As the economy begins to heal after the effects of the pandemic, businesses will have to adapt to a new way of being. Small businesses are at the heart of the economy, and it’s important for them to know how to move forward in the face of a crisis. Here are some things that will help:
Speak with employees about the transition back into the workforce, how they will be kept on the payroll, and have open communication about the future of the company, this will help employees feel more comfortable navigating this time as well.
Talk with suppliers is also a positive step to take as it will result in transparency about the current situation, and what both parties’ wants and needs are.
Create a plan: With employees working from home and a reduction in customer demand, making a 3-5 month financial plan around ways to save money through cutting unnecessary costs to help your business survive during this pandemic will help create a stable vision moving forward.
Plan out your financials:
Small businesses are encouraged to speak with their accountant about cash flow, reserves, and to check current insurance policies to see if there is anything that could potentially be covered for lost income.
Utilize your resources: Utilize what access you have to government and financial institutions funds to be able to support your business during these times. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was extended to the end of August 2020 for Canadian companies to be incentivized to keep employees on their payroll.
Seek out opportunities: As sales begin to slow during this time, it’s important to let customers know how much they mean to you and how you’re willing to shift during these times to ensure they are receiving value from your business. Reach out to customers to get insight into what value you’re bringing them and what you can start to offer online. You may be able to find new ways of connecting with your customers that will provide great value to them.
Upskill your staff: Provide opportunities for training your existing staff so they can improve on various skills that could contribute towards making them better, more productive, and efficient. There are many online courses that are affordable and are ready for employees to enroll in them and that can be done from home.
Plan for a decrease in productivity: Layoffs have been prominent amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Even If you’ve managed to keep your employees intact, you may need to account for a lessened level of productivity than what you may have had at the start of the year. It’s likely that some of your employees are forced to miss time from work due to illness or because they are caring for a sick family member. Try being lenient about granting time off and leave to place a priority on employee wellness over strict business performance while we are in a time of crisis. When you have a smaller workforce, it remains vital to keep customers informed about delays and if possible, to provide a timeline of when things might come back to normal.
All in all, these are challenging times for small businesses, but times that they will get through. With the right actions now, it’ll be possible to get through these times even stronger than before. Acting now is the key.