The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global economy and left many small businesses struggling to survive. It may be some time before we get back to anywhere near to the pre-coronavirus levels of business activity. Even so, now is the time for small businesses to begin working on their coronavirus exit plans. Here are some tips to help you plan for getting your small business back on track after coronavirus.
- Take Stock of the Damage
Step one to rebuilding your small business after COIVID-19 is to assess the damage that the pandemic has caused to your company. If you have not been keeping your accounts up to date, you will need to get the numbers up to date now. You will need to assess your current financial situation before you can begin to draw up new plans for your business. As well as looking in despair at your dwindling bank balance, though, look at what assets you own, and what inventory you have as well. Consider how you will put those assets to use when the economy picks up again.
- Rewrite Your Business Plans and Financial Forecasts
There is nothing to be gained by dwelling on how your business plans and forecasts have not worked out. So, discard the old ideas and start making new plans. Sales of most types of products are likely to take time to recover. So, small companies will need to refocus their resources to maximize profits from the lower turnover. For many businesses, the potential of a post-coronavirus recession will mean a need to cut costs and operate a leaner, more streamlined business for the foreseeable future.
- Look for New Ways to Sell Your Products
People’s behavior will have been changed by the COVID-19 experience. Even after restrictions have been lifted, consumers may not be keen on visiting busy stores, for example. Businesspeople are also likely to avoid trade shows and conferences. Companies that have relied on lots of person-to-person contacts will need to look for alternative ways of doing business. Restaurants may have to rely more on takeout sales, and stores that have not already done so will have to adapt to an online shopping business model.
- Reach Out to Employees Now
If you have laid off or furloughed employees, you will need to inform them about your plans to rebuild your company. Workers will be encouraged by the fact that you are planning to restart the business and that you may able to re-employ them soon. It will also be cheaper and easier to re-employee people than it would be to start over again with new workers. So, you need to keep your old team onside if you can.
- Make Sure That It Will Be Safe for Employees to Return to Work
If you want to encourage people to return to work, you are going to have to make sure that their workplace is a safe place to be. Look at how you can help your employees maintain social distancing in the workplace and consider what personal protective equipment you may have to provide. Coronavirus safety is likely to be a concern for employees for some time to come. So, you will need to factor the cost of coronavirus protection into your future business plans.
- Keep Customers Informed
Do not forget that, even though people’s buying habits may have changed, your old customers are looking forward to a relaxing of the COVID-19 restrictions just as much as you are. Although consumer confidence may take some time to recover, there is still likely to be a bounce-back in consumer spending soon. So, make sure that your customers know that you are still trading and tell them about your post-coronavirus plans. Many people will be pleased to support small, local businesses that are making a comeback.
- Assess Your Need for Finance
When you have re-aligned your forecasts to take account of the impact of coronavirus, you may need to refinance your business. When you are preparing your financial projections, be realistic about the prospects of your company. It would also be prudent to factor in the possibility of a resurgence of the virus. If you will need finance to fund the relaunch of your business, look at existing credit lines that you may have, and investigate what financial assistance you may be able to apply for from government bodies.
- Start Planning for the Next Crisis
The world was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, so it should be no surprise that businesses were ill-prepared for the crisis as well. Even so, the events of the past few months have been a stark reminder that we cannot take anything for granted. There could be another pandemic sometime in the future, and there could further peaks of COVID-19 on the way. Prudent small business owners will take heed of what has happened this time and make contingency plans to guard against the effects of the next crisis.
Small businesses do not have the financial reserves and the borrowing power that large corporations have. Even so, small businesses are more agile and more able to adapt than big companies. So, by planning now for a post coronavirus comeback, a small business will be better placed to take advantage of the new trading conditions that will follow the COVID-19 pandemic. As mentioned above, though, business owners must first quantify the financial impact of the epidemic and refinance where necessary. Then, small companies can begin to make plans for a cautious, and possibly slow, resumption of business.
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