As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads, taking lives and disrupting the world’s economy, business owners are bearing the brunt.
These 8 tips are designed to help you manage your business through this coronavirus pandemic crisis.
1. Stay updated and informed
Don’t be a cold fish. Some business owners do not care about the happening in the world, they have absolutely no idea about what is going on until their businesses are affected. They are only interested in making money. Don’t be a Shylock only interested in piling up coin after coin or a King Midas wishing to turn everything into gold. The Coronavirus pandemic is a serious global crisis that can devastate your business. So be aware, get the facts about the pandemic, empathize with the people affected, take precautions, follow safety tips and recommendations from the World health organization and other appropriate authorities.
2. Connect emotionally with clients and customers and even those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic
At this point in time, your customers have to feel that you care about their health and well-being. They have to know that you are not only interested in getting money from their pockets. So reach out to them, let them understand that you feel what they feel and that you are in all of this together. Show this by making gestures of support such as providing hand sanitizers at your business premises, giving out face masks, holding one on one conversations with your customers, sending emails, smses and WhatsApp messages bearing safety tips, hope and positivity.
3. Manage expectations: Prepare for the worst
You are probably going to experience a dip in revenue, the stock markets around the world are crashing, big companies and brands are struggling to stay afloat. Depending on your product or service you may run at a loss this period. You may even go bankrupt. If you are selling a luxury product or offering a luxury or leisure service, expect a drastic reduction in patronage and income. With the current economic uncertainty, people are now spending only on basic necessities.
So don’t panic when your balance sheet shows a negative decline. Have a Plan B for dealing with your losses and if you can’t keep your head above the water, it may be a sensible option to shut down temporarily.
4. Reassure your employees
With the attendant loss in income, your employees would be worried about their jobs. Talk to your employees, let them know that you are doing the best you can to keep them on the job. But if the situation persists and you can’t afford to pay salaries, be honest with them about the state of affairs. Downsize humanely.
5. Move your business online
If your business does not have an online presence by now, you have been left behind. With the restrictions in public gatherings and movements to halt the spread of the virus, people are staying indoors. Customers won’t be turning up at your business place to patronize you. In countries where the pandemic is severe, there is a complete restriction of non-essential movement, so operating a business with a physical location is totally out of the question right now. If you’re in a city or country where movements are still allowed, you’re in luck.
Open your online business channels. The channels could be your website or any of the social media platforms. Partner with and engage the services of delivery agents and “errand boys”. Customers should be able to order for your products online, pay and get it delivered to their doorsteps. Observe all precautions during the product packaging process to ensure you are not contributing to the spread of the Coronavirus.
6. Be Prudent
We don’t know how long this pandemic will last, we don’t know how long it will take for the economy to recover from the impact, so you have to be prudent with funds. This is not the time to make irrational financial decisions or splash on that luxurious item with your business funds.
7. Don’t be a lonely wolf
Reach out to other people engaged in the same line of business as you. Find out from them how they are coping in this period. Share survival tips and strategies. You need the support of your business community to thrive.
8. Follow the Law
During times of public health crisis like this, the government comes up with extraordinary measures to protect lives. Be in touch with the rules, ignorance is not an excuse. Follow the rules and adhere strictly to them, don’t let your business be at loggerheads with the law. It is the primary duty of government to protect lives and properties, so if the government orders you to shut down your business during this period, simply obey. We all need to stay alive to do business.
The world has seen many health pandemics over the years, the Coronavirus pandemic would not last forever. While we wait for the medical world to develop a suitable vaccine for the virus, we need to do our bit to contribute to stopping the spread of the virus and staying alive.