Although countless small businesses were hit by the COVID-19 crisis (and some went bankrupt), the recovery process will eventually start and your enterprise needs to be ready for it. However, entering a business that has been more closed than open during the past couple of months is hard on its own; let alone reestablishing your place in the market before the outbreak.
You are more than likely going to have to come up with a marketing plan during the pandemic to be ready when the country reopens after the COVID-19 crisis is officially declared over. As it might be years before this finally occurs, you need a solid plan to rebuild your business right now and get the dice rolling!
Optimize costs instead of cutting them
During the past couple of months, cutting operational costs meant laying off thousands of employees. This is perhaps the worst outcome, as you lose staff that has been with you for years. Yes, you might not have sufficient funds to pay them a full salary every month but stop to think before you show them the door.
Instead of cutting costs (and people), you should look to optimize them. This implies reviewing all costs and in a holistic, strategic manner, so as to create a long-term strategy. You should seek to understand all costs; not cut them immediately.
Successful cost optimization involves gathering the present cost base and carrying out a spend analysis. This will allow you to track the success of the financial, managerial, and operational overhaul you’re about to perform. Costs and expenditures can be turned into opportunities once you take into account experts’ opinion, benchmarking data, and industry trends.
Damage assessment for the COVID-19 Crisis
Before you are ready to optimize your business and rebuild it, you need to accurately access the damage done so far. The coronavirus crisis took a financial toll on your business but you need to look beyond the numbers. Apart from sales figures, profit margins, and cash flow, you should take into account the number of employees you have lost and the expertise they took with them.
This is important because they might find a job with a competitor when the world reopens, this directly hurting your bid to regain the pre-corona market share. Finally, brick and mortar businesses should take stock of existing inventory and explored how the quantity might stack up against the current demand.
Rethinking the entire business model
Since consumers’ needs are rapidly changing, you need to overhaul your entire business model. This involves improved customer experience, improvements in the supply chain, the aforementioned workforce optimization, the exploration of new markets, etc.
You can start adjusting your business model during the pandemic with upgrades to the procurement and supply chain. The logistics could use from freight forwarding done by companies such as General Carrying that will help you with shipping goods nationally and internationally.
When it comes to the customers, you need to research their reaction to the crisis and determine how much their shopping habits have changed in the first half of 2020. Also, be sure to get a glimpse of the competitors’ landscape in a post COVID-19 crisis business environment.
Finally, you need to determine whether your operating model, products, and channels match the current market trends. If the market focus has shifted dramatically, you might want to lead your business in that direction. Then again, if the market shifts are catastrophic, explore other markets you can enter. Who knows, the current pandemic might be the ideal time to make your business international.
The importance of employee retention during the COVID-19 Crisis
Slowly but surely, coronavirus pandemic is turning into a humanitarian crisis. What started as a health crisis quickly turning into an economic turmoil but now workers are the ones suffering the most. People who have worked a single job all their life are now faced with prospects of a career change which can be devastating to their mental health and it can tear apart their family.
Municipal and federal governments are providing subsidies for national economies and these measures include aid programs aimed at protecting jobs. If you have the opportunity, apply for one of these programs, because you might not need the financial injection but your workers sure need to keep their jobs.
Employee retention is not something workers benefit from, as rehiring staff after the pandemic can turn into a nightmare for employers. With the havoc the COVID-19 outbreak wreaked on the labour market, you might be unable to allocate labour once the lockdowns and curfews are lifted and customers return.
Gaining access to fresh capital
Let us not fool ourselves: only companies that manage to stay liquid will survive the global health crisis caused by the pandemic. However, a large number of small businesses in the private sector don’t have much cash on their hands, so staying solvent is a struggle for them.
If your company’s cash reserves have been depleted during the pandemic (e.g. paying salaries to employees while remaining closed), you must gain access to fresh capital right away! Apart from federal and local support programs you should try taking out small business loans from banks, merchant cash advances, and business lines of credit.
COVID-19 and Creating a digital workplace
Implementing new technologies and working online wasn’t something that every business on the planet embraced instantly. However, the coronavirus pandemic is making it mandatory to create a digital workplace. Because of the stay-at-home orders nationwide, more people are working from home than ever, turning their workplace into a digital one.
However, employers should also create clouds to store data safely online, introduce rapid automation, and make the digital workplace secure. The latter can bring down operational costs because you needn’t spend money on rent if you run a brick and mortar business. Basically, everything that can be done remotely, should be done remotely.
If you carefully lay out a marketing plan for rebuilding your business during the COVID-19 crisis, you should be able to start making profits even before the pandemic is over. However, the coronavirus is here to stay, so future fluctuations of markets are expected, as lockdowns start and end indiscriminately across the globe. For this reason, be ready to overhaul your marketing strategy several times over if necessary.