Since so many small businesses are going to be dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 for some time, we wanted to get some insight from our incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs. They have generously shared their best tips for small businesses in these unprecedented circumstances. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Handy Tip for SMB Owners!
You’ll probably need a quick influx of cash as soon as possible. So, before the relief funds arrive, you'd be wise to:
- Consult your accountant to find out if you can be expecting a refund for 2019. If so, file your taxes as soon as possible to get this much-needed boost.
- Otherwise, buy yourself some much needed time by taking advantage of the tax deadline extension. You have bigger fish to fry right now and can deal with the payments once you've bounced back financially.
2. Move Online & Give Bonus Value
I quickly moved my music school online and did my best to keep the schedule, content and quality as consistent and strong as always, even providing fun bonus content and keeping everything upbeat. Both child and adult students appreciate keeping their routine intact and also having some semblance of normalcy, fun and distraction in these extraordinary times. Any way you can, move online and provide extra value; it is really appreciated, now more than ever.
3. Take This Time to Restructure
Take this time to look at your business model. Does it have the ability to grow, develop and/or survive in a changing or uncertain environment? If yes, look at the weaknesses you have and strengthen them; if no, take this time to restructure, re-calibrate and rethink your future business life, plan and direction. Also, check in with your local area Chamber of Commerce and SBA offices for updated information on grants, loans and support resources.
4. No Marketing Isolation
If your operating budget still supports marketing right now, be sure to stay in front of current & prospective clients/customers with marketing campaigns. People may need your product or service today or when their own business picks up again. Be top of mind with helpful social media posts and blog articles, offer free tips or consultations, or maintain your ad buy. Be a reliable resource today and encourage your clients to do the same. And, update your branding if it's been on your to-do list.
5. Sharpen the Tools
What tool do you use every minute of every day to shape the world around you?
If you said your brain - ding, ding, ding!
So, what are you doing with all this uncanny time that has now become available?
Well, the response I heard from one of my mentors was - "take a class"
There are so many classes and training sessions available on demand. My goal is to learn something new or enhance a skill I have every day.
6. Focus On Cash Flow, Not Profit
Focus on cash flow, not profits, during uncertain times. Determine your "burn rate". This is your net cash outflow each week or month. Divide your cash balance by your burn rate to estimate how long your cash will last. Better yet, run a cash projection to closely monitor your cash.
If your cash may run out in 3-6 months, find sources of cash. If you have strong cash balances, identify what investments to make so you can reap profits during the eventual recovery.
7. Don't Let This Make You Crazy!
My shop is in a small town filled with restaurants & bars. They are all shuttered save for takeout. The streets usually crowded with town walkers are quiet as can be. I could be crying or whining or going crazy. But, I'm not. Instead, I am getting paperwork done. I am writing content for the future. I am staying relevant.
Outside of my own work, I am buying gift certificates & takeout from my favorite places. Small gestures mean so much to my business, so I know it means just as much to those.
Thanks to: Roberta Perry.
8. Think How You Can Help
Think how your business can adapt and help the current Coronavirus crisis. Is there something needed that you can provide?
For instance, a Gin distillery recently started making hand sanitizer from their facilities.
Not only is this good publicity, but you may be able to earn money from a new helpful product or service. That makes it a win-win.
9. Training & Feedback
The best way to keep a remote worker productive is to have proper training program that offers employees guidance on how to do their work from a remote location. To this end, we have been trying to make sure that we push out resources and other educational content to our employees. Receiving feedback from remote workers is also essential in order to resolve problems. A company must have systems in place to receive and respond to a remote employee's experience.
10. We Need to Breathe
Everyone take a breath, okay, now take another!
We will get through this, but it is going to take communication, leadership and creativity. Our role as leaders right now is to listen. To really hear and understand our people, our clients and our suppliers. To realize everyone is unsure and in a position they have never been in before. Being human with each other, cutting everyone some slack and working together is how we will get through this. Wishing everyone health.
11. Build Your Relationships
Strengthen your existing business connections and build new ones. They are a source of info, resources, ideas and encouragement. Now is absolutely the time to reach out and help others however you can so that you can get help in return. Share ideas widely, reach out to new people, reconnect, be generous with encouragement and ask others in your network to do the same. You'll survive better now and you'll be a much stronger business and person when we come out of it.
12. Don't Be a Hero
We live in a hotbed of uncertainty filled with very high levels of anxiety. Every small business should have an emergency business plan in place. Now is the time to implement that plan. Look for ways to market your products and services to people in the comfort of their homes, from the comfort of your home. Take your message to social media. Sell on Marketplace or Etsy and other similar sites. Offer community support using your business as a hub. Ex. open it to truck drivers and provide snacks.
13. Re-evaluate Everything
In situations like these, it makes sense to look at everything. Reassess your debt positions to see if you can improve financing options. It is an opportunity to re-evaluate cash outflows and prioritize importance. Improve efficiencies and work flow to come out the other side of this challenge nimble, flexible and ready to hit the ground running.
14. Keep It Safe
The one suggestion I have is keep all your staff safe online, keep them connected securely as they work from home, with a secured network, With folks working on generic unsecured linksys routers and wi-fi, the first item is to change the security password on the device, then add a VPN and a good strong security tool such as Symantec or McAfee.
The safer you make them, the safer your staff and customers will be with all the attacks that have increased by a 3x in the last month.
Christopher Carter of Approyo
15. The World is Moving to Virtual
Instead of thinking about all that's wrong right now, turn it around and think about what you can teach those around you. If you own a restaurant, how about a cooking tip? If you cut hair, how about how a tutorial on selecting the right haircut to highlight your features? The world is moving virtual, what can you do to add to your online presence? Start that Instagram. Create a blog post. Record a video. What can you do to contribute to a new virtual world?
16. Let's Meet Online!
I have had more Zoom and Skype calls in the past 15 days than the prior 6 months! Pivoting to online meetings, webinars, etc. is a smart and productive way companies can continue to have conversations that educate and inform, build relationships and move forward during this crisis period. So, first and foremost, I am trying to help small businesses to be flexible and open minded, so we can keep working together during the crisis.
17. Adversity Creates Opportunity
Now is the time to find where you can fulfill needs. Avoid the panic that most leaders face as they scramble to deal with the current business environment. Instead, assess where you can make the most of it. Now is a great time to do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and then review your PEST (Political, Economic, Social, and Technology) to find where your strengths align with the external opportunities. Let the stress created by this pandemic drive your innovation.
18. Pivot, Embrace New Ops
Let's face it, marketing in the world of uncertainty is a challenge, so you can either let yourself be paralyzed or you can look at your business, examine the landscape and pivot to embrace new opportunities. Is there a line of business that you've been wanting to explore? Do it... now is the time to try since the opportunity cost is low if your existing line of business has eroded. Don't waste this opportunity. Try something new, but don't completely give up on your existing line of business.
19. First, Start With This Math
When everything in your business changes so dramatically and so quickly, the best way to adjust your marketing and advertising planning is with some very easy-to-use advertising math I developed called "The Barrows Popularity Factor".
You can use the math to help you test and analyze and adjust your marketing and advertising in good times and in bad. You can see more about the math at www.barrows.com/bpfinfo.html.
20. Refine Your Business Strategy
It is challenging to focus on refining your long term business strategy in a time of uncertainty. However, don't miss out on this opportunity to pause - step back and look at the big picture. Think about patterns of the past and what core things will maintain true in the future. For instance, while the cruise industry is in peril right now - people will still want to cruise in the future. While there might be new keywords to attract people, examine the type of traffic from existing ones, etc.
21. Follow the Lead
America's largest companies have PR people who know what to say in times of crisis. By now, you've probably received many "notes to our valued customers". Try to capture the tone, the nature of the assurances, and perhaps even some of the verbiage. Then, send out emails to all your own customers, expressing hope and offering a lagniappe for the day when it truly is "business as usual".
Thanks to: Marlene Caroselli.
22. Be Proactive!
My #1 piece of advice is to be proactive. Talk to your employees, talk to your vendors, talk to your customers, and most important, talk to your family. What's most unique about today's battle with COVID-19 is that its impact is agnostic to industry, geography, company size, etc... Everyone is being impacted and the best thing to do as a business owner is to talk about it. The problems you're facing are going to be the same problems that everyone is facing. TALK ABOUT IT!
23. Act On Facts, Not Fear
In this unprecedented time, it is far too easy to give into panic and make moves on the fly, which don't support the long-term goals or health of your business. My best advice is to take a deep breath, review all of your finances and talk to your banker and accountant to get a handle on where you really are right now. Then, breathe again and make projections and plans based on financial facts and how you think your business is going be impacted based on the information you have available to you.
24. Do, Don't Delay
Fear can be paralyzing. It can stop business leadership from being decisive. It can impede or critically delay taking the steps necessary to stay relevant and afloat during a crisis. Each business is very different (even in the same industries) so the "right" choice is not absolute. However, doing something is better than doing nothing. Pick a direction, move forward-and if necessary, pivot/experiment again. Just keep learning-and keep doing better.
25. Close Your Eyes...
Close your eyes and picture a world where your customers rarely leave their home. What does your company look like now?
26. Evolve for Your Customers
We run an online fitness business, but our clients work out in gyms. COVID-19 changed that. We are quickly finding ways to adapt to the changing needs of our customers. This means new training programs, new nutrition programs, and new levels of customer support. At the same time, our overall marketing strategy, from social media to email to SEO, is changing. We are in a competitive field and to stay relevant, we have to adapt quickly. You should, too.
27. Managing Cash Flow
Call your banker & accountant for advice:
What is the greatest pain point?
What opp. might I be overlooking?
How strong is my cash position?
Where can they connect you to business growth or funding, i.e. investors, accelerators, SBA - disaster relief, low interest loans?
Look at where you can cut non-essential expenses.
Reduce production volumes if applicable to enable cashflow.
Ask creditors for payment extensions.
Can you afford marketing online or elsewhere?
28. Feed Winners Starve Losers
Thriving through adversity requires business leaders to focus their time, money, and energy ONLY on the actions that get them the most traction towards their goals. Using the 80/20 rule: focus on the parts of your business that are the most profitable (high margin) and have the capacity to make you the most money, while working with the ideal clients who take the least of your time (low drama) and love you. Starve your losers and feed your winners, and let “Follow the money” be your mantra.
29. Anticipate Income Volatility
This is a time of uncertainty for many businesses, which includes revenue streams and income flow. Income volatility is something small businesses might have experienced in the past, but now it is more apparent than ever. Plan for the unexpected, which means analyzing your ROI on every single aspect of your business and cutting back on extraneous costs.
Lamine Zarrad of Joust
Connectivity is a team's lifeblood. Business and team meetings are not enough. Today's Safer at Home times are no exception. As virtual happy hours and social events conducted via Zoom and Skype grow in popularity, keeping us connected to our family and friends, leaders should consider creating fun events like this with work teams to maintain (or grow!) teams' relationship, camaraderie and connectivity. Right now, nothing will raise spirits and productivity more than sharing a laugh together.
31. Peace of Mind for Sale
Help your clients feel good about their future. There is so much going on right now. Your clients/customers are likely managing work-from-home, homeschooling, and space sharing challenges, which means the present moment may feel overwhelming.
As a small business owner, think if there's a way that your products/services can satisfy a need to plan for the future. Can you offer them an opportunity to invest in something now that offers peace of mind tomorrow? They'll pay for that.
32. What Can You Take Virtual?
Think about how to offer online what you used to offer in person. I have been doing while-you-wait resumes since 1984, and I figured out how to do them virtually.
33. We're Open (Online!)
Small businesses that are still open and available to conduct business during this time need to let the world know. With many cities (and states) living under a "stay-at-home" order, many consumers are not aware of what businesses are open and available to them online. Consider driving awareness, cost-effectively, with social advertising. Even just doing a promoted post can let those stuck at home know that your business is open and how you can help them in any way, shape, or form.
34. Think Outside the Box
Having our economy grind almost to a halt, it is easy to put our heads in the sand and hope that the winds will pass over quickly. But, that is not what smart small business owners and leaders are doing. They are choosing to be the driver of the situation, rather than the passenger. They are getting their employees together (digitally) and proactively exploring ways to better support each other and their customers. In doing so, they are willing to think outside the box.
35. Shop for Favorable Terms
SMBs can secure rock-bottom prices on critical services from vendors. Like us, our vendors are also strapped for cash and fearful about the future. Many will provide terms far more favorable to business owners and we can look to lock this value in with long-term service agreements. Check your service agreements for force majeure clauses as well, which may help mitigate any potential legal liability for cancellation and further facilitate a more equitable service arrangement with your vendor.
36. Speedwalk All Your Brand Talk
This is the time to act upon your shared values; to make bold decisions on how you can help your employees first and your customers second while asking for empathy and long-term trust from your shareholders. This is the time to show your audience that yours truly is a human brand. This is the time to speed-walk all the brand talk.
Fabian Geyrhalter of FINIEN
37. Accessibility Is King!
During this crisis, I’d focus on cloud and virtual accessibility. Thankfully, this isn't 1980, where we didn’t have access to clients, files, etc. if we had to remain at-home, so take advantage of contemporary tools. As a business, make sure all files are accessible via the cloud and that clients know that you’re "open for business". I’d recommend having multi-platforms available for customer ease of use, which will make you all that more competitive in both the short and long-term.
38. Unique Times...
They say desperate times call for desperate measures. Thankfully, we aren't quite at a point of desperation. However, this is a very unique time in which many businesses may have to get creative to survive. There will likely be instances when businesses and consumers won't have cash on hand, and it will make sense to barter with inventory they still have or services they're still capable of providing in its absence.
39. Give and Give Some More!
Now's the time to give what you can. Give it for free. Give it without expectation. The whole world needs to come together. The question is no longer, "What can I get?" The question is "What can I give?"
Museums, choirs, authors are offering their best for free digitally, on Zoom, and elsewhere... all kinds of people are giving what they have to give for free for the good of all, to uplift all. Give what you can. Allow your heart to open and your business will prosper.
40. Protect, Push, or Pivot
I love my business and I love my clients, but COVID-19 is disrupting my life and the lives of my clients. As a small business owner, I need to quickly determine whether to:
1) Protect what I've built & wait for the storm to pass.
2) Push harder, doubling-down on my current investment because my products are still what people need even if they can't focus today.
3) Pivot and use my skills in a new direction because a better opportunity exists in a new venture.
41. Stay in Front of Your Peeps!
We all have a story, a challenge, a solution or just massive value to share with our audience and doing it face-to-face isn't an option right now. If you have been holding back from creating a video or live streaming strategy, you're already late to the party. Get confident and creative, and start talking to your audience now! Pick a platform and get started with a daily or weekly show. Lift people up and offer all the help you can in this time of need... it will all come back to you!
42. Pick Up the Phone!!
I have reached out to my clients via email and also by phone to check in on them and make sure that they are safe and healthy.
I remind them that we're business as usual, since we already work remotely and that we are available to them for any and all (crisis) communications needs.
They have really appreciated getting phone calls. It is so much more personal in what has become a very impersonal world. This health crisis just exacerbates the isolation further. Zoom meetings are great, too!
43. Is Your Messaging Appropriate?
We're in the middle of a global emergency, but at the same time, small businesses still need to drive sales and keep the lights on. Whether you're marketing on social media or broadcasting a promotional email, take the time to view your message from the perspective of your customers. People are going through a lot right now. It's important to ensure the tone of your messaging is appropriate.
44. Stay Connected on Social Media
Many small businesses function almost like a family. That is why it is so important to stay connected on social media and email during the COVID-19 crisis. This works wonders for keeping team morale high. Remember, this crisis will end, so keep an eye out for remote opportunities that will help your team during this time, even if it isn't with your business. Work opportunities aside, even encouragement, or sharing amusing stories will always be appreciated.
45. COVID 19 Tax Relief
If you or your small business is in tax trouble, now is the perfect time to tackle your back tax issues. Most of the world has been economically disrupted by the Corona virus. And for those that haven't been affected, it could only be a matter of time. So, respond to those letters you've been getting for months. Even if you have a current payment plan, you may be able to renegotiate that plan. You may be surprised by the options that are now available to you that weren't there before.
46. Social Distancing:Get Personal
During a time of social distancing and an unprecedented type of economic crisis, we can be encouraged that many businesses before us have survived, and still thrive today. Yet, businesses are marketing themselves just like everyone else, and our inboxes are noisy! Although we may need to socially distance ourselves physically, we need to get close and personal in our marketing. This is a time when our clients want to feel connected. What can you do to make them feel personally connected to you?
47. Hit Them Where They Live!
Our solid base of buyers from hospitals, therapy centers, and schools are the lifeblood of our business. But, when a disaster like Covid-19 forces people out of their corporate offices to work at home, a fast and strategic marketing pivot is necessary. You've got to "Hit them where they live". So, while our competitors are marketing "status quo", we flip our social media to target the pajama-wearing, dog walking, lunch making, working on their cell phone in-between kid wrangling customers. Booya!
48. Change Things Up - QUICKLY
The marketing and communications you undertook yesterday are probably not valid and on-message today. Therefore, change it. Think creatively, examine what others are doing and find a different angle. Now is a great time to listen to those in your network and pick up hints and tips on what activities you could be undertaking. These really are unprecedented times and I don't think anyone will pretend to have all the answers, but be brave, do the research and ask the questions and you'll be OK.
49. Foster Loyalty
By empowering your team to work from home and stay motivated with regular team calls and video meetings, you will increase team morale and company loyalty.
Your colleagues will remember how you treated them during this time of crisis and the support which you provided. Employees who are treated well and feel valued, in turn, become effective brand ambassadors.
50. Maintain Vital Communication
During these unprecedented times, many businesses are closing their doors and shutting down for an unknown amount of time. However, what's more important than ever is for them to maintain communication with their clients, customers and colleagues. It is the community they've built around their business that will enable them to have a continued brand presence. So, continue posting on social media, write blogs, create videos and be ready for when the world is once again open for business.
51. Cutting Expenses and Planning
Truth is, Corona Virus is going to affect all businesses no matter how immune you think your business is.
A way to survive this season is to find a way to cut your expenses. Do a financial analysis and figure out those expenses you can cut off.
Also, your customers are also worried at this season, so to stay afloat, you need to plan ahead by engaging more with your customers through useful content.
If you can give a discount on your product, please do; it is a period to show you care.
52. Choose the Local Businesses
A great way to help small businesses at the moment is to choose them over the large companies and corporations. If this chaos only lasts for a few weeks to even a few months, the bigger businesses won't take the hits that the smaller ones will. Realistically, there's probably a lot of small businesses that will have to shut down in the coming weeks if they can't get the support they need. So, instead of buying groceries from the giant corporations, buy them from your local stores. Order take-out.
53. Play Offense
Due to the Coronavirus, most small businesses are required to close their physical place of business. The closure is a real hardship but necessary. Take this time away from the day-to-day activities to pursue the backend operations of your business aggressively.
These may include business planning, website maintenance, year-end accounting, marketing strategies, etc.
The list is endless and will make a BIG difference when you return.
54. Manage Your Systems!
You should carefully manage the systems and processes you have put in place. During times of upheaval, your people will become less reliable and you will increasingly rely on automatic processes to help you successfully manage your business. Ensuring these are in place and effective will be the difference between success and failure in turbulent economic times!
55. Pave a New Path to Success
Be guided by your business's PURPOSE, not history. Not all current services can be adapted, and that's okay. Go back to why your company was started and create a way forward that best serves your mission. Sometimes, editing takes longer than writing a new chapter!
Jessica Walters of CannaMD
56. Leverage This Free Time
Entrepreneurs often vent about how little free time we have, but you're likely experiencing more than usual during this period - my advice is to use it! Audit your existing business model and the processes you've employed. There's room for new opportunities in many sectors and inefficiencies that will have to be replaced. While it can be uncomfortable to work on internal processes when you're accustom to client work, this will allow for a competitive and efficient model once we all reemerge.
57. Hope is Contagious
The Corona Crisis has created a lot of uncertainty. Businesses aren’t sure whether to keep the lights on, temporarily shutdown, if vendors will be able to pay invoices, or if they themselves will be able to make payroll. With so much uncertainty, fear is infectious but optimism is contagious. While fear can spread, optimism and hope can bolster each other. The businesses that present optimism and hope will continue to succeed under any circumstance, as people will be willing to follow them.
58. Get Help From Your Regulars
In these tough and unprecedented times, the only thing we know about small and local businesses is that they're short on sales. If businesses want to stay open, they're gonna need all the help they can get. That help needs to come from their regulars. Not necessarily have them purchase more things than usual (of course, that would help, too) but to be their unofficial brand advocates. Ask them to recommend your business to their friends and family and to share your social media posts online.
59. Do Business Like Dancing
If you, as I do, like dancing, you know that we need to adapt to our partners. Sometimes, we need to find new partners or we are no longer a fit for the partners we used to dance (read: work) with. Now, it is time to be agile. Review your client list and how you can support them in these difficult times. What changes can you make to your products and services? How can you communicate effectively? Go back to the drawing board, but don't make it a long exercise. Get up and do take this next dance.
60. Build a Little Free Library
In order to attract more window shoppers, I built a little free library and placed it in front of our store.
I advertise it on social media and other places using just the address and general area location landmarks.
I put business cards as bookmarks in each of the books, so borrowers can schedule an appointment or share my BCs with friends.
61. Communication with Customers
Now more than ever, you need to be openly and honestly communicating with your customers. You need to inform them of the actions you're taking to keep your employees and communities safe. You need to be honest with them that if the virus has impacted your business, how and what you will do to meet their needs when it is safe and practical to do so. It's also a good time to let them know how much you value their business.
62. Reevaluate Your Target Market
I would say that it's important right now to reevaluate your target market and their behaviors. It's probably something that has drastically changed for most organizations. For my company specifically, we are seeing a huge drop in orders from 3D ultrasound facilities because they’re considered nonessential during this time. We're having to come up with new ways to market to OBs and also consumers.
63. Stop the Virus /Work from Home
At cSubs, we understand the importance of the role we play in the supply chain of our customers & the trust that our customers place in our ability to perform.
To reduce contagion, EVERY person can work successfully from home. Instead of focusing on what can’t be done from home, we focus on what can be done. The list is surprisingly long. All businesses should evaluates ALL employee work tasks & review item by item to figure out the equipment needed. Learn to conduct Zoom meetings.
Julie Auslander of cSubs
64. Focus on Your Finances
1. Assess your financial situation and reduce costs or expenses.
2. Implement a work-from-home setup with your employees, so that operations will still continue.
3. As business is slow, it's time to focus on your business plan. If you don't have a business continuity plan, this is the perfect time to create one.
65. War Room the Worst Case
Gather your key management personnel, analyze your company's health, estimate the worst case scenario and strategize moves that will need to be made to protect the company for the benefit of everyone on your team. Set markers on revenue, cashflow and net income. Determine what moves are necessary based on those markers. This will allow business owners and operators to make crucial decisions based on planning, rather than heat of the moment reaction.
Then, pray it never reaches worst case.
Scott Toal of Oeveo
66. Take Care of Your Staff
You will need your employees now more than ever. They are part of your primary resources to keep your business afloat. Put their health and well-being at the top of your priority list. Their absence is akin to a country going to war without their front-liners around, and that would be disastrous.
Impose a work-from-home policy. Do your part to contain the spread of the virus. If your business permits it, impose a work-from-home policy for your employees.
67. Do Not Give Up on Your Dreams
The Coronavirus has come in and taken over almost every aspect of our lives. And especially for small business owners, it can be hard to maneuver and think of what to do next. But, here are a few tips to consider, while trying to manage and keep growing. Don't lose your motivation to take care of yourself. While the threat may not be personal to you, it is still very real. So be wise, be clean and cautious, and don't forfeit your health or well-being.
68. Use Time for Personal Growth
It's too easy to fret and fear about our condition. I'm trying to use this time at home for personal growth; learning new skills to help promote my business now and when we are 'virus free'.
69. Keep Employees Safe & Healthy
Whether your employees are working remotely or must work in person, you should make efforts to secure their safety and health first and foremost. Not only will this help keep your business up and running, but it shows workers you care. Provide employees with quality training resources, so they have expert knowledge and feel empowered to safeguard their health. This will go a long way toward reducing anxiety in these challenging and uncertain times.
70. Review Your Marketing Spend
If you're an online business, you'll probably need to reduce your paid advertising budgets, so it is a great opportunity to start investing in organic marketing strategies such as content marketing and SEO. These are cost-effective and can help your business sustainably grow and acquire new customers with limited budgets. Think big, and plan ahead. Internally, creating a content marketing strategy six months ahead is a great way of utilizing you or your team's resources with a small budget.
71. Keep Your Financial Up-to-date
Reforecast all of your revenue for 2020. Determine which customers are going to be hit, and who they service - if their revenue and their customers' revenues will be affected, so could yours. Also, designate one person to pick up mail and scan it. You don’t want anything to fall between the cracks and need to keep your financial books up to date and your compliance risks in check.
72. Be Supportive of Your Team
There are a lot of very worried people out there including within your team. So, take the time to reassure them as much as possible both about the business and the virus. Some team members may be suffering from extreme levels of stress, so set up a WhatsApp, Slack or Skype group chat so everyone can stay in contact remotely. Try to organize a team call where you can keep them focused on work tasks, as this helps keep people's minds busy and focused on work.
73. Connect on Social Media
Get up close and personal in times of social distancing. People are staying at home and they are spending more time on social media. It's time to get more active on social media and connect with your target audience. You will have to be careful with your message or content. It can be something useful like covid19 safety tips and resources and how your business can facilitate them to stay home and stay safe.
74. Help Employees to Build Trust
My biggest tip would be to help your employees in this time of need in order to build trust and loyalty for the future. Instead of thinking about cost-cutting, think about how this is an opportunity to build a strong, loyal workforce. If you take care of your employees (pay, benefits, perks) during this pandemic, they'll be forever grateful and work even harder for you once the economy starts to turn around. It may hurt profits in the short-term, but it will be beneficial in the long run.
75. Crowdsource Content for Smiles
Communicate messaging in ways you haven’t communicated before using humor in a positive light. Create a hashtag on social media to crowdsource content that makes people laugh, creating well-earned and positive publicity for your business. This tactic shows you are real people who stick to their values and do the right thing. Sticking to your values will benefit you in the long run, earning you success as a small business through profit and returning customers.
76. Stay Connected
Stay connected. We may not be able to meet up with our customers and networks as we are accustomed to, but it is important to remain connected to our customers, our colleagues, and our fellow business owners and referral contacts. We will all need each other in coming months and maintaining that contact and connection will help us all in the end.
77. Prepare Now & Sell More Later
Small business retailers today are facing offline store closures at an unprecedented rate. All markers indicate that Amazon and Walmart will only get stronger.
In this situation, offline retailers who can quickly go online and sell through an online channel have a distinct advantage. This is particularly true for retailers selling essential goods. The process can be as simple as setting up an omnichannel order management system and only accepting orders until a cutoff period.
78. Practice Humility
Practice humility. These are worrisome, unprecedented times, and I know our people throughout the country are on the front lines trying to mitigate the impact and effects of this virus. It is important to remain humble, help one another as much as we possibly can and remain committed to helping one another when we eventually reach the other side of this pandemic and are prepared to further rebuild.
79. Connect with Employees
Find new and innovative ways to connect with employees effectively. This will lead to more effective collaboration, something that is integral to the success of a team and the company as a whole. Certain industries foster a more self-sufficient environment, but ultimately without collaboration, progress will hit a wall at a certain point. Give constant feedback, both constructive and positive. It shows you care about their career growth, and it lights a fire for them to exert as much effort.
80. Interview Around the World
Interview around the world without getting on a plane.
Let’s see how you can make an emotional connection in the digital world to get a great job anywhere in the world.
81. Businesses Must Adapt
Adapt! As a small business owner, you have to be able to roll with the punches. Downturns like this have a huge impact on us and if not managed properly, have the ability to wreck our business. This latest pandemic-driven downturn is forcing us to work from home more and to practice social distancing. See if you can adapt your business into a remote model for example and adjust accordingly after this pandemic passes. Who knows, maybe this will help open revenue streams you didn't know existed.
82. Limit Your News Consumption
Continuous consumption of COVID-19, especially on social networks, is not useful, and can be harmful. Overconsumption of traditional and social media can cause undue stress and anxiety.
So, pick two to three times per day that you check trusted and government sources, and then, close news and social sites and return to work, (safely) spending time with family, reading, exercising, or other activities. It is important for people to stay informed by obtaining their news and information.
83. Reduce Unnecessary Spending
My top tip for small businesses impacted by Coronavirus is to reduce spending as much as possible if you have to cease business operations temporarily. Identify and cut unnecessary spending including marketing spend, subscriptions, and scheduled shipments from suppliers, if applicable. If part of this step is to lay off employees, you should contact your state's rapid response team, to ensure employees are reemployed as soon as possible.
Nicolas Straut of Fundera
84. It Takes a Village!
Local businesses shouldn’t be afraid to appeal to their community. People are very sympathetic to the situation we all find ourselves in. This sympathy combined with offering solutions that address the pain our communities feel is the biggest tip right now.
Restaurants coming together to create a local initiative in Hamburg, NY, (the #hamburgcurbside initiative), is a great example of entrepreneurial and community spirit, as businesses come together to solve a problem during hard times.
85. If They Can't Come, Go to Them
Many communities are seeing a groundswell of support for small businesses. Individuals are going out of their way to order from their favorite local retailers and restaurants as a way to show support. Physical retailers should immediately start offering buy online and deliver from store services. This allows customers to support you while obeying quarantine. Partner with a local delivery company to distribute your orders, leaving goods on doorsteps. Start taking orders today!
Shaun Savage of GoShare
86. Boost Sales with AR
Online shopping is now more important than ever and Augmented Reality (AR) technology is helping small businesses deliver an efficient customer experience. Consumers are able to use their smartphones to view furniture and other products, and bring to life how they'll look in their home - leading to better buying decisions. Early adopters of AR have seen real ROI. Conversion rates are increasing anywhere from 10% to as much as 200% and product returns are dropping by 25%.
Jon Cheney of SeekXR
87. It's All About the Attitude
“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” ― Charles R. Swindoll
We have the choice to have a pity party, or we can dig deep and look for solutions to overcome our challenges. Keep reminding yourself that your outlook will have a big impact in how you lead, respond, and react. You get to make those choices.
88. Radically Revamp Your Message
Pro Tip: Make your marketing message about MORE THAN your product/service!
How? Focus on THEIR current need, i.e., child boredom, anxiety & fear.
DeGazon Music school went 100% online on Mar. 23. We found a NEW way to bring the benefits of music lessons to students. So we can:
* Be about the teacher-child CONNECTION
* Offer kids a healthy DISTRACTION, a REFUGE of NORMALCY for these crazy times
Fighting fear & anxiety with hope & fun through 1-1 private music lessons online.
89. Taking Care of Your Teams
During this trying time for many small businesses, the rules must be thrown out the window. Should a company be debating laying off staff to stay afloat, now is the time for an open and honest dialogue with the team to discuss lowering hours, so employees have safety in knowing they still have a job and you keep trusted staff. By allowing them to be part of the conversation, you show their opinions are considered and your business can build trust during a difficult time with those who matter most.
90. It's a Commitment
I own a small business in Westlake CA, C3 Intelligence. We are a Pre-Employment Background screening company. I have committed to my employees that we will NOT lay anyone off during this difficult time. We are planning to use business loans and savings to carry us through and provide for any business slowdown. I think it's very important that my staff face each day with the knowledge that their jobs are safe. We opened our doors in 2005, we survived the recession, and we will survive this.
91. Work on Your Lead-gen Machine
I'm an investment real estate agent in Ottawa, Ontario. We've been in lock down here for about 10 days now. Showings and open houses are, effectively, cancelled. Moreover, nobody's thinking about selling their property now. Consequently, the usual means of lead generation are off the table. So, I'm making use of the time to work on my web content. I'm well into a series on urban economics. The way it's shaping up, it looks like I may be able to turn it into an e-book by the time it's finished.
92. Think Outside the Box
For the next few months, things are likely to continue with as little face-to-face contact as possible. This means you will need to find a way to make your business continue in a different scenario. If you're a retailer, make sure you have an e-commerce webshop. If you're a restaurant, offer free/no-contact delivery. If you're a yoga studio, stream your classes online. The opportunities will be different for each industry, but you will have to think outside the box to make this work for you.
93. Work From Home
Due to the widespread impact of Coronavirus, many small businesses have closed down. People have gone into self-isolation. This has impacted small businesses negatively. As a way of coping at this moment, small businesses should encourage their employees to work from home in the meantime. This is to avoid total shutdown of business activities. Through phone calls, emails and video calls, business activities can still take place until the COVID-19 fear is over.
94. Maintain Complete Transparency
As a small E-commerce business, we are prioritizing communication and complete transparency with our customers. With any online business, communication with your clients is a critical aspect of providing satisfactory service. However, this aspect is further emphasized during national emergency conditions, as customers need to be informed and aware of whether their shipments will be delayed due to supply chain disruptions.
95. The Morning After
This too shall pass!
Maybe it's a 3-Week pause or possibly 8-Week, but we all know for sure that we'll see a light at the end of the tunnel soon.
What will you do that very next morning?
Start planning for it today, so while everyone else is scrambling, you're ready to move full steam ahead with whatever you put in place today.
Take today to plan and over-deliver on the business you do have.
Painful as it may be, we will see this pass and those of us who are ready will prosper.
96. What Employers Need to Know
You should contact your payroll provider and/or CPA to provide you guidance on the new law that passed last week, The Families First Response Act.
Owners that have employees can take tax credits to help their employee retention & to compensate their employees for being on sick leave. It can help cash flow immediately by offsetting it against the 941s taxes.
There are certain conditions that will apply; but in general, it is a strong stimulus that will be able to help a lot of business owners.
97. Emergency Funding Options
As small business revenue disappears, owners are likely already in need of emergency funding. There are two loans SMB owners can look into:
One: The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. They will provide small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million.
Two: There are private companies offering support, as well. The Stimulus 2020 program will provide SMBs a $1,000 loan for no fee or interest. Any US business with a verifiable business bank account is eligible.
Ellen Ford of Womply
98. Free is Not the Answer
Don’t offer your services for free. If you do, you won’t find yourself with ideal clients. You won’t help the economy. You won’t be adding the value you’re worth.
Pivot and offer smaller packages. If you normally offer a 3-month package, offer a 2 to 4-week package instead.
Focus on the current challenges your clients are facing. Help them solve those. Fast.
This will help you stand out. Break through the noise. Serve your clients.
Let's boost the economy together.
99. The Benefits of Going Online!
Now, more than ever, small businesses need to leverage technology in order to maintain client relationships and sustain their business during these turbulent times. My best recommendation for this is to create an online course for your product or service. At first, you may not think this is something that can translate directly to your business, but I'm sure that for the majority of you, it can. The key here is to provide some value, engage with your clients but not give away your whole business!
100. Other Revenue Sources are Key!
Find other sources of revenue during this time to help support your employees and not go completely under. As a doctor with a private practice, I have switched consults to telemedicine, which insurance reimburses although at a lower rate. Consulting for industry and investors can help bring in revenue, as well. Finally, you can use the time to work on aspects of your business that will not bring earnings in right away, but are an investment in future revenue such as website SEO/ PR/ marketing.
101. Steel Your Nerves - Niche Down
My advice stays the same as it has through many financial crises, that is, to niche down.
Really focus on what it is you provide your clients and target them specifically, even though it is tempting to broaden your range right now.
It doesn't work; niching down does.
So, if you are taking a few weeks off right now, take the time to create specific content for a website. Provide great information that is very specific, so that you are able to target your precise audience and retain them.
102. Take Care of Your Employees
My best advice for small business owners in these uncertain times is to do everything you can to take care of your employees. Currently, all of our employees are working from home. Cleaning supplies are being sent to each employee’s home to help them disinfect, paid for by the company. In addition, a bonus stipend in the amount of $1000 is being sent to all employees to help during this difficult time. Our employees are the lifeblood of our business, and we simply can’t operate without them.
103. Postcards for the Quarantined
Our company has changed our marketing to focus more on ecommerce sales, since our brick and mortar store had to close. While we do emails to our customers, we have sent out post cards during this time, as that has the potential to reach more people, especially with most at home. This technique has generated sales for online us since closing our doors. It is all about keeping in communication with your customers in any way you can.
104. Communicate with Customers
During these uncertain times, it’s important to effectively communicate with customers. Social media is our primary channel, but we’ve also sent out emails letting customers know we are still working and shipping out their packages along with our changes for having a cleaner working environment. We avoid saying anything that will create more panic. In addition, we use Slack to vote on approvals before customer communications go out. We're doing our best to be more transparent and upfront.
105. Refundable Leave Pay
OK, what if we follow the law and I the employer agree to pay you family leave for up to 10 weeks? You can receive a new paid family leave if you have children at home from school or daycare because of the 2020 school shutdown. The school shutdown looks like it will last for a long time, maybe as much as 10 weeks. What do you have to lose if your workplace is shutdown or unable to maintain your employment currently? The employer gets a refund from IRS for your pay.
106. Sell Don't Spam
You can market as usual. You have bills to pay after all. However, while it is perfectly okay to profit during the Coronavirus outbreak, you should not profit FROM the Coronavirus outbreak. You don't want to look like an opportunist. If you do, you'll lose credibility and the income that goes along with that trust.
Also, you should address the situation and reach out. Be a pillar of strength during this time for your community. This also boosts credibility, along with goodwill.
107. Remember Your Current Audience
My 1 tip is to spend some time thinking about how your business can connect with your current audience base in a fun way at home. For example, part of our company is in the photography niche, so we launched a photo editing contest for all of our audience to take part in. I've seen other businesses give out free online courses, digital meditation sessions, digital yoga classes, etc. I think this is a great way to not only market your company, but also to build a loyal following.
108. AI Coaching App for WFH Teams
Goal Boss AI is a Slack App using artificial intelligence to identify a person's strengths and weaknesses in five key areas: Communication, Delegation, Time Management, Teamwork, and Grit. Upon identifying these, Goal Boss AI then suggests proprietary learning content in the form of short videos, articles, personality assessments, and quizzes. Goal Boss AI tracks progress, provides tools and feedback so people can get better at doing their job.
109. COVID Tip for Small Businesses
With the global crisis, the COVID19, almost all business are now asking, “What’s next?” or resorting to Plan B. One thing to consider is:
Go online – a lot of businesses have opted to do their business aside from physical stores with an online counterpart, which is a great help, especially in a time like this that people are on strict compliance with community quarantine. Advantages are those who started their business online even before this pandemic happened.
110. Breathe and Avoid Mistakes
Mistakes and wasted energy are more costly now than ever. Thoroughly assess the future situation as opposed to the current one. The current situation is very fluid and not a solid foundation on which to make decisions. What is certain is that this will pass. The future is rarely more certain than the present, but a common occurrence in times of crisis. Plan and restructure your business for the new normal post-covid-19. Survive now, adjust for the future, and thrive when this is over.
111. Go Online
Focus on digital transformation. Coronavirus fueled the online market today and all businesses that want to stay afloat during these troubled times need to keep up with the tendency. Online sales can be performed on social media pages, as well as on the company's website or app. Of course, designing a site/app will take some time, but no one knows how long the quarantine is going to last. Plus, chances are that even when the world is back to normal, the online business will still rock.
112. Cut Expenses & Conserve Cash
This is a tough time for businesses, particularly those in the travel industry, which may take months to turn around. Cutting down on expenses/conserving cash is critical to keep your business afloat. Our tip: go through monthly expenses with a fine-toothed comb to find:
1. Expenses that aren’t critical right now that you can stop or pause-e.g. maintenance contracts
2. Things you can do yourself instead of paying someone-e.g. writing content
3. A free version instead-e.g. email marketing
113. Providing Virtual Services
My advice would be to assess whether you can pivot your business to offer something of value remotely - whether it's a call to offer one-to-one consultation or advice, video streaming with your customer, or anything that you can do that utilizes modern technology to provide a service of value. Virtual dog training services are working well for us (we're world-class dog breeders and trainers based in Illinois) - but I realize this won't work for everyone!
114. Create SEO Content
Most of the businesses will experience a decrease in operational activities during the quarantine. Our task is to make the best use of the time that freed up. One of the directions that would require minimum education and no additional financing is SEO content creation. You may ask your customer support or sales staff who are less occupied with their regular activities to write some blog posts. If you don’t have the content plan ready, you’d need to spend a few hundred dollars on getting one.
115. Give Up on Unnecessary tools
It may be hard to give up on certain tools, online programs or even office facilities. However, at this point, it is crucial to save the business itself, which means that business owners should reduce all unnecessary costs. Especially since there is no sign of how long the pandemic will last. If giving up on facilities isn’t an option, managers can try and negotiate lower rent prices during the pandemic to reduce monthly spending.
116. Get Prepared to Return
The crisis and the quarantine will end, and the businesses will experience a spike of demand. Make sure that your organization is fully ready for that. You may anticipate something like the Black Friday wave. The very minimum is that your customer support teams are staffed and trained.
117. Work Towards Solution
Practicing good hygiene should always be the top concern for businesses, even before the pandemic has come to light. As a business, we need to have more preventative measures in place to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again. The more time we work on these solutions, the less impact they will cause in all industries the next time something like this comes along, which is very possible as we all know. Stay focused on what we can do, and we can work through the rest.
118. Motivation Matters
What is going to keep your business turning in these trying times is motivation. If people are worried about the future, it is your job to ease their mind. You should have plans in place for them to feel safe, but also you should be confident that something like this will not turn the business into a negative direction. Be the voice of reason, and allow your employees to feel that they can work through this. The business will not stop, and it only won't if everyone is on board.
Ethan Taub of Billry
119. Stay Creative
Staying creative during these unknown times is something very important to me and the people in my company. We think it's important to be able to come up with new solutions to the problems we are facing as a business, and tackle them head on. As a creative business, working with online media is not new to us, but being able to put our focus into online resources and get the most out of them is the best thing to do with the time we have ahead.
Dustin Vann of Trusy
120. Plan Your Cash Flow
Prepare a cash flow plan for the quarantine period. You need to think of different scenarios depending on the duration of the quarantine and the costs you will be able to cut. This plan will keep you cold-hearted and save you from making bad decisions about reducing every single cost.
121. Prepare Your Campaigns
The lockdown made all offline businesses pause their operations. We will all experience the delayed demand. People will need to receive their services at the same time when the quarantine is over. Timing and communication will play a significant role. While some of your competition might be slow, you will need to inform your customers that you are back to work. Have all your campaigns prepared upfront and launch them as soon as you are sure to relaunch your operations.
122. Team Morale
Our staff are now working from home, which for some has increased their output. For others, the quality of work is lower than normal due to distractions at home. Working from a place of comfort is not ideal for most people, so we are laid-back when they are required by others in their household; we don't expect their best work, but we still strive for high standard. To ensure this, we have video calls that start informally to ease people into their work until they are motivated to begin.
123. Personal Schedule
Because people don't have to worry about times to go home, we changed how we do things at the company until the pandemic passes. Our staff are given a dedicated amount of time to work each day and they pick the hours they work within that day. We log when progress is being made to assure that they are actually working. Picking their own hours helps to keep staff motivated, as other commitments like helping out those that they live with can be worked around using their own schedule.
124. Marketing from Home
My business relies on being in the presence of a client and their vehicle, so it has been difficult to proceed as normal with social distancing in mind. Many people are self-isolating, so business is slower than normal. The best advice I could give is that marketing yourself is key. Social media is a platform where, if you advertise yourself well, people can find your business much easier. After worries of coronavirus go away, there'll be a lot of customers already waiting for your services.
125. Ease Customers' Pain
Businesses now need to focus on delivering exceptional customer service. Your customers are likely stressed and anxious. Many companies are going the extra mile, and even offering freebies. Do your best to meet these heightened expectations, so that customers can remember you as the company that helped during these uncertain times.
126. Going Digital in a Crisis
Focus on connection.
Find ways to duplicate the vibrant personal interactions online. For example:
• Webinars & Live-Streaming
• Virtual Networking Events
Reconsider your email campaigns.
Email is still the one digital marketing tactic that enters the same inbox where your customers also get messages from their moms, bad jokes from their siblings, bill payment reminders and other notifications.
127. Lead with Compassion
Employees may be late for video chat meetings or drop off unexpectedly. They may be frustrated, anxious or stressed. Their attention may not be 100% on the conference call. That project deadline might get missed by a day (or two). Your employees are telecommuting with kids, pets, and significant others in the same room. They are trying to mesh their work and personal lives together quickly and on-the-fly, without any supporting structure outside the house. Be compassionate.
128. All-Natural Soap
I'm a small business owner with an online store. We've seen success with sending emails that directly address Coronavirus, and what products we have that may be of interest during this time, such as our all-natural soap. We're also offering discounts via social media and email to help drive consumer spend.
129. Look into Relief Funds
My tip for businesses impacted by COVID-19 is to begin looking into disaster programs and relief funds. There programs are available at federal and state levels. Major corporations like Facebook and Amazon are also working to create funding relief for small businesses in need. On a near-daily basis, new fundraisers are being launched for business owners to provide them with financial support. If you find a funding source, or sources, that feels like a fit for your needs, submit your application.
130. Offer Subscribe & Save
We're offering a subscription box service for our male grooming products, to solidify recurring cash flow right now. Customers could consider purchasing a subscription instead of a one-off purchase, which would help us get through and beyond this crisis.
131. Over-communicate Now
While we all battle Covid-19, be sure to err on the side of over-communicating with your customers. Indicate what your business is now doing or not doing to deal with the virus. Be sure to include the ‘why’ along with the ‘what’, 'how' and 'when' and connect your actions to customer needs or values where possible. Since once is not enough here, regularly repeat your messages and update them where you can. Your customers will appreciate your courtesy. We can all get through this together.
132. Stay Afloat
One-person/partners/spouse-team business owners or 1099 people with income from self-employment and no W-2 employees working >1,000 hrs/yr, who need capital to supplement income, pay expenses, etc., might consider taking their pre-tax retirement account (old 401(k), IRA, SEP IRA, etc.) and rolling it into a Self-Directed Solo 401(k). This kind of retirement plan allows for loans, (which the IRAs do not,) to be taken out and used for any reason, without tax or penalty, (limits & terms apply).
133. Minimize Your Impact
There are 2 areas that businesses can work on to minimize the impact of COVID-19.
#1: Go remote. This prevents the spread of the disease between coworkers. There are multiple software solutions out there that can help with things like shared editing, video meetings, and project management.
#2: Awareness. Educate your employees on the proper social distancing protocols, cough etiquette, and best practices such as frequent handwashing. This will keep them safe.
134. Never Take Customers 4 Granted
This downturn has made a lot of businesses realize just how valuable customers are. It makes businesses appreciate them more.
That's why my tip is to take this time to show a little appreciation to your customers. Let them know that you care. Send them a gift, a coupon, or some other token of appreciation. People will remember how businesses acted during these times and will spend their money accordingly.
135. Tackle Low-Priority Projects
Think and act long-term. Do things within your business that have been low priority that you’ve been meaning to get done. If there are any smaller projects that have been on the back burner, like starting a company blog or revamping your newsletter, now is the time to do them.
136. Come Back with a Comeback
My one piece of advice is to try to keep at least one employee (even if just part time) to reach out and do “pre sales” for when business is back. The great thing is that you are able to get the other side’s attention now, since they are also in the waiting mode, and appreciate staying busy. My business went through and survived 09/11. I know that we will be back, even if it’s months from now.
137. Pivot to Survive
Many of our clients have restaurants and cafes which are now closed or closing. Even though the core business is closed, you can pivot and use your premises for something that will help the community and be allowed to remain open. Many restaurants and cafes are switching their premises to being local stores with essential supplies that can be purchased for people to take away. Your business continues, the staff are still employed and you are providing essential services for the community.
138. Differentiate Your Focus
Differentiate your organization in a time of crisis and you will not only stand out, but also weather the storm. For example, while most nonprofit organizations are talking about town halls, panels, or surveys to assess the effect of COVID-19, we are focused on taking action and finding solutions.
139. Re-evaluate Your Vision
Rework your vision statement now. We went from, "To help people create marketing, careers and lives they never dreamed possible," to, "We help people create focused communications to overcome any obstacle." This pivot helps to renew a sense of purpose. As the Stockdale Paradox says, "You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."
Wendy O'Donovan Phillips of Big Buzz
140. Director of Operations
Focus on SEO, brand awareness/promotions, and it will be possible to come out on top on the other side of this pandemic. Do not exploit the situation. Instead, get creative. Own a gym? Start offering video-casting classes at a discount. Own a salon? Have your stylists put together a series of short, how-to videos to help clientele maintain their look until this is over. Have a restaurant? Expand your delivery zone and promote in local business groups and forums.
141. Enable Employee Suggestions
My best tip is to encourage employees to stay engaged by making suggestions. Trust their hands-on experience will provide innovative suggestions to prevent the virus from harming their daily operations. The best way to go about this is by using DirectSuggest, ‘The Suggest Box Reimagined’. DirectSuggest is being used throughout the world to assist organizations in managing, adapting, and mitigating issues surrounding Coronavirus. Get DirectSuggest free for 90-days using the promo code HELP.
142. Play 'Can You Hear Me Now?'
'Can You Hear Me Now?' is one of the best games for building virtual teams' communication skills. In an online conference room, nominate one person to be the speaker and the rest are the artists. The speaker selects a random image. The goal is to describe that image in such a way that the artists can draw it successfully. The catch? The speaker can only use geometric shapes (square, triangle, etc.) to describe what they are looking at!
Michael Alexis of petri ❤
143. Gift Cards!
If you need fast cash to pay bills, consider selling gift cards. They're both an asset and a liability, as you must provide services at a future date. Selling them at a 1:1 value is preferred, but it may be necessary to provide a discount to encourage purchases. In order to improve cash flow and revenue, use a combination of gift cards and discounts in the short term. For example, sell a $10 gift card for $10, and give customers a 10% discount if they use the gift card within 30 days.
144. The Power of a Team Walk
Society is adapting to a new way of life in the midst of COVID-19. Businesses transition to online communication to keep systems moving. Everyone misses human interaction.
It’s a good time to employ an age-old ritual: the walk.
Rather than default to technology, pick a park, set a time, follow the "six feet rule" and other CDC guidelines, and enjoy a walking meeting.
There is power in walking together as a team. Aristotle knew it, and it's been our experience, too.
145. Ask (Nicely) for Lower Rent!
1. You have to have been a good tenant.
Don't try this if you've been late, noisy, messy, or had issues with others. You may get yourself kicked out.
You want to help your landlord stay afloat and help yourself stay afloat. Don't be unreasonable with the amount you ask for.
3. If they say no, have a counter offer.
Ask if they could defer your rent, or let you pay off the balance incrementally.
146. Be Flexible to Someone's Needs
This story is from Italy.
Italy is on lockdown now; only the essentials businesses like supermarkets & clinics/hospitals are open.
All restaurant owners are forced to close until further notice. One of them changed his business model to offering food delivery to those essentials businesses.
He found out that the hospital staff does not have their regular meals, so he offers to deliver to them.
The principle is "know what you have & provide them to those who need it".
147. Mitigate Your Damages
Mitigate your damages. Mitigation is the principle that a party who has suffered loss has to take reasonable action to minimize the amount of the loss suffered. Many clients have inquired whether they may rely on the force majeure clause in their contracts which would vitiate their contractual obligations. In order to legally rely on either clause or doctrine, mitigation must be demonstrated and so the best tip for any business is to mitigate your damages in order to preserve your legal remedies.
148. Start Searching for Back-up
Small businesses must stop relying on primary suppliers. They could run short of products or services soon, who knows. Maybe they let you know at the eleventh hour, just like the government announced lockdown without telling about it first. If small businesses do not want to stop their online sales, then start searching for suppliers who are working in your niche. Explore their process beforehand rather than losing your clients.
149. Make Use of Digital Tools
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can protect your small business by implementing the strategy of digital tools. These tools facilitate business owners in many ways. For example, if you sell products in a store, then choose an online store option to sell your items.
If you own a restaurant, then the 'no-contact delivery' option will be a suitable option for your small business.
For a gym instructor, video conferencing is a good choice to keep your gym business going throughout the pandemic.
150. Be Available for Your Customer
This crisis forced us to stay at home, which led to a surge in the E-commerce industry.
SMBs need to take their products/services online to be available for their customers.
Stacks provides SMBs with websites & mobile apps to go online. We discounted our service to be for $5 instead of $39.
We also launched our 2nd service that allows e-commerce website owners to launch mobile apps by installing our plugin on their WordPress websites.
151. Opportunity for Growth
In chaotic moments like this when everything seems to be going awful - small businesses should see this extra time as an opportunity for growth, assessment, development and prepare for a better future ahead.
Businesses should utilize this opportunity to learn new skills - especially in marketing, advertising, outsourcing and any other relevant expertise.
These are skills that are sure to propel your business and life forward and help you get through the rough and unforeseen waters ahead.
152. Flexible Work Hours
One way to cope with the recent outbreak is by offering fewer or more flexible work hours for your employees. Implementing this strategy not only reassures you that work stays afloat, but it also gives your team enough time to rest and improve their overall health. Who knows? Letting your employees have more control over their time might even improve the quality of their work and make them more productive.
153. Pivot & Use What You Have
The best advice available for small businesses is to innovate based on what you already have/own. To pivot quickly, you’ll need to use owned assets instead of creating from scratch. Evaluate internal assets and see how they can impact your business and community, specifically staff skills or tangible products. Adapt to make your product and business relevant, as the landscape continues to change. Our example: RoverRaffle.com
154. Understanding New Legislation
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which encompasses paid leave requirements and tax credits to offset the costs for businesses has now become law. In addition, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security stimulus package, should it pass, will provide some relief for businesses and individuals during this time of uncertainty. However, the laws are complex, so business owners should lean on their trusted business advisors to help them better understand and comply with these laws.
155. Maintaining Structure Remotely
One of the hardest things to do while working remotely is maintaining a routine and structure. Monitor your time management by using an online calendar and creating to-do lists to hold yourself accountable.
156. Tips for Small Businesses
Although many entrepreneurs are now working from home and may not know what to do with their downtime, don't get discouraged.
Rather than get distracted by the television, many chores to do around the home or simply lay around all day, get an early start on the day. Waking up at 5am will allow you to time to meditate and plan your day.
157. Coping with Corona
Instead of asking customers what they need or want from your business during coronavirus, ask them questions that require them to remember and share their relevant experiences.
People are often less articulate about their needs and wants because it requires imagination, but they're happy to share their memories. And, their memories tend to contain the information most useful to your business anyway.
Bonus: With permission, you can also use their stories as content for marketing purposes.
158. Work Together- Connect & Share
All of us are affected by this pandemic. Now is the time to create relationships with everyone. Volunteer. Virtually Entertain. Share with everyone the resources you find and encourage them to share resources with you. Help each other. The more people we help, the more likely we are to recover because in the long-run, it's who we help that will help us. These are the times when our actions define our character. Love each other. Stay healthy!
159. Stay Organized During Covid
Account for all coronavirus-related expenses and losses separately. Leave a trail so you can explain dips and gaps for future loans, leases, taxes, etc.
This will not only prevent problems and possibly help you in the future, it will also provide an accurate record of how things are happening, which is important when you might be under duress and not thinking/remembering so clearly.
Hindsight is only 20/20 if you can remember things correctly.
160. Security for Remote Workers
The best security solution you can implement amidst the surge in remote work is multifactor authentication (MFA). More employees working from home means more personal devices on your network, and a corresponding increase in breach risks. MFA provides an additional security layer during logins by requiring a second credential set (e.g., “Push-to-Verify,” one-time password authenticator apps, YubiKey, hard or soft tokens).
161. Small Biz Amidst COVID-19
The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading rapidly, with new updates flying in every minute. As the situation evolves, many small business owners like us need to take steps to take to mitigate risk, protect employees and support customers. Before we closed our storefronts' doors and workers stayed in place, we shifted our sales strategy to avoid heavy losses. We maintained a strong and positive communication channel with our customers. We let them know what steps we took and our employees are taking.
162. Be Bold, Be Motivated
You suddenly have time; use it to think outside of the box for business improvement ideas. Have you been thinking about partnering with a client to develop a new service or product? Make that call, be bold and throw it out there. You might be pleasantly surprised with their interest.
Time to start the collaboration. Use this time to build a sleek marketing plan. Picture the roll-out in your mind and suddenly feel a spark of excitement to push on and come out on top at the end of the rainbow.
163. Find Surprising Opportunities
For most small companies, the Novel Coronavirus has a negative impact on business. Instead of focusing on your losses, turn your attention to opportunities for growth.
Maybe there's a niche need created by the virus that your company can fill. Maybe you can change your marketing strategies to drive more business traffic in your direction. Try to find the good and you just might be surprised by what you discover.
164. Remember the Name
Be innovative; there are so many organizations taking the same stance on the Coronavirus. There are large numbers of businesses that update their page with what's going on, forget about it, and move on. This won't work; you need to be engaging with your audience, talk to your customers, pick up the phone and see how they're feeling. Your business can stand out as the one that cares, does something good for the community, and with that, your name will be remembered.
165. What I'd Want to See
Be upfront with your staff. They work hard to make things happen, so be clear on the position the business is in; understandably, you can't be 100% clear on all the information, but share regular updates with your workforce and ensure that you are doing the best you can.
Keep daily activities as normal, if you can. Whether that's jobs for the marketing team, sales or HR. Keep up to date with tasks at hand and how your team can help during this tough time; after all, they are still in work.
Also, if you would like to become a part of the CarolRoth.com contributor network and find out about opportunities to contribute to future articles, sign up here: http://www.carolroth.com/carolroth-com-blog-contributor-sign-up/