Small businesses have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey, 51.4% of respondents have been negatively affected by COVID, and they expect it to take at least six months for their businesses to recover. Many businesses will never recover. But with the right strategy and financial plan, your business has a better chance of weathering the storm. Here are four coping tips for COVID struck businesses.
1. Look at Your Relief Options
Relief options and programs are available to small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID pandemic. The CARES Act provides $376 billion in relief for small businesses in America and American workers.
Some of the relief options available through this legislation include:
• SBA Express Bridge Loan: Businesses that already have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender may receive up to $25,000.
• Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): Designed for businesses and non-profits experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds can be used to cover operating expenses and working capital.
• Paycheck Protection Program: Gives small businesses incentive to keep their employees on the payroll by forgiving SBA loans if you meet their employee retention criteria.
It’s important to remember that while these relief options are out there and should be considered, they won’t provide you with immediate relief. Many other small businesses are vying for the same loans and only so much funding is available. In other words, don’t put all of your eggs in one of these baskets. Taking a multi-prong approach can help get you the relief you need now and in the future.
2. Consider Small Business Funding
Durig this difficult time, it’s important to make sure that your business has working capital and enough funds to cover its operating expenses. Government loan and relief programs are just one source of funding.
Loans and other forms of financing can help you secure the capital you need to keep your business up and running:
• Merchant cash advances
• Business credit cards
• Line of credit
• Accounts receivable financing
• Equipment financing
Many lenders are offering COVID-related loans and financing options to help businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
3. Focus on Communication for Remote Working
Although it’s a big one, finances are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to keeping your business up and running. It’s also important to make sure that employees and management are working together to keep internal operations running as smoothly as possible.
If some or all of your employees are now working remotely, you may be facing productivity and collaboration challenges. Implementing guidelines and rules for communication can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and staying productive.
Have some way for everyone to check in with each other on a daily basis through:
• Virtual meetings
• Text messages
• Phone calls
Find a communication method, or combination of methods, that works for your team. Checking in regularly helps everyone stay on track, but it also helps ensure that all team members get the support they need.
Businesses that have the ability to go fully remote can still run into financial challenges if they cannot maintain productivity and meet deadlines due to poor communication and collaboration issues. Establishing clear communication rules and guidelines can help you avoid these issues.
4. Find Ways to Adapt
The COVID pandemic has changed the face of business as we know it. Businesses deemed non-essential are facing many significant challenges and will continue to face challenges in the months (possibly years) ahead.
Finding ways to adapt can help keep your business afloat.
• Is there a way to offer your services remotely?
• Can some or all of your staff work remotely?
• Are there other products or services that you can offer?
• If you haven’t already, can you offer online ordering, delivery and/or curbside pick-up?
Now is a good time to rethink your strategy and business model if you cannot keep your operations running as normal. You may just find an untapped market and need that can help your business thrive during this challenging time.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted virtually every business to some degree. While the future is uncertain, taking steps to secure working capital and adapt to changes can help keep your business afloat until things return to normal.
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