We are living in unprecedented times. As the world closes down and takes shelter at home in response to the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses are struggling to figure out how to keep their companies healthy through a prolonged interruption. Even businesses with steady cash flows in a normal climate are experiencing the impact of local, state, and national social isolation policies.
As a business leader, you are likely feeling the stress of trying to figure out how best manage your business in this very uncertain climate. Here are some things you should know, and some things you should do, to help manage these difficult times.
Here’s the good news. You are not in this alone. There may be financial support available for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
The Small Business Administration defines small and mid-sized businesses as companies with fewer than 500 employees. This group represents about 99.7% of US businesses, according to the SBA. Viewed as an important component of the US economic system, these businesses may be able to take advantage of financial assistance from government agencies, private agencies, and nonprofit organizations. For example, the SBA is offering up to $2 million in Economic Injury Disaster Loans to companies impacted by COVID-19. You can find additional resources in this list by Forbes: Small Business Relief Tracker.
In addition, recognizing that individuals and companies may need a little leeway when it comes to making tax payments, the US Treasury has announced it will push back its 2019 deadline for income tax payments by 90 days. This move applies to both individual taxes and corporate income tax and that means, regardless of whether your business is a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company, partnership, or corporation, you’ve got an extension.
You have probably taken steps to transition as much of your day-to-day operations as possible to remote work locations. If your team is able to work from home without missing (much of) a beat, make sure you’re equipping them with reliable tools to support networking and team communications.
Leading a team remotely is a helpful solution for those businesses that can operate in this manner. And while remote work provides significant benefits, it also has its share of challenges. Keeping employees (and yourself) on task and organized while working in a home environment can be difficult. In addition, there is a tendency for remote workers to feel isolated and disconnected from the business.
Both of these challenges can be mitigated with regular check-ins by conference call or video. And the use of a communication app such as Slack or Microsoft Teams can promote collaboration, productivity, and social interaction.
Now is a good time to focus on outbound communications. Let your customer base know you’re still here and they’re still your top priority. Engaging via social media is a great way to maintain open communication and show your customer base that you are available. And reaching out directly to customers to see how your services can help them through this crisis is a way to strengthen your relationships and demonstrate your commitment to their needs.
Creative Solutions and Revenue Streams
For many businesses, it will not be feasible to continue to provide their core products and services during this crisis. This is the time for entrepreneurs to be creative and develop revenue streams and new ways of servicing their customer bases.
Is it possible for you to leverage your assets and infrastructure to provide additional value to customers? Are you able to convert your main services or programs to new offerings? Take a hard look at your company’s capabilities and personnel to identify new sources of income for your business during this challenging time. There is not to suggest you should completely reinvent your business; but instead, find innovative solutions to maintain a stream of income while meeting your customers’ needs.
Look Beyond the Moment
Don’t let this temporary crisis define your future. When this ends – and it will end – you don’t want to be left with the long-term ramifications of short-term fixes. Treat your staff well. You’ll need them when the world is ready to re-engage and business picks up again. And treat your customers well. Keep your business equipped with the tools and resources it needs to be successful in a post-pandemic world.
If you are struggling with how to manage your company’s finances and cash flow during these challenging times, we are here for you. Our team of financial and accounting experts can help you choose the best solutions to keep your business strong and financially sound.