Keeping Your Business on its Feet amidst the COVID-19 Crisis
The Effects of Covid-19 & How to respond
COVID-19 is no child’s play! We’ve seen stores shut down and stocks drop at worrying rates. Due to an increase in demand for essential goods and the measures governments are using to contain coronavirus, supply chains are facing a negative shift.
On March 2, 2020, the Federal Reserve went public with a 50 basis-points cutin Federal borrowing interest rates— the biggest rate-cut as of 2008. Thatdecrease means that thecurrent interest rates fall somewhere between 1.0% and 1.25%.
And though thatfrantic move may mean businesses can borrow affordably, retailers and citizens are still feeling the far-reachingeffects ofcovid-19
Executives and other small business owners are tirelessly searching for solutions to these business effects of Covid-19. Most physical shops are partnering with online shops and couriers services to help dispatch goods to their customers.
Travel Restrictions Affecting Business Activities Worldwide
The first quarter of 2020 has been an awfulseason for many industries, but none has suffered like the travel sector. People fear totravel because of the communicable nature of the virus and the set strict safety rules withinalmost all countries.
Big players like United Airlines have been cutting flight rates to corona-infested zones like Asiaand Italy while business plummets for the cruise industry bigwigs like Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
Sister sectors like hotel and accommodation also suffer as clients call off bookings amidst travel restrictions. In some countries,cafes, hotels, restaurants and other eating places are only offering takeaway services only.
Restaurant owners have also reported less traffic than ever as people keep off the street and get more cautious of public places.
And no doubt, supply chains must be messed up for small businesses that import goods from China.
On a larger scale, our manufacturing companies can no longer source raw materials across borders because of the international travel restrictions.The broken supply network has impacted business activitiesa great deal.
Businesses that deal with non-essential goods are suffering majorly. Most of them are facing a high demand and low supply. Such a deficit creates an unfavorable environment for business.
Changing Your Approach May Help Your Business Prevail during This Pandemic
With the right approach and close supervision, you can manage to streamline your supply network.Here’s how to fix your supply chain during the coronavirus crisis.
1. Keep your team safe.
Plan operations with Corona in mind. Protecting employees is a must-do because they are an invaluable resource. Prioritize worker safety when planning and executing any workplace activities
One way of navigating the business effects of Covid-19 is ensuring that your employers are safe. You can do this by; giving them gloves, masks, partitioning of the working area, and sanitizing workplaces.
You can also offer insurance covers to your employees. For some companies, in case a team member contracts the virus they will still receive percentage of their wage. Doing this motivates employees to work hard and effectively.
2. Prepare aCoronaUpdate & Response crew.
Because it is important to monitor the progress of COVID-19, prepare a team that will issue daily updates, and insist that they work closely with the emergency response crew.
Your crew should make it their responsibility to help the team members observe social distancing. Encourage the workers to seekways of forwarding informationto the crew in case they see any coronavirus symptoms.
Early detection and separation of coronavirus victims among employees reduces the risk ofmass spreading of the virus.
3. Have Adequate Liquid Cash to Run Ops.
It is important to have a backup financial plan if you are going to survive the business effects of Covid-19. We shall discuss more about where to source emergency funds to keep your small business on its feet.
Some banks are changing their time of operation. You may find banks closing early and opening late. Having a stash of liquid cash will come in handy when such incidents happen.
4. Keep your supply chain in check.
Business owners must now gauge the stability of their supply networkand work to correct any business effects of Covid-19 like delays.
Since most victim countries of coronavirus are under lockdown, the supplyof discretionary goods has gone down. As a solution, online shops like Amazon, as from mid-march, they only accept shipment of essential goods to their warehouses.
Another option is employing more workers and technology to help in the essential goods line of business. Countries like china for example is using digitally supported systems to deliver products to customers.
Digital commerce support systems go a long way in streamlining the supply network. Wholesalers and retailers can transact online without the need of a physical meeting.
For online stores like Alibaba, their systems supports AI chat systems which are linked to both their offline and online traders. This is a big step because their clients will always get their orders on time.
Door to door delivery is another effective way to ensure a steady, safe and reliable supply of goods. Especially to countries under lockdowns and strict travelling rules.
5. Customer relationship is king.
Right now, customer relationship management is very important. Make sure your approach prioritizes your customer and that you are supplying only what clients need.
Understanding your customers and what they want will help you focus your resources and time to what is profitable. It is important to note that since coronavirus started, consumer patterns also begun change.
Figuring out how your customers are adjusting to Covid-19 is another way of promoting business activities. The customer is always right, providing what they need will reduce chances of them looking for other alternatives.
6. Formulate and implement anaction plan.
During this pandemic, businesses should prepare and implement COVID-19 prevention and action plans,
Because you are deviating from the normal, it is important to practice the new way of doing things. Revise the plan to spot any weaknesses.
Make sure your team is aware and conversant with the plan. Following the action plan should be a priority for all staff.
7. Show concern.
One way to reach out to the community during crisis is to offer assistance and support. What are you doing to help the people around you deal with the effects of COVID-19?
Show your client community you care. Providing quality products reliably on time helps win customers trust and love. If you have your clients contact information, send them occasional newsletters that contain relevant Covid-19 information.
Most physical shops are offering customers hand sanitizers or water and soap before attending to them.Such a solution helps reduce the business effects of Covid-19 and chances of contracting this virus.
But you cannot do all this without money. So where can you source extra funding?
Where to Source Extra Funding to Weather COVID-19 Storms.
The COVID-19virus has come with a lot of business related effects. For many small and medium entities, the challenge is getting the funds to stay on their feet when cash flow is a problem.
And because we don’t know how long Coronavirus will be around, you need the finances to keep you up and running for a month or two.
Here are your options;
1. Merchant Cash Advances offer Instant Funding.
MCA providers allow your small business to borrow a lump sum amount in exchange for its future transactions.
Most MCAs are characterized by a simple application process and quick hassle-free acceptance. A business cash advance credit is an excellent way to avoid piles of paperwork, long waits, collateral requests, and a thorough credit check.
2. Seek a micro-business loan.
With interest rates lower than ever, securing a micro-business loan is not a bad idea—but only if you have what it takes. You can use the lump sum to fund operations as we await the way forward on COVID-19.
Always weigh your loan options and select one that has a low interest rate and a long grace period. Some banks are even offering unsecured loans for small and medium firms during this pandemic.
3. Try a microbusiness line of credit.
Use a line of credit if (1) you’re not after huge amount and (2) you don’t want to pay interest. Still, it is an excellent way to source that instant capital when times are tough.
Don’t stop marketing!
This is the time to be active. Don’t stop marketing your business because everyone is on lockdown. Engage your customers using online channels and complete as many sales as you can as long as it doesn’t put you or others at the risk of Coronavirus.
Finally, the best thing for your business right now is to ensure you keep your staff and clients safe. Observe all the set COVID-19 regulations as you carry out your business activities.