The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the entire world on a pause. People are limited to their homes, numerous establishments are forced to close, and several industries—such as airlines and tourism—have slowed down. Even large businesses like Ayala and SM have struggled to adjust to the sudden market changes, so it is no surprise that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are finding themselves in a tight spot. This is especially the case for start-ups and small companies that function from paycheck to paycheck.
While the market looks uncertain and the future seems bleak, it is vital to not lose hope. Look for silver linings and reach out for creative opportunities to not only continue your business but also transform it, such as using online banking or looking for a reliable SAP business partner. To help you get started, here are some tips that can help you address key problems in your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research on Small Business Resources
One of the most important steps that you should take is to seek guidance and help. Currently, there are assistance programs, reference articles, and informative workshops that can give you tips, direction, and financial assistance on where to go next. Your first challenge lies in looking for these resources.
You can go online and check economic forums and government websites. You can also reach out to business associates and peers who are more informed and experienced than you in the field. However, one of the best things that you can do is go to trade associations, unions, and of course, the bank. These institutions will know best how to overcome current pandemic challenges and suggest ways for your company to achieve that.
Reduce Cash Outflows
Avoid using company money for anything aside from the necessities. For example, you can cut down on travel expenses when you consider pandemic restrictions. Take a good look at your finances and start allocating funds to areas that need it most. This includes payroll, healthcare, and hazard pay. Mental health is a particularly crucial issue right now as people struggle with the stress of current events and restricted home environments.
If money is crucially tight, make sure to talk with your suppliers, employees, and landlord regarding key contracts. Negotiate prices, salaries, and deadlines, if needed, but never forget to reassure them that the company is doing all it can to adjust to current market conditions. Overall, make sure to allocate your limited funds wisely, rethink expenditures, and reset priorities.
Embrace and Share New Technology
Advancements in technology like social media, cloud-based servers, and video-calling apps are some of your best tools in surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. You can replace traditional marketing methods like flyers with online ads on social media to reach new potential customers. With cloud-based servers, you can access business data like digital ledgers, orders, and other crucial documents to help your business keep going. And video-calling apps are your friend in setting up meetings, workshops, and other conferences.
You may have been wary of e-wallets and online banking before, but now, they offer your customers and your business an added pathway for payment and revenue. Hence, encourage clients, suppliers, and other business associates to use online banking. Teach your employees how to use selected apps and websites. And explore other digital tools that you can use to expand your business. It can feel like a big change, but it is a necessary step toward the future.
Train Your Employees in Other Tasks
Business growth is not possible without your employees. With the world on pause, take this as an opportunity to train your team for future roles. Teach them about the different aspects of running a business, including accounting, marketing, services, and product development. In this manner, you can re-assign tasks when needed.
Take this step further by encouraging input, feedback, and suggestions from your team. Make them invested in the company and tap into their talents and gifts by providing a nurturing environment. By doing so, they become more efficient and effective at their jobs and contribute greatly to the growth of the company.
Reconsider Your Business Model
With lockdown restrictions in place, it is time for you to rethink your current business model. Look at your company both externally and internally. Externally, check what the market needs and adapt to these changes. If you have a retail business, for example, online shops and different delivery options are necessary, so you can look into building a website or setting up an account in a shopping account like Shopee or Lazada.
Internally, several businesses are reconsidering their current business model. They are implementing new systems, streamlining business operations, and rethinking their current work setup. Remote working is one excellent example of this. Before lockdown, several business owners feel apprehensive but realize afterward that it can also work for their company.
Overall, the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents are harsh but not insurmountable. Take advantage of the available tools and resources that you can access, whether it is a new technology or a new business model. Look at the current pandemic as an opportunity to change and upgrade rather than a complete liability. With the right mindset, creative thinking, and hard work, your company will be able to give its best on taking on the challenge and transform into a more efficient and better company.