Navigating Your Small Business in Uncharted Waters

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The past few weeks have been anything but business as usual. The outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have progressed from a news story affecting China, then Europe, and now a real concern in the U.S.

The virus has affected nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives and will play a determining role in the next several months. Between social distancing measures, mandatory closings of non-essential businesses and curfews, these are definitely uncharted waters for many business owners.

Taking the necessary steps to pivot your business to adapt to challenging times can be the difference between sink or swim. Read along for some tips on navigating these uncertain times from business financing to a positive brand image.

Smart Financing

If you are fortunate enough to be in an area that hasn’t been as heavily affected by COVID-19 as others, you’re in the perfect position to plan ahead. In many states, non-essential businesses are closing and moving to fully remote workplaces among other measures.

While this is a great safety measure for employees, as a business owner, this can complicate your cash flow, especially if your finances are handled via a brick and mortar institution.

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An online bank catering to small businesses could be the perfect answer to keeping your business finances in line during this time. Not only does a digital bank help secure your finances, but it provides you with the ability to access everything you could need right from your mobile device.

With the potential that business may slow down, or possibly close for an indefinite amount of time, it would be in the best interest of your business to communicate with vendors about payments. Negotiating through COVID-19 can help your business retain cash flow and keep you from making payments when your revenue is dipping.

However, if cash flow is an issue, applying for the Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan could help you bridge the financial gap. Understanding the financial health of your business is paramount, and the more good practice steps you can take consistently will help mitigate any blows felt during this downtime.

Brand Image

While your physical location may be closed, or you’ve had to cancel upcoming events, this is still a good time to be active in the community. If it’s safe enough for you to leave the house per your local officials’ regulations, volunteering at a local shelter, or donating money to a food bank in your company’s name can go a long way. Not only will this help your community, but it will also show your commitment to doing your part during this pandemic.

If time or donations to others are logistically difficult, utilize your own social media platforms to show support. You can signal a strong brand image solely by conveying the right message to your followers. Remember to stay sensitive to the moment. This isn’t a time to promote an upcoming special or ask people to make large party reservations.

Get Creative

Though it’s never easy to be away from your business or adapt to a work-at-home environment, this could be the perfect time to reignite your passion. Take this time to think of other ways you can differentiate your product offering or business to consumers. Whether it’s being able to step back and find holes, or jumping on a project you haven’t had the time for, take this time to improve.

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If you are one of several business owners in your area in a similar industry, let business rivalry down and team up on ways you can help the local economy. Though you may be competitors, these are times people need to stay together. Befriending your local competitors can not only help your community, but may also provide you with different ways of operating your business, or inspire thoughts you’ve never considered that can be fruitful down the road.

Whether COVID-19 has impacted your small business or not, working to prepare yourself for dips in business in general and understanding ways to handle challenging circumstances will help set you up for success.