It’s no secret that we’re in the middle of a global crisis affecting health, commerce, travel, education, and every industry we rely on for modern life. For good reason, COVID-19 has been the focus for every news network, social media platform, and business out there. After all, we have to stay informed so we can make good decisions about our health first. Secondly, the virus has impacted the business world and personal finances for many reasons that are mostly out of our control.
All businesses (big and small) have been scrambling to ensure their survival and learning quickly how to operate amid public isolation and panic. Though the impact is and will be different for each business, it’s safe to say that we are all feeling the hit, owners and employees alike. Let’s take a look at some things we all can do to help our own businesses and others stay afloat during this crisis.
Be Informed with the Facts
In a time when the facts can be horribly twisted, it’s imperative that we rely on credible sources for information. Whether you take your news directly from government websites and the World Health Organization (WHO), MeriTalk, finance and health journals, or other sources, check daily for updates and make the appropriate changes in your personal life and business dealings. Personal and public safety is of the utmost importance right now.
As governments are recommending and even mandating, in some cases, that workforces be sent home, it leaves owners wondering how their businesses will operate. Fortunately, remote working is not a novel idea. Many businesses all over the world have used this business model long before the pandemic we are experiencing now.
Remote working is an option for some businesses that have the tools in place and fit the criteria. However, some smaller businesses may not be equipped. If your business doesn’t have the IT support or infrastructure to support working remotely, consider using cloud-based project tools or apps to help you navigate this transition. There are some good videos online that help demonstrate the basics. This experience could also help you to realize that flexible working is a possibility in the future when the pandemic lifts.
Video chatting is something you most likely do with loved ones, and, yet, here we are relying on it for our day-to-day business activity. If you have never used it, I recommend researching the benefits of video conferencing to get up to speed. Again, using these tools could be a positive new era in your business operations.
Optimize Virtual Business and E-Commerce
Though it may not be the ideal time to build a new website, do consider how well the one you have is functioning. Because shoppers may not be able to rely on brick and mortar stores for supplies and needs, they will be using e-commerce even more. The additional load on your site and server could become a problem if things aren’t working well.
Check with your hosting provider or web designer/developer for a basic rundown of your site’s capabilities. Be advised that not taking care of any glitches now could result in lost sales or positive experiences for your customers.
Expand Online Offerings
Make sure you are offering what you can online as this crisis continues. It’s necessary to diversify and adapt in times like these to ensure business survival. Again, consult with your design team to bring your website to life and offer the public what it needs efficiently.
Turn to Social Media for Support
We have all come to know the power of social media when it comes to spreading the word…any word. Small businesses can share vital information about how the pandemic is affecting them. Reach out to your communities and ask for help if things are getting worse. We can all support each other and end up stronger.
Reach out to other small businesses to see if there is anything you can do together to make things easier or more productive. Consider doing co-ops or online sales events together. Be creative and work some SM magic. It may also help to start link threads that promote small businesses, including yours. In my experience, these can really stir up business and followers quickly.
As we all navigate this crisis, I wish health and peace to everyone. I hope that all small business owners will find ways to stay open and continue to serve the public. Above all else, be safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.