As thousands of businesses struggle during COVID-19, those that have been able to survive this long remain encumbered by the continuously changing requirements to reopen. More professionals are wary of leaving their homes and thus choose to work indoors. Cities are enforcing strict public health measures which are affecting commercial operations. Sales numbers are dwindling as customers are choosing to save up rather than spend. If a business cannot adapt to this new environment, they are likely to suffer the same fate as the hundreds of thousands of other businesses that have already closed shop during this time.
Have Employees Work Remotely
The first step you can take to help your business during this time, is to identify which employees or teams can work from home and still produce the same quality and quantity of output. Your accounting department, customer sales representatives, assistants and secretaries, and software engineers are good candidates for remote work. If you can limit your onsite workers to office custodians, security personnel, and manufacturing workers, you can limit office interactions and protect your employees’ health and well-being in the process.
Incorporate CDC Measures into Your Workplace Safety Training
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has published an extensive library of information regarding signs and symptoms of those infected with COVID-19 as well as precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus at home and in the workplace. Businesses should use this interim guidance to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19 and other respiratory conditions. The guidance suggests being proactive at encouraging sick workers to stay at home, separating sick workers, and performing routine sanitation of all areas and surfaces.
See If You Can Modify Your Office Lease
If you were leasing office space before the Coronavirus outbreak struck, you may still be paying for the contract even though you aren’t using as much of the space anymore. Businesses that implement the work-from-home protocol may not need the same amount of space as they initially anticipated. If this is the case for you, see if you can lower the monthly payments on your office lease. Many commercial real estate companies are aware of the current economic situation and are open to modifications on their active contracts. This is a mutually beneficial move as it is cheaper for them to retain their existing renter base compared to finding new business tenants.
Apply for Government Loan Programs
If you are struggling to keep your business afloat, you can find financial aid from government sources. The Small Business Administration, or SBA, is accepting new applications from business owners who have been financially hurt from COVID-19. EIDLs, or Economic Injury Disaster Loans, can cover revenue losses due to Coronavirus and can be used for operating capital or to make regular debt payments to your vendors. Government-funded loans are a better debt option as the interest rates are generally lower and the repayment terms and conditions are more flexible compared to loans sourced from private lenders.
Take Advantage of Free and Discounted Options
You should never be too proud to accept things for free. Right now, every dollar in your business account should be put towards key operating expenses, such as payroll, healthcare benefits, office space, and product inventory. You can find a lot of complementary tools, such as free online video conferencing and project management software, that can save you thousands of dollars each year. It is also a good time to ask your vendors for lower prices on your office supplies, equipment, and inventory.
Look for Other Income Streams
The economic impact of COVID-19 is temporary, but you can’t wait idly as you run out of financial runway for things to get better. Instead, start exploring new opportunities to generate revenue as the more income streams you have, the harder it is to be financially impacted by COVID-19. For instance, if your business sells arts and crafts, you can quickly pivot to making how-to videos and tutorials on how to draw or paint. You can then post it on your personal and business website as well as on social media. Building a large enough audience for this new content could bring in revenue in the form of advertisers and subscribers.
Adjusting your business during a pandemic can be met with several challenges, such as new workplace changes that are met with resistance by some employees, increasing debt due to thinning profit margins, and collaboration issues while managing a remote workforce. But if you follow these six steps to easily adapt your business to the changes brought by COVID-19, you will be able to bring your business through this pandemic.