Being a small business owner is an exciting and fruitful venture, but it can also be terrifying. Uncertainties can put your life savings on the line. As they say, putting up a small business isn’t for the weak and the faint of heart. You must have tenacity, patience, and persistence. It is for the fighter and for those who have a stubborn will.
However, situations that can put everything you have worked so hard for at risk can happen anytime. It is not easy to overcome these challenges while trying to keep your business afloat.
From putting changes in place to applying for a business loan, here are some ways to keep your business afloat and resilient despite pandemics and recessions.
Assess your current situation
There is no other way around the current pandemic. It affects big and small businesses alike, and it looks like it won’t be leaving anytime soon. The only thing that small companies can do to survive is to adapt to the situation.
Assess how your business is doing these past months. Does your current business model still work? How much has the disruption affected your cash flow? Have the needs of your customers changed? Have your sales dropped significantly? Is your current operation method working? The answers to these questions can help you know how to keep your business thriving.
Adapt to the situation
Sometimes, changes are needed for your business to stay relevant. Your assessment should tell you what changes you need to adapt to the current situation. Here are some areas where you might need to make certain adjustments.
- Work Setup – Your workforce is the most critical asset of your business. It is your duty as their employer to ensure their safety and well-being. If your employees used to work at the office, it’s time to evaluate your current setup. A remote workforce can help ensure business continuity despite lockdowns and safety protocols. A skeletal workforce can be in place to continue operations that need face-to-face interactions.
- E-commerce – Several businesses are closing their physical stores, even big business names like Microsoft. The move towards e-commerce has become a necessity for most companies, both big and small. E-commerce has grown by 54% compared to last year. By having an efficient online platform, you have a channel that allows you to reach your customers 24/7, wherever they might be. Even if you have to close your physical stores for a while due to local restrictions, you can still deliver reliable and undisrupted services.
- Safety Measures – If your business cannot operate solely online and must still maintain a physical store, make sure that it adheres to safety protocols required by your community and health organizations. Have handwashing stations or hand sanitizing dispensers in your establishment to encourage both customers and employees to wash their hands frequently. Change your floor set up to allow for safe physical distancing for your employees and customers. Sanitize your establishment regularly to kill viruses and germs on surfaces and to avoid contamination.
Review your inventory
Supply chains have been disrupted because of local and national restrictions on travel. Delays with cargos are inevitable. Check if there is something that you can do with your supplies. Maybe you can choose a local supplier so that your operations are not affected by travel bans and restrictions. If you need to source it abroad, make sure that you put some lead time in case of delays in shipments.
You can also diversify your network of suppliers to ensure that your supply chain is not disrupted. Look for alternate suppliers that you can partner with to ensure that you stay resilient despite any challenges to your supply chain.
If you are in the online retail business, you can look at drop shipping options to save on warehouse expenses. This can cut down your operational costs since the item is shipped directly to the buyer.
If you have noticed a shift in the needs of your target customers, you can always update your inventory of products to meet their needs.
Make sure you have access to cash
As a business owner, you must ensure that you have access to cash that you need, especially during a crisis. Visit or call your trusted loan officer and apply for a business loan. You can use this extra cash for possible cash-flow problems that you might experience. Having a good relationship with a trusted lender will give you easier access to emergency loans that you might need during the pandemic. You must have access to capital to make sure that your business can make it through and survive.
You cannot wholly make your business crisis-proof. However, there are steps that you can take to make it stronger and more stable to survive difficult times and even make gains from it.