To stay prepared for any disaster whether in our workplaces or businesses, we often draw out disaster-management strategies and go the extra mile to have a team ready should it happen; unfortunately - as in the current case - sometimes a very unfamiliar crisis may occur and we have to restrategize.
The Covid-19 pandemic struck and everyone was caught off guard because not only was it sudden, but most parts of the world had little to no experience in handling a pandemic: an infectious disease which spreads easily from person to person in many parts of the world.
At first, it was majorly a health issue, until there were travel bans, curfews and lockdowns; this has directly affected even the world’s biggest economies and trickled down to the small businesses; nobody has been spared.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused financial havoc globally and left several business owners struggling. By March 30, 92% of small business owners shared that they had suffered a great loss due to the pandemic as reported by the National Federation of Independent Business. Some have been forced to close shop and many employees have lost their jobs or taken pay cuts. This uncertainty and fear of the ‘unknown’ has caused a lot of panic.
Even though nobody knows when this pandemic will end and it may be early to estimate its depth to our businesses, it’s always good to be prepared and start looking into the steps to recovery. Here’s how you could get started:
1. Evaluate the financial damage
First is to look into exactly how much loss you’ve incurred since the beginning of the pandemic. It would help if you have a system which helps you keep track of your stock and record your finances like the RetailPay PoS. You would also need to take into consideration other ways in which your business may have been affected like if you had to let go of some employees or if the number of customers has reduced.
2. Draw out a new business plan
Judging by history, after every pandemic things take a turn around and nothing ever goes back to being exactly the same. Therefore, you may need to do some research by analyzing new trends, opportunities and change in consumer behaviour. Discovering gaps which you can fill and carrying out a SWOT analysis may help you kick things back into place.
3. Prioritize your spending
Your recovery process may take a while and you shouldn’t feel the pressure to do everything at once. Tackle the important things first, like restocking your shop and then handle other things like spending on advertising later. You may also want to prioritise salaries of employees who you may recall.
4. Improve your digital footprint
A big lesson the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is that consumer habits can take a turn really fast. In the last few months, the majority of shoppers have been using shopping apps and delivery services. It is time to implement this in your business in order to remain relevant. You can set up an online shop and further plan to provide delivery services.
You should also have a good presence on Social Media platforms both for awareness creation and selling. Ensure your customers know about your pages and communicate with them consistently. Also, collaborate with influencers and other brands online in order to capture different audiences.
5. Refine your crisis-management plan
It is very important to have this plan in place so that you are not caught off-guard the next time. If you already had one in place, you may need to give it a second look and add a few things from your own experience to insulate your business from shocks in future. A plan B and C have never been more important!
We all have a lot to learn from this situation and there is more work ahead in terms of rebuilding the ecosystem, getting back our customers on board and building new relationships. It is also a great opportunity for small businesses to grow rapidly and young innovative brands to earn their seat at the table.