How can small businesses stay strong?
What is happening?
Small businesses are undoubtedly taking the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Larger organizations may have the capacity to take a loss and keep going, but not all small businesses are able to do that. The fixed expenses they have to incur may overwhelm them if their revenues are significantly reduced. Small business survival is a genuine concern right now. And that’s important not only for the small business owners but also for the millions of people employed by them who may very well lose their jobs if the businesses are unable to pay their dues.
Fortunately, there’re a few ways for these businesses to financially protect themselves and their employees.
It may not be possible for people to enjoy your services now, and that might lead to your revenues falling. However, you could sell gift cards and gift certificates online. Your customers could redeem them after the pandemic ends and we all come out of self-isolation.
To make it easier for small businesses to go about doing this, small business lender, Kabbage has created a platform to allow customers to purchase gift certificates from small businesses online. They partnered up with other fintech companies including Fundera, Lendio, and Finix to make this a reality.
Small businesses employ a large amount of the world's population. Because of that, governments are concerned about small business survival. Governments around the world are offering grants, packages, and tax holidays to help small businesses survive the storm they’re dealing with.
The Danish government had said that it would cover 75% of the wages private companies have to pay their employees on the condition that the companies don’t cut jobs.
Sweden’s and Canada’s governments have offered to subsidize some employees’ wages.
The Australian government is making efforts to help companies with annual turnovers under AUD 50 million with amounts equivalent to half the taxes that they pay on the salaries of their employees.
Find out what assistance you can get from your government. It could be beneficial to you and your employees.
You can’t force your employees to travel to work, it’s not safe. It would be a good idea to experiment with automation for processes that cannot be carried out remotely. It’s possible to keep your business running without compromising the safety of your employees. Small businesses can support their customers online by deploying chatbots. Instant Web’s Live Chat enabled chatbots could handle routine questions, orders, and queries in an automated manner. As a result, humans only have to handle the complicated queries.
Speak to your bank
Everyone knows about the crisis, and they also know that small businesses have it bad. Have a word with your bank representatives, they might be able to help you out.
A number of banks are taking initiatives to reduce the impact that the quarantines and lockdowns have on small businesses. Citi announced fee waivers on monthly service fees and remote deposit capture, waived penalties for early CD withdrawal for their retail bank small business customers. They even made bankers available after hours and on weekends to support these customers.
Have a word with your bank, see what they can do for you.
Focus on what you have ignored
Every small business has a few things that they’ve not gotten around to doing yet. Things they've kept on the back burner. The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban says that this could be a good time to deal with these things. Business is slow, you have time on your hands. It’s up to you to put that time to good use.
Mark Cuban has another suggestion to help small businesses deal with the lockdowns - Experiment. The ‘Shark Tank’ regular says “If you can find other services to offer, do it.”
His advice is, “Since you have holes in your schedule, it’s a great time to experiment with new lines of business and see what sticks.”
There’s a good chance that the lockdowns may change businesses' perceptions of remote working. It might be interesting to see how you could come up with a new line of business that supports that.
"If you can find other services to offer, do it." - Mark Cuban
It’s still possible to keep your business going. Explore the options you have. Honestly, it would be a good idea to reach out to your loyal patrons and ask for their support. There have been quite a few instances of community members supporting their local businesses during this tough time. Communities do seem invested in small business survival.
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