All over the world, small business owners have found their livelihoods and working practices disrupted by the global Covid-19 pandemic. With whole countries on lockdown and many people required to stay in their homes, it’s not surprising that many businesses have found their custom flagging. However, even with social distancing measures in place, there are some methods your small business can use to survive in the new, post-Covid-19 marketplace. Read on to discover our list of hidden gems and buried treasure tips on how to maintain your small business in the time of Covid-19.
1. Impose Social Distancing Measures in Your Business
Some form of social distancing is a necessity in all walks of life now that Covid-19 outbreaks are a real and persistent threat. Covid-19 is extremely contagious and primarily spreads through respiratory droplets. Therefore, it’s vital that people do not come into close contact with each other in workplaces or elsewhere. Protect your employees and your customers by listening closely CDC and WHO guidelines and immediately taking any social distancing measures recommended on official government sites. If your small business involves interacting with customers, make sure that staff can occupy workstations at least two meters apart. If possible, provide staff with protective visors and insist that any staff member who is ill (or lives with anyone showing symptoms) stays at home for the recommended isolation period. Limit the numbers of people you allow in-store at one time and ask that any customers stay two meters apart. You can even put clearly visible markers on the floor to guide people in this.
2. Enforce Hygiene and Sanitation Procedures
Frequent hand washing is a central part of preventing Covid-19 infections. If you’re the owner of a small business that is required to stay open during the pandemic, draw up a small business guide to hygiene for your staff to follow. Ensure that staff wash their hands often and have ready access to soap and antibacterial spray for their work spaces. Providing hand sanitizer at the door of your business will also encourage customers to sterilize their hands before entering, lowering the risk of infection for staff. You should also set aside time to deep clean work areas regularly and stock up on surface cleansers or sterilizing products to keep your small business safe throughout the pandemic.
3. Choose Remote Working
Closing your offices to prevent the spread of Covid-19 doesn’t necessarily mean your small business has to shut down completely. Instead, many businesses are turning to remote work to prevent illness among their staff. Video conferencing apps and online office packages from well-known business providers can give your small business tools to survive the current crisis. The change to working from home can bring up challenges for both employers and staff, however, so be sure to communicate openly and honestly with your team so they know what they need to do. Host regularly check-ins with employees and draw up detailed plans for what you want them to achieve and when. Remember, they may be facing personal difficulties of their own during this time – listen to their concerns and be understanding and flexible where possible.
4. Seek Financial Aid
It’s no secret that the global economy – and especially small business owners – are seeing a downturn in their profits during the Covid-19 pandemic. In response to this, many government bodies are allocating financial supports to small businesses to help them through this difficult period. Organizations such as the Small Business Association or the US Chamber of Commerce provide information on small business loans that may be available to you. If you’re struggling to meet loan payments or to continue to pay employees while your company is closed, contact your local government authorities for financial advice. You can also enquire about freezing some outgoings, like mortgage repayments or business rates. Remember to update your employees on what you find out as this is a financially worrying time for them as well.
5. Revisit Your Small Business Insurance Provider
Draw up a small business report on your current financial situation, and any losses you’ve incurred, and speak with your insurance company. You may find that you are insured for certain financial costs caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. Services like business disruption insurance can provide cover for periods when your small business is forced to closed for reasons outside your control, such as the pandemic. If you have the money to remain operational and wait out the crisis, why not refresh you small business marketing plan and advertise some new, Covid-19 options. Switch to take away if you’re a catering service or consider online ordering and delivery for other retail products. The disruption to trading and working hours could give you an opportunity to examine your business strategy and see if there are any ways you can improve. No matter how you and your business have been affected by Covid-19, we hope that this guide will help keep you hopeful and motivated for the future.
Are you a small business owner who has been affected by Covid-19? How have things changed for you and what measures have you put in place in your business to meet government guidelines? Have you been affected by money worries or concerns from staff? Share your experiences in the comments!
Thomas Quarry is a self-employed business writer, graduated data scientist, and successful small business owner. He specializes in helping small businesses find funding and in developing effective financial plans for new startup companies.