The COVID-19 pandemic has hit businesses in most sectors with unimaginable difficulties.
5 Tips to Keep Your Business Afloat During COVID-19
Everything from supply chain collapses to customer losses has turned businesses inside out. How can you keep your business going in times like these? These five tips will give you some insight into what you can examine in your business to help stay the course until the crisis has abated.
1. Analyze Your Ongoing Burn-Rate in Both Normal Scenarios and ‘Bare-Bones’ Scenarios
Before you start doing anything else, you have to figure out your business’s finances. You should have enough financial information about your company within reach to determine your burn rate, the amount of money you put into overhead costs for a given month.
Once you have figured out how much money you are going through in a normal month, a time not affected by COVID, you can start looking at how you can cut back on costs to lower that amount.
If you’re a bar that is not selling as much beer, then it’s time to cut back on the amount you order. Find places where you can scrimp and save, even if it means adjusting for slightly lower outright sales or availability to your customers.
You should come up with a bare bone burn rate projection and institute that immediately until the business starts to pick up again.
2. Think about Adapting to Current Market Trends in a Complementary Way
What segment of the market are you not capturing that you could be bringing to your business? Imagine you operate a dating service that is open to lesbian, bi, and gay people.
That model is doing well, but with more trans people coming out and being willing to date now than ever before, it would be very wise of you to include trans dating outcomes as part of your site’s offerings.
If you try your hardest to get included on the list of the best tg dating services, then you can add more users to your site and gain additional recognition. That way, trans people can come to the site, feel welcomed and safe, and find romantic partners.
It’s not even that difficult to add these outcomes to your service for the most part. If you operate for LGB people, your site already has security, outreach, and marketing.
The bottom line is that you need to adapt to market trends that are in your vertical without being tangential to your business operations.
3. Look at Your Competition—What Are They Doing, and What Can You Learn?
Businesses that have competition should look to them for cues about how to react in a disaster. This is especially true in the case of newer businesses that have older, more experienced competitors to look at.
The benefit of having competition is that you can allow them to set the tone and then follow suit without losing face value toward your customers. For example, if your competitor is closing their store at 9 p.m. instead of staying open until midnight, then you should do the same.
Those slow hours will cut back on the amount of money you spend, and you won’t look like the weakest link by doing it. Don’t be afraid to follow the trends that others start during times when you have to survive.
4. Think about the Mid-Term—Is Something Changing in the Way Your Customers Are Thinking?
Once you have battened down the hatches, it’s easy to lose track of your customers’ mindset. Things always change when people go through a major shift in their lives.
Recessions, like the one caused by COVID, make customers re-evaluate their plans and means of living, and at that moment, it’s often beneficial to think about how you can fit into their new lives.
The questions you need to ask are, how can you serve customers now, and will customers still need you when this is all over?
If you see a trend emerging in the mid-term, then it’s time to position yourself to recapture the market and start appealing to customers. For example, a lot of restaurants shifted toward offering deliveries and curbside pickup.
Grocery stores offered services to have one’s shopping done for them by a worker. Those are both examples of radical changes that led to positive outcomes. Think about what you can do for your business to redefine the market.
5. Consider the Value of Your Time—Is There Something You Can Be Doing, Related or Otherwise, That Is a More Valuable Use of Your Time?
Time is something that you can never get back. You might have fewer customers in the building and less workforce available as a result of COVID, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get meaningful work completed.
Would you be better off minding the counter or working on improvements for the future of your business?
In most cases, you can find a better way to spend your time that will improve processes and streamline actions, and you can carry over those elements for the future.
This crisis will abate, and you will be prepared.
Finding ways to keep your business during COVID is not going to be easy. Sacrifices will need to be made, and you may need to redefine the way your business operates.
The actions you take to support your business through these difficult times can serve you in the future, though. Now is the time to start preparing for a brighter future.