EOHCB’s Small Business Support and Advice During Covid-19
Small businesses around the world are struggling to survive following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Whilst there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of the virus and the economy, there are steps you can take to adapt your business to the current reality with the interest of security in the future especially now in the anticipated third wave.
The key steps involve reducing unnecessary expenses and discovering new ways to increase your revenue while keeping your employees, customers, and community safe.
1. Stay Informed
New information about the virus and government regulations is being announced regularly. Keep track of the latest information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). These organisations provide recommendations on how to keep your community safe, including information about the virus, how it spreads, and what precautions you should take for your business. In addition, pay attention to local, state, and federal mandates that may impact you, such as orders to close non-essential businesses.
2. Adapt Your Business
Understanding the current reality, consider how you can adapt your business to continue to serve your customers, such as offering different goods or services. Look to and connect with other business owners in your field for inspiration. Depending on your business, some ideas to explore include:
• offering your consultation services virtually when possible, using email, phone, and video conferencing
• selling goods directly to consumers through an online marketplace
• exploring new discounts, sales, and vouchers to draw in new customers, and
• offering new goods or services that people are in need of right now, such as hand sanitizer or face masks.
3. Explore Your Financial Resources
There may be several sources of money available to you to keep your business afloat. Some places to look include:
• business interruption insurance
• business line of credit
• loans and grants from governmental programs
• loans and grants from private organisations, and
• past due amounts from existing customers.
4. Employment Changes
Many businesses are reducing their human capital resources, whether it means retrenching employees, cutting hours or days (short-time), or putting employees on temporary layoffs. Take a look at your staff to determine what employees are essential, what redundancies exist, and how you can restructure the workplace for current and future demand. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before making any changes. When the economy bounces back and your customers return, you will want to have trained staff available to keep your business going. Letting go of key staff now, may create additional delays and stress in bringing your company back to normal.
5. Review All Expenses
Take a look at all of your expenses, and see what you can cut, if only temporarily. If you have standing orders for any inventory or salon supplies, halt future purchases if possible. Take a look at all services you pay for on a regular basis, from cleaning to advertising, and see where you can cut costs. For utilities and insurance, check if your service providers are offering any fee reductions due to the outbreak.
6. Create and maintain a Safe Working Environment
No matter what capacity your business continues to operate, create a safe environment for your employees and your customers. Some policies to implement may include:
• allowing employees to work from home whenever possible (front-desk/receptionist/admin staff)
• reducing the number of staff working at one time
• reducing walk-in clients and operate one client per person at a time on a booking system
• Ensure risk assessments are conducted regularly and that symptom screening and monitoring is done daily with contact tracing. A COVID-19 policy must be in place.
• maintaining a supply of cleaning products, gloves, and face masks (PPE), and
• training and educating employees on hygiene and sanitation practices and the Personal Care Sector-Specific Protocols. This information should also be shared with customers and suppliers.
7. Stay in Communication with Your Customers and Community
As your business changes, whether you have to close doors, change your hours, or are offering different goods or services, stay in contact with your customers. If you do not yet have social media pages for your business, now is a great time to create those pages to share updates. Let your customers know what steps you are taking to stop the spread of the virus, including new sanitation policies and changes in products or services.
This information is brought to you by EOHCB – Supporting the employers, and adding value to your business.