12 Things You Can Do to Weather the COVID-19 Storm if You’re a Small Business Owner
The country is on lockdown. People are being asked not to leave their homes, and businesses like restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and other types of businesses are being ordered by the Government to shut down completely, or severely restrict operations. Needless to say, there is a lot of reason to exercise caution, and there is a lot of uncertainty. If left unchecked, uncertainty has a nasty way of breaking down into fear and hysteria.
But not for you! You’re a small business owner, so, on many levels, you’re already immune to things like letting uncertainty get the best of you. Otherwise, you would not have been able to do something as uncertain and terrifying as starting a small business in the first place.
So, this post is for you, my overworked, underpaid brothers and sisters who face their fears and challenges every day and emerge victorious. Sometimes, all we need is a little perspective to help redirect our focus onto moving forward, rather than falling behind. None of these ideas should be considered as advice, financial, legal, or otherwise. I hope you enjoy reading them. So, here are some of the ideas I’ve been thinking about:
We need to bring balance to the fear, because the fear can be more dangerous than the virus. In fact, fear-based stress and anxiety can and will weaken your immune system, the very thing that needs to be strong during a health crisis.
--Dr. Caroline Leaf
1. Consider doing some pro-bono work.
If you’re not able to do your work for profit, now may be the time to tackle that charity project you have been putting off. Use your time to give. While the herd mentality can deteriorate society into a greedy, toilet paper hoarding monster, it’s the rest of us who keep a positive, hopeful outlook that keeps us civil and moving forward.
If you have materials that won’t last, like food, consider donating them to your local food bank, rather than waiting for them to go bad and then throwing them into the dumpster.
2. Look into the Small Business Stimulus.
Details are still unfolding on what this will look like but, it seems like there may be some relief available for your employees and your business as well. Keep yourself informed about the details, how to get it, and how to help your employees access resources.
3. Be flexible with your vendors.
Just as you may be in need of some grace when it comes to paying your bills, extend the same courtesy to others who owe you. Be flexible, allow more time to pay. Be human. Everything is going to be okay. Many people will experience anxiety due to difficult and stressful times. As a result, some people will become intolerable. Be the opposite. Why not be the person who surprised them by being so understanding. Such acts of kindness won’t soon be forgotten.
4. Be flexible with your clients.
If you have the means, offer incentives to do the work now for your clients and accept payment later once everything gets back to normal. This alone may allow you to forge strong new relationships that last for years and decades to come.
5. Switch to a smarter digital marketing strategy.
If you’re used to doing business face to face, perhaps now is the time to switch to a digital strategy for the generation of new leads. Email marketing to your “list” has never been better because your traditionally too-busy-to-bother readers are now bored, and you may see open rates and click-through rates better than previously thought possible and higher than ever before. We can help.
6. Invest in yourself by learning new skills.
If you have a lot of spare time on your hands, stuck in your house, please don’t waste all of it binge-watching Netflix. Instead, use this as an opportunity to learn something new. Take an online course. Read up on some of the latest and greatest developments in your industry. Listen to Audiobooks. Attend an online MasterClass. This could be a great opportunity to invest in your skills and emerge from this crisis better, stronger, smarter, and faster than ever before.
7. Consider layoffs.
This pandemic will impact the local economy, the national economy, and the global economy. It will, without question, slow things down. It’s usually better to be proactive when it comes to laying people off. If you have someone on your team who is not the right fit for your culture, but up until now you’ve felt you needed them to keep things going – lay that person off first. If you are running a business where revenue has suddenly vanished, consider offering a temporary leave of absence to some of your non-essential workers, and place the business on life support for a couple of weeks.
8. Consider hiring.
Wait, what? You heard me, consider hiring. Why? It’s simple. The most important factor to success is getting the right people on your team. Now, with other businesses closing, and some entrepreneurs hitting the brakes, now may be the perfect time to hit the accelerator. This crisis might just be the chance of a lifetime to take your pick of the best people in your industry. While your competitors are shutting down operations, do the opposite, ramp up.
9. Consider a pivot.
Some industries will actually experience a boom of new customers as a result of this national emergency. Medical facilities, ventilator manufacturers, grocery stores, and gig delivery services, to name a few, will no doubt be kept very busy for the foreseeable future. People are going to change their routine for the next few weeks, and this provides a great opportunity to find ways to meet the needs of new markets or find new ways to meet the needs of your current market.
10. Pause your Google Ads.
If you’re in a business that cannot serve customers at your full capacity or will be significantly affected because your customers are impacted by shutdowns or loss of revenue. Your customers are not clicking ads right now. In all the chaos, you may forget this crucial step, so we are here to remind you: Login to your Google Ads account and pause all your campaigns.
11. Take a vacation or a staycation.
Hotels may be closed. Disneyland may be closed. Flights may be limited. But – let’s face it – you probably haven’t taken a vacation in years. Now may be the perfect time to get away and unwind. Stay at an Airbnb. Go to a secluded beach.
12. Relax. It’s common sense. It’s not the end of the world.
Keep your distance from large groups. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home if you’re symptomatic or exposed to someone who becomes symptomatic. That’s it! It’s not the end of the world. Do your part to save lives from the most vulnerable. Everything will recover. Life as we know it is not over. Society will not devolve into barbarism. Almost everyone who gets sick will recover. Our medical infrastructure will be tested, then adapt and improve.
Stress, worry, and fear are enormously taxing on our immune system, according to Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf which makes us more vulnerable to viral infection.