Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, you have probably heard about the novel coronavirus pandemic that has forced countries to go on total lockdowns all across the globe. With the government requiring people to practice social distancing and self-quarantine procedures as well as various establishments closed, it’s easy to see how businesses, both big and small, and regardless where you are located in the world, can suffer huge losses.
Bigger companies should have emergency procedures in place to allow them to survive during these trying times, so we’re going to focus on helping small business owners instead. In this article, we are going to share with you valuable tips on how you can keep your business afloat for as long as the pandemic’s a threat. Let’s get started.
Apply for a business grant.
Speaking of financial assistance, there are different government-sponsored programs specifically dedicated to helping small business owners financially. We recommend you to apply for all the programs that you are eligible for. You see, due to the number of applicants per program and the current skeletal workforce processing the applications, getting approved for one can take quite a while. By submitting multiple applications as early as possible will not only increase your chances of getting approved for one but will also help make the process faster.
Apply for a loan.
The first thing that you can do in order to make ends meet is to take out a loan. The best thing about applying for a loan right now is that most financial institutions are currently offering more flexible payment terms. Small business owners who are currently employed can also consider tapping into employee benefits such as financial assistance and cash advance opportunities provided by companies like OpenCashAdvance.
Your company and financial institutions are also not the only loan options available. You can also consider your personal network as a source of finances. Borrowing money from a friend or family member is also something that we recommend. Depending on the person who’s going to loan money to you, you can even be spared from high-interest rates and enjoy flexible payment arrangements.
Build your brand.
While you’re waiting for your loan and grant applications to get approved, we recommend turning this downtime to active time by using it as an opportunity to build your brand. In doing so, you are not only increasing your potential sales during this crisis, but it will also help your business grow further after the pandemic. There are two ways to do so:
Strengthen consumer loyalty.
One of the biggest challenges that small businesses can suffer from is having their current inventory go to waste during the recession. This is especially true for those who sell goods marked with a limited shelf-life.
One efficient way of getting rid of that inventory is using them to build consumer loyalty instead. You can offer them to your recurring clients at a discounted price or as a reward for referring their friends.
In fact, you can also offer your products (and services) on a free-trial basis in order to improve your reach and get even more leads. Spending your dormant inventory this way is much better than letting them all go to waste in your storage unit somewhere.
Improve online presence.
More people stuck at home means more people are active online. This makes it the perfect opportunity to launch your digital marketing campaigns. Those who own physical storefronts can also take this chance to promote their business online. It’s finally time to get around creating a social media page or website for your business with the extra time you have in your hands.
Prioritize business expenses.
Once your applications do get approved, you can now analyze your cash flow. It doesn’t hurt to underestimate your projected income due to the crisis, and it’s wise to reprioritize your expenses to make sure that the essentials are the first to get covered, even with your limited funds.
For instance, transportation might be one of your most prioritized expenses pre-pandemic, but those funds can now be relegated and put into employee assistance or utility payments instead.
What about my emergency fund?
You might be wondering, though, why we haven’t discussed utilizing your emergency funds yet. That’s because we don’t recommend tapping into your savings unless it’s an absolute emergency (like a medical one). You see, there’s no saying how long this pandemic is going to be so using your safety net so early in the game is not going to be wise.
In the end, we suggest that you should explore all the other options first, like the ones we have recommended above before you make use of your safety nets. There are certainly other options that you can explore but the ones we have shared with you are pretty solid tips to help you get started. Good luck and stay healthy!