Small business owners are facing the hardest times in decades with the COVID-19 Pandemic. People are scared, staying home and suspending most spending, putting companies that operate on thin margins at the best of times in a really bad place. When business owners have to choose between keeping employees or spending money on advertising, ads get dropped, marketing takes a backseat, and business gets even worse. Rather than spiral down this tube, maybe it's time to rethink your business model, evolve, make adjustments, or just do things a different way.
So, beyond the obvious things like streamline operations, trim the fat, make things more efficient, what is a business owner to do to keep the money flowing? It depends on your current business model, and adapting it to minimize contact between you, your staff and your customer.
If you have a retail location and count on foot traffic, it's time to go online. Restaurants can use Door Dash, Grub Hub and other delivery services, or choose to deliver themselves to their local community. Online Food ordering systems are not expensive to get setup, but are time-consuming. So now is the time to get going. Other types of retail stores can move merchandise outside, expand online sales through e-commerce, put some time into their websites and SEO to get more traffic, even do a little guerilla marketing and blanket the local area with printed flyers (check your local ordinances beforehand).
As states open back up, people will need to feel safe coming into your establishment. Wear face masks and encourage your visitors to do the same. Put signs outside that show you're taking steps to keep your patrons safe, and add this information to your Google Business Listing, website, Facebook page, etc. Use your online presence to post specials, put people at ease and increase sales.
Service industries may have an easier time with the situation, as we don't deal with people coming to us. On-site service industries can take the same steps to put customers at ease, wear masks and gloves on site, carry sanitizer and use it on pens and other things clients must touch to make them feel safe. Put time into your website, Google Listings, Facebook or other online system to let people know you're open and ready for their business.
In a nutshell, this is not the time to cut your advertising, cancel your website or close up shop. Expand your advertising, get that SBA loan for working capital and change your business for the better. In the long run, this lean machine you're creating now will make even more money when things get back to normal - and they will.