How to keep your business running during the coronavirus crisis?
Let’s begin with this simple question bothering many right now – keeping your business running during a crisis or not to!
Simple? This probably is the hardest question you had to answer in a while. The stakes are high on both ends.
So, should you really?
If you do, can you keep up with the challenging situation? The provision of raw material is growing difficult. The costs are adding up beyond reach for a small business. And you don’t know if compromising the safety of all the employees (and yourself of course) is worth it!
Because the end consumers are stuck at homes! Many of them might not be willing to purchase now that the economic situation is unstable and unpredictable. Many of your loyal clients might already have lost their jobs.
But, if you don’t keep the business running, you lose your future market too. Probably the business shut now is shut forever. After all, there are many competitors with the ability to take the risk right now. They are taking the lead. They’d easily bag all your current and future market with unique solutions and value-added services.
That didn’t help. Right? The way is clear as mud!
But hey! Hear us out first. Our two cents might help you stop scratching your head.
Your country’s economy supported you when your financial situation was ailing. It’s high time you support that – now fainting and crumbling – economy!
As Neil Patel says, we heal as a country – this should be the plan!
And the challenges? Well, running a business is as easy as ABC – said no one ever!
It’s time you put your entrepreneurial skills at work and find solutions that suit you, the consumer, and the economy!
Having a plan in place already, pat yourself on the back for us. If not, we have one to keep your small business afloat.
- Should you keep running your business during the coronavirus crisis?
- Practical steps to keep your business running during coronavirus pandemic – your coronavirus emergency plan
- 1 – Analyse the situation for the possible best and worst-case scenarios
- 2 – Add more value to your actual product or service plan
- 3 – Contact your vendors or suppliers and research back up options
- 4 – Plan the mode of working according to the situation
- 5 – Devise a strategy for staying in contact with the current customers and reaching out to more potentials
- 6 – Identify and tackle other challenges on paper first
- 7 – Estimate all the costs
- 8 – Ensure your cash flow for the time being as well as for the near future
- 9 – launch the operations as per the plan
- 10 – Modify, adapt, keep moving!
1 – Analyse the situation for the possible best and worst-case scenarios
We just showed you a small picture – the prospects of running or not running your business during the coronavirus crisis.
But the small picture is usually not a complete one. Besides, for each type of business, the picture must be different as they have different requirements.
Understand the differences in your situation from other businesses and your past-production (or services).
Analyze all the possible outcomes of keeping the operations running, slowing them down, or shutting them. What is your bare minimum? Would you be able to bear the operational costs if the product/service doesn’t sell at all? What if the crisis negatively impacts or boosts your break-even?
How would the customers react to the increasing costs? Would you have as many customers during the situation as your productions? What impact would the end of the crisis have on customer behavior towards your products/services – positive or negative? Would you still stay in business then? Better? Prosperous? Booming?
Make a list of the pros and cons of keeping the business running in the current crisis. See if the advantages surpass the disadvantages or vice versa.
This would help you better analyze if continuing your business is a good idea in the current crisis or not.
If the odds are in favor of you keeping the business running, thumbs up. Proceed to the next step.
2 – Add more value to your actual product or service plan
Now that you have decided to take the crisis as an opportunity and proceed with business anyway, what next?
Make your product more appealing to the target audience. Why else do you think they would want to purchase from you, especially in the presence of other competitive options?
But how can you make the product more appealing to them?
Add more value to your product (or service). Some of the options could be:
- Offer an excellent, competitive quality for the price.
- Step Up on the features for the same price
- Offer a money-back guarantee; no questions asked if they are not satisfied.
- Connect with customers more (better yet, on a more personal level) if the product/service allows for that.
- Offer free delivery.
- Provide online services if you were previously only a brick-and-mortar store.
- Start a gift-card option.
- Offer a flash sale.
- Give a special first-time user discount.
- Start a loyalty program.
- Drop the price.
- Provide valuable content in your niche for free that is relevant and useful for your target audience.
3 – Contact your vendors or suppliers and research back up options
Now that you have finalized the additional features of the original product, time to get back to the suppliers.
Yes, they have been providing you with the essentials ever since you are in business, but the times have changed now.
Especially in coronavirus outburst, running businesses is growing difficult because many people prefer to stay home-bound. Others have lost access to the raw material they would provide you because of the halted transportation, airline operations, and the lockdowns. There are many other hindrances, such as increased cost of supplies, decreased profit margins; the list goes on and on.
In such a scenario, you need to come to a mutual agreement with your suppliers before getting back again. Keep the quality, quantity, delivery, and pricing in mind.
If they prefer not to get back to work for now (or that is not a viable option for them right now), you have time to find other options.
4 – Plan the mode of working according to the situation
The inventories will be available in time. But do you want them delivered at the same warehouse? Wouldn’t the lock down or some other hindrances prevent the delivery to your clients? What is the way out?
Also, since you want your production team to keep working, would they be allowed to commute to the area? Would it be safe for them? What other options are exercisable?
Is “working from home” an option for any of your teams?
Probably some of the sections, if not all, could operate from home using additional online resources.
For the ones who have to come to work, what safety measures are already in place?
What else could be done to keep the work safe for them in compliance with the rules and regulations?
5 – Devise a strategy for staying in contact with the current customers and reaching out to more potentials
Pre-COVID-19 ( or any crisis for that matter), you had a good customer base. But, weren’t the things different back then? People had more money to pay. There was more certainty, more stability. During a crisis, however, financial instability is a growing threat.
So, even if they decide to pay you, you need to give them STRONG reasons to get them back to you for another round of purchase. Attracting new prospects would be the devil of a job. Be prepared to grasp at straws.
However, to make it a tiny little bit easier, bring the innovation that people can’t resist.
Work on retaining and improving quality and value.
- Work on your communication.
- Step up your game and go digital if you haven’t already.
- Automate your marketing.
- Keep the telephone lines functional and make your representatives available. Let your customers know the exact calling hours you can manage to take direct calls in.
- Make email communication swift and address the problems fast.
- Make real-time chat representatives on the website available if your service requires that.
Create a workable plan to reach out to new customers. Find out where they hang out the most. In the situation when people are stuck at home, they spend more time on the internet. Find out the platform where they are spending most of their quality time. Once you know, go active on those platforms and grab every opportunity to engage them. Use paid advertisements to boost your targeted reach.
Make any, rather, every possible adjustment to make your services or products worth a try for new customers and retaining the old ones. Keep the situation at hand in mind and take the steps accordingly.
6 – Identify and tackle other challenges on paper first
To make an effective strategy to make your business running successfully during the time of crisis, you need to pay attention to details. Keeping the scenario in mind, make a list of all the possible challenges you might face.
Consider your competition and the problems they might pose to you. Think of all the uncontrollable variables that might turn the situation for you? How would you tackle that situation? Come up with all the possible problems in all the different cases you can think of, keeping the nature of the crisis in mind.
Put everything from the problems to their solution on paper. So, when you face the situation, you already have an action plan ready to be implemented.
7 – Estimate all the costs
Now that you have the whole situation in mind and on the paper, take the next important step.
Make the necessary calculations.
What would be the final production cost per unit if your supplier B has to deliver the raw material instead of supplier A? What additional charge does the addition of value incur upon you? Would the shift of your employee’s mode of working incur any other costs? What about the cost of additional safety measures at work?
How much of that would you shift to your customers? What would be the final cost a customer would have to pay now? How would that affect your final profit? Would an old customer be willing to bear this additional price with the added features?
Would a new prospect be willing to try you out at this price, if your competitors offer a lower price? If the pricing seems justified, go to the next step. If not, make adjustments in your plan to reflect them in your pricing.
You already had taken the necessary estimates, so final calculations should not be a problem. However, whatever your plan is, make sure it should be able to help you run your business in the crisis, not rundown it.
8 – Ensure your cash flow for the time being as well as for the near future
Your cash requirements might also have changed, now keeping the scenario in view. But if you want to keep your business running during the crisis, be prepared to spare more.
Say you were prepared for any future crisis and have a good stock in the bank for any situation, good job. The next step awaits you. But if you weren’t quite futuristic previously, or were extra-optimistic about the future, now is the time you come up with an actionable plan to generate instant cash.
Consider the option of a loan. It could vary from the investment a private agency or individual offers to the one that the government provides. Governments usually come up with great loan plans with low to no interest rates for small businesses in the time of crisis. This, however, is the discussion for another post.
9 – launch the operations as per the plan
Your plan completed? Check!
Budget estimated? Check!
Cash available? Check!
What are you still waiting for?
You have to take the lead over your competitors, and this could be your breakthrough point! If you think that the plan is stellar, there are no loopholes, and it is just appropriate in the given situation, LAUNCH!
Go, conquer your market, and bag all the rewards.
You have our blessings!
As long as your product/service is in demand and you are confident about the accuracy of your homework, the time of crisis is usually the best time to keep your business running or launch a new one.
10 – Modify, adapt, keep moving!
You have invested a good deal of time, energy, finances, and whatnot, in planning and launching the business.
What was that for?
To keep running the business smoothly and successfully, even during the crisis, if that wasn’t obvious already!
However, sometimes, some things do not go as planned. Even the most accurate of the calculations often go wrong or do not match the scenario. The results somewhat resemble those of going impromptu.
If you face such a situation, what is the next best thing to do? Would you let everything go as it is right now? Or would you secretly wish to have the power of changing the situation in your favor?
We’ll go with a third option: Making well-informed but swift decisions if something doesn’t work. Analyze the situation, figure out the deviations, and look for the possibilities to get back on track.
If the cost has gone beyond your calculations, figure out ways to cut it down without compromising the quality. What if your estimated number of sales seems unrealistic now, re-evaluate your marketing efforts to reach more of the right audience. If a raw material is just not available, check out other possibilities such as a close enough alternative, importing content from another area, etc.
Make adjustments, and you’d be well on your way to the anticipated success.
Soon as you begin your business, you should have a crisis management plan in place. But if you did not think on those lines earlier, don’t delay anymore.
Researching “how to run your business even during a crisis” done!
Check out how these businesses have made adjustments to make a great deal even out of a crisis. And get started with a plan to keep your own business running during the coronavirus (or any other) crisis.
The situation calls for a positive ending note, so here you go.
Deciding to run your business during COVID 19 is no child play. You have taken a big decision, and we can’t appreciate you enough for that. You are on your way from being a liability to the support of the state.
As a token of appreciation, you’d find us with you every step of the way. Get started and consult our experts if you feel stuck anywhere in the process.
We are in this together. We’ll come out of this together, stronger!
Happy running your business during the coronavirus crisis 🙂