The pandemic caused by Corona virus or COVID-19 has brought the whole world to a standstill. Responding towards this unprecedented health and public crisis, the first action taken by many countries was to bring the affected areas and in countries like India, the whole country, to a complete nationwide lockdown. The result, as the world witnessed, shops and business establishment were closed, all forms of transportation and conveyance were stopped and the consumers were holed up inside their homes and thus the business community was hit by the worst slump. Amongst all these the major impact and most brutal was effect felt by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). As we are updating ourselves about the current situation, we are also receiving news that the wheels of economy has started turning, although full throttle will take a much longer time. So we should also gear up to face the post lockdown challenges to reclaim our space which we have curved for ourselves in the business world.
1. Plan ahead and plan well
Planning well will help you cushion the financial shock brought in by Covid-19 which is the most pressing issue once the business restarts. To tackle this in the most effective way, compartmentalize the issues into short term and long term goals. For e.g Financing the immediate payments to operational creditors and realising the receivables will help in updating your stocks and also bringing in the much needed cash flow respectively and so may be compartmentalized in the short term goals. Increasing of client base, reorganizing your work space, employees may be kept in the long term goals.
2. Stay updated, stay well informed
The Government agencies all across the world are rolling out packages to help small businesses tackle the economic emergency by giving funds to help them stay in business. Be it the provisions under CARES Act and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) of the US, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) introduced by UK Govt. and Top up COVID -19 Loan introduced by Govt. of India are to name a few which are helping out the SMEs in arranging funds so that their business may keep functioning. Announcing tax rebates, waiver of certain charges and rent etc. are also some of the relief measures. Keep yourself informed and updated through print and social media so that you don’t lose out on the opportunities as provided.
3. Go online, go digital
After the initial rise in the footfall when people were stocking up on supplies, the shops and business establishments all across the globe have observed notable drop in the foot traffic. To overcome this, shifting the business online is the need of the hour to sustain revenue. And believe me, sooner the better. Opening a You tube channel for your Gym, Yoga centre, shifting your boutique or bakery and restaurant to online platform are to name a few.
4. Maintain safety measures
Social distancing, curfews and government and state mandated directives are here to stay, so believe me when I say, it’s time to adjust your sails. Maintain health and hygiene and ask your employees to make it a lifestyle and not a duty. Introduce health measures in your workplace like thermal sensors, sanitisers, wearing of masks, physical distancing etc. And “Be loud” about such introductions too. E.g. ask your customers visiting your restaurant to go through the thermal sensor tests, adequately spacing the sitting arrangements , providing paper bags near the seats so that they can keep their masks, gloves, etc. are to name a few. This will not only help in maintaining the safety measures but also in building up the confidence level in the customers.
5. Fight your fear
Things are drastically changing during the recent months because of COVID-19 and the world is being thrown into uncertainties. Don’t feel overwhelmed in this chaos and brace yourself to face the change. Adapt yourself to the changing scenarios and more importantly boost the morale of your employees and stay united. Be creative than ever before to retain the customers, take assistance of the virtual platform and even your local media for promotion and advertisement, effective social media marketing, enhanced cold calling, etc. Don’t forget it is an empire you have built, albeit small or big, and what better way to prove yourself to the world when you bring out successfully your business from this crisis and trust yourself you can. As it is said difficult times more often brings out the best in people. So till this difficult time passes away, and pass away it will, stay healthy, stay safe and stay POSITIVE.