although many industries are suffering from coronavirus, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your business can put a plan into place so that it can not only survive, but thrive at the end of the storm. Here is a list of several action items your business can take to endure the coronavirus pandemic.
Develop a crisis budget
You’ll first want to figure out the state of your finances. One basic element of tracking business finances is budgeting. Budgeting for a crisis can look a little different than a normal financial plan, but the basics are the same. You’ll first want to add all income sources and then look into any savings and loan opportunities. Then, determine your fixed costs, such as rent and insurance. Next, examine your variable expenses. This is one area that can change the most during the pandemic since variable expenses can involve costs like raw materials and marketing costs. Many variable expenses can be cut back, especially when a business is closed or receiving little business. Last, consider adding some extra expenditures into your budget, for things like cleaning supplies or new healthcare programs to help combat the virus. Creating a spending budget amidst the spread of coronavirus may seem challenging, but will help your financial decisions in the long run because it will keep people safe and healthy.
Consider loan opportunities
Once you’ve figured out your budget, consider taking advantage of loan opportunities. At this time, there are many options for business loans since the government and other organizations are working to help businesses stay on track. There are disaster assistance loans from the SBA, state-wide initiatives to help small businesses, assistance from banks and credit card companies, and federal small business assistance. Since loans have different eligibility requirements, you’ll need to figure out which ones your business qualifies for and determine which one best fits your needs.
In times of crisis, some expenses that are normally essential become dispensable. Here are two things you may want to downsize: material costs and marketing spend. Material costs can include any kind of supplies that your business uses on a regular basis. If your business is closed or receiving less business, then you will definitely need to downsize your material costs. Additionally, companies should be careful with their marketing spend. Since most businesses become less productive during a crisis, it’s vital that a company consider reducing marketing spend. Companies should reevaluate their ads. Also consider reducing or altering ineffective content such as social media posts, blog posts or email newsletters. With that said, you still may want to keep some of these marketing strategies running, since communication with the general public can be helpful, and in some cases, essential.
Communicate with employees and customers
Businesses that promptly respond during an emergency benefit from clear communication with their employees and customers, as well as experience less mayhem due to the spread of misinformation. When communicating with employees, businesses should create a business continuity plan, and share it with employees via an email. Along with making a business continuity plan, gather contact information for your employees, vendors, and clients online, so that you can access the information at any location. Additionally, if you have multiple business locations, give store managers the authority to take action based on conditions at the individual store. During times of crisis, it’s important that businesses know how to promptly adjust their marketing strategies to share up-to-date information with the general public. Businesses should be perceptive and responsive during a critical situation by immediately updating a variety of their operations, including their marketing strategy. They should update their website, online listings, social media posts, ads, and email campaigns with relevant information. Relevant information can include hours of operation, special offers, inventory updates, or answers to frequently asked questions. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also provided a Coronavirus Response Toolkit for businesses to use to share key messages with the public and employees about coronavirus.
Planning for the future
While the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing, it will eventually take its leave. In the meantime, hold on to your most important business assets. For every company, this looks different. Consider what you’ll need when the crisis is over. Think about future opportunities for your business that will be possible after the crisis has ended. If you’re able to, put the right people in place to execute future plans. By executing these action items, your business can brave the coronavirus pandemic and become a steadfast part of the economy moving forward.At 97 Switch, we are considering these ideas for ourselves and the people we work with. We understand that it’s a complicated time, and so we are making ourselves available to talk with others about developing marketing strategies that will be helpful in the future.