No one saw this coming. No one predicts that by the end of the first quarter of 2020, something is going to happen and change the way of life of every single person in this entire world. Everything becomes uncertain. We have no idea when it’s going to end and how it’s going to end. We are trying to look for certain answers for that, but it seems impossible.
Everyone is forced to stay at home to flatten the curve and suppress the spread rate. And since no one is going out, many businesses lose their revenue source, no matter how big they are, unless they are in the health industry and online communication platforms industry to support those who are working from home.
Sales numbers are hitting the bottom of the ground in just 2 weeks time and it’s still happening now. Some said that it’s gonna be better in June. But the truth is, this pandemic not only comes and goes without leaving anything behind. It’s gonna change our way of life and there will be a new normal. We’ll also need time to adapt to that new normal. Some people predict that we’ll be back to our normal life by early next year. Frightening isn’t it?
Especially if you’re having a business. Your life depends on it and your employees’ life also depends on it. You need to think hard about how to survive during this time and do all the calculation and planning so that you can still exist when this is all over. Here we give you 5 things that you need to consider to save your business during this pandemic.
Though revenue doesn’t come as per normal, all the expenses still need to be paid like usual. First thing you need to do is to calculate how much money you really need to survive at least until the end of this year. You need to list all fixed and variable costs, decide which one is in the priority list, which one is more important and which one is actually an unnecessary cost that can be cut. From there, you’ll be able to look back to your cash flow and see whether it is enough or not. If not, then bad news, you’ll have to let go of some of your employees for good. It’s hard but you need to do it to save the business and everyone else who’s still in it.
In every contract or MOU, there will be a clause of a force majeure. Since this is considered as a pandemic, might as well it can be called a force majeure. If you are still paying for rent, try to propose a remission for the cost. If you have a loan from the bank, also try to propose a remission for the rate or time for the remaining loan. If you still have an outstanding payment to your business partner, try to propose for some more time to pay the debt. Government of some countries even made a new policy to lower down the tax rate for some businesses in a few industries that got affected hardly due to this pandemic.
If you’re having a lay off, there will be a chance for the trust and loyalty level of your employees towards your business is decreasing too. That’s why it’s very important for business owners to show leadership and convince them that you do it because you really need to save everyone else and they’re the chosen and trusted one to ride along with you. Try to be transparent and honest about what happens, always keep your calm and tone right. Be open if anyone asks you any question about anything related to the business. Encourage them to adapt to the situation and be productive at the same time to keep the business going. Always and always tell them that you’re 100% with them.
Don’t make a plan that is too far especially in this uncertain time. Always update them biweekly of the business current status and what you’re working on. There will be changes here and there but they’ll understand as long as the reason is clear.
Basically, feeling safe is one of the most important needs of every human. You need to make sure that your employees know that they are protected. If they are not feeling well, ask them to report to you so your people and culture team can reach out to them and help them with what they need. It seems simple but it does matter. Create a special meeting session to talk about the health or insurance coverage that the company provides for them so they’ll feel rest assured that even if they get sick, there’s nothing to worry about. At the end of the day, what makes your business going well is your employees. So make sure you get their back first.
Keep reminding them about basic things that they need to do as safety protocol regarding the virus. Send them a proper guideline once a week or biweekly as a reminder. Set your expectation for the new normal where everyone is working remotely. Some people might need some time to adjust with this new habit. Invest more on communication platforms and technologies to support them working from home and still get a seamless communication.
Now you get your key people and team that could be stronger than ever, encourage them to be more creative and be more adaptable. If your business is still running pretty good during this time, ask your team to reflect and write down the things that need to be adjusted.
For example if you’re having a physical store and permission to open as usual, try to provide stuff that supports the employees hygiene. You can also limit the maximum number of people who can be in the store at the same time. If your business is running in an industry that is not eligible to open physically, switch everything to online to make your customers easy to purchase your products or services. Train your sales assistant to be a great customer service. Be more responsive towards all inquiries from the customers through chats and calls. Make the most of your social media presence and newsletter to update your customers from time to time.
If you are almost sure that your business model won’t survive this pandemic, you better prepare yourself with an alternate business model that will survive during this time and of course even better after this pandemic over. Push your employee to be more creative. The more creative people you have on board, the more ideas you get. Create a brainstorming session weekly until you decide on 1 idea that you want to pursue because you believe it can be a good way to be an additional financial source of revenue.
This is also the right time to focus on your existing customers. Provide them with a great service to increase their loyalty and build relationships. Try to create a survey form and leverage on their response as a basic research of what they need the most with this current situation and will still be needed after this pass.
This is also the best momentum to invest some more time to evaluate your business and strategic plan, improve your products and services, analyze the data and also find efficiencies. Make an adjustment if you need to. You might also want to look back and find your to-do-list that you’ve been meaning to do for so long but you got no time because you are more focused and busy with what’s on your plate.
List down all learnings that you get from this unpredictable surprise for anything in the future that might ruin your business flow. Prepare a savings account for your business in case this kind of thing happens again.
The most important thing is you don’t need to regret things that you wish you could do. Focus on the present and be prepared for the future. Believe that everything happens for a reason. Also, spread kindness. In this hard time, everyone needs it. It’s never too late or too small to be kind. Offer help to anyone you think needs it. It will make you feel better too.