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Lockdown 2.0: Eight tips for keeping your small business above water

lockdown business to surviveCOVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on every aspect of our daily life, including how we run a business.

Hundreds of businesses across the whole world have been forced to temporarily close their doors as part of the government’s lockdown plan to decrease the spread of coronavirus. At the same time, the essential organisations allowed to remain open have had to adapt to enforce new social distancing rules and this ‘new normal’.

Since many countries are currently in lockdown again due to the pandemic, it is crucial for all businesses, especially small ones, to take necessary steps to keep afloat. The experience of the first lockdown has taught us that surviving this disaster will take more than just time. You will need to take a hard look at what has happened and what steps you want and can take to bounce back. Here are eight suggestions on what you can do to help your small businesses survive another lockdown.

Stay visible

Try to stay in touch with your partners, suppliers and customers. No matter if you prefer to keep in regular contact via phone or email, it is important to stay visible and make sure people know that you are still around and ready to help. 

It’s not about badgering your clients or shareholders or making serious business proposals. This is a hard time for many people, so staying in touch and sustaining friendly relationships are likely to be welcome. 

Review your spendings

It is a good idea to take a close look at your main expenses right now and before to determine what costs can be reduced or eliminated. Effective spending will significantly impact your business’s ability to weather this crisis. A clear overview of your funds and priority-setting will ensure that your most essential costs are paid off while allowing you to gain an advantage in cash flow.

You may find that you no longer need the same amount of working space if you are comfortable with employees working remotely. This example can contribute to savings in rent, electricity and other services, which in turn will increase your ability to reduce expenses. While your main goal is to be as lean as possible, ensure that your cut costing does not affect the quality of the services, your customers and clients expect and want.

Don’t sacrifice quality

When times are tough, cost-cutting is critical. Business owners have to stay on the offensive and get your team on board with adjustments that are being made. However, you cannot sacrifice quality when making these changes to your product or service.

Use a financial aid

Even if you can put all the tips we have mentioned above into practise; you will likely find it difficult to keep a healthy cash flow for your small business during these uncertain times. Most organisations will still need additional financial aid.

Today, you can make use of the government financial support to help your business cope with the negative impact of the coronavirus. From the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS lenders) and Bounce Back Loan System (BBLS), there are various financial programs, grants and loans intended to help self-employed people and businesses affected by the pandemic.

If your company is eligible for a business disaster assistance or emergency loan, consider getting as many grants as possible to cover costs, generate cash and ensure your funds are safe.

Experiment with advertising & promotion

Since many people are at home, they tend to spend more time online, reading mail and watching TV. Consider taking this advantage and experimenting with advertising and promotions on different platforms to promote your product, service or special offers and attract new audiences.

Collaborate with other businesses

As we are all in this together, make sure to find similar professionals or businesses who can add value to your business. For example, you can share costs and workload into a workshop, seminar, working space, product or service. Collaboration can expand your network and help you to save money for your business.

Spend time on positive changes

In case your business operations have slowed down or stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the great things you can do is to make better use of this time by expanding your knowledge and education. There are countless online courses, both free and paid, and books you can read to hone your skills and expand your knowledge of your business and industry in general.

Also, as this is the second lockdown, you can use this experience to enhance your abilities and expertise by reading the stories from business owners who have successfully dealt with the challenges as a result of the virus outbreak.

There is a lot more to receive from the downtime caused by the pandemic. Therefore, make sure to use this period to improve yourself, think about possible innovations and new strategies for your company, get creative and decide how you can do things differently. Try to take these small steps or make radical changes to not just survive the crisis, but also to thrive. 

Look for inspiration

In case you are unsure of what to do to transform your business, there is nothing wrong with looking for inspiration from your competitors. They may have moved their in-store shopping experience to one that is fully available online, or maybe they are offering a new way to use an old product. Perhaps they are not able to open but continue to maintain communication with customers via Facebook or Instagram live streams, webinars or podcasts. Anything that works for one company can serve as a source of inspiration to you, whether this organisation work in your industry or not.

You can also network as much as you can with other businesses to find out what is working for them so you can incorporate those changes or strategies into your organisation as well.