According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, almost 50% of small businesses will fail within their first five years of operation. This is due largely to a lack of capital and an overwhelming amount of debt. And with the world in the midst of a pandemic crisis, succeeding with your small business can feel like more of a pipe dream than ever.
Fortunately, there are steps small business owners can take to survive and thrive in spite of the current crisis and in a post-pandemic nation. Here’s what you need to do.
Tap Into Short-Term Relief Resources
Governments around the world are supporting initiatives to keep small business owners afloat. In addition, there are new developments in these support initiatives almost daily. One of the first things you can do is make sure you have all of the most up-to-date information on any government assistance programs you want to apply for. In many cases, you’ll need to apply through your bank or primary lender. Fortunately, this can be helpful in wading through all of the paperwork you’ll need to fill out to complete your application. In addition, make sure you have all of your markets covered. If your business is registered in more than one market, make sure you’re exploring options for financial relief in every market you’re registered in.
If you’ve already applied for government-funded relief and you’re still facing financial uncertainty, now is the time to negotiate with your lenders. This could come in the form of deferred payments, extended credit lines, or halting interest accrual on your loans. For example, if you’re leasing a shipping container for a pop-up shop, which during a normal period of time is a booming $50 billion industry, you may want to ask for a deferred rent payment until you can get your shop operating again. Regardless of the kind of business you run, make sure you’re utilizing all of the financial relief resources available to you.
The internet is an amazing connectivity tool for small business owners. If you’re not on social media, take some time now to get your accounts set up and running. Not only does this give you an opportunity to strategize your marketing, but it also helps you stay connected with customers who might be used to seeing you on a regular basis. and considering that almost 1.7 billion people shop online every year, this could be an opportunity to keep cash flowing in a very uncertain time. If you’re not running a retail business, getting online may take the form of formulating a digital marketing plan for the future. This could include building backlinks, focusing in on your SEO, or getting your PPC plans in order for a post-pandemic nation. Regardless of your market, the internet could be the tool you need to survive through this crisis.
Keep Communicating With Customers
One of the most important things you can do for your business during this crisis is to stay connected with your customers. Whether this is through social media accounts or your regular (now virtual) meetings with them, keeping open lines of communication can help customers build trust with your business and provide a little bit of normalcy. In addition, make sure you’re being honest with your customers about how the current situation is affecting your business and their deliverables. It’s possible that you’ve had to reduce your staff and their orders might be delayed. The better you are about being honest with your customers and connecting with them, the more likely you are to retain them through this crisis.
As a small business owner, you’re probably experiencing your fair share of anxiety right now. With these action items at the ready, you’ll be ready to weather this storm and come out of it successfully.