Your “new normal” probably feels anything but “normal.” During uncertain times, it’s often the nation’s small businesses that bear the financial brunt of the circumstances. Even in the best of times, with a healthy economy, most small businesses are watching every cent and being as fiscally responsible as possible. During these times of chaos, it’s paramount for small businesses to devise an actionable plan. This plan will mitigate losses, keep your business in the hearts and minds of customers, and offer support to employees. No matter your industry, you can follow these tips to help prepare your business for what’s next.
Communicate With Customers
Let your customers know you’re still there for them. Keep them up to date on business hours, products, services, and policies. If you’re still open, you can communicate verbally or through signs on doors or counters. If you’re an online business or aren’t currently able to be open, then update customers through email, websites, and social posts.
When you’re communicating with customers, make sure to use language that is straightforward, calming, and honest. Be empathetic to the current situation. Express your gratitude for their past business and support.
Now is also a great time to expand your reach. Do customers normally shop in person? Build your website and focus on growing your social media presence. Here are some tips to help you manage your online presence.
Empower Yourself and Your Employees
Staying informed is important, but a non-stop news cycle can instill fear. Empower yourself by making a habit of checking in on news cycles once or twice a day, no more. Once you gain a sense of control over yourself, it’s time to empower your employees. Their worlds inside and outside of work are changing, and they are going through the same feelings of turmoil that you are. You can empower them by guiding them and helping them gain a sense of control over their lives. Communicate with them, be understanding, and offer flexibility where possible. Now is also a good time to help employees stretch their skill sets. Work may look different than normal for a while. Help employees learn how to execute emails, brainstorm a future loyalty program, or focus on social media interaction.
No one knows how long these times of uncertainty will last. Most businesses can are facing financial difficulties, including slower sales, supply chain disruptions, and sick employees. Small businesses need to be as proactive as they can be, and cutting costs wherever possible is imperative. It will be difficult, but this is the time to be honest with your sales forecast for the year and determine how your business may bounce back.
Some of the first things to cut are likely to be work trips and new hires. If you need to meet with clients, and can’t travel to see them, consider using video conferencing. Another area where you might be able to cut costs is utilities. Shorter business hours and remote workers could mean a lower electric bill. You might also consider asking employees to take an unpaid leave of absence. Wherever you can cut costs, keep this in mind: the more money you can save, the longer you can stay in the green.
Learn From Others
How are other companies like yours coping with the changes they are facing? If you run a restaurant with a dining room that has had to close, could you offer limited lunch options online for pre-order and takeout only? What about a food truck to deliver to customers? Take a hard look at your business and find the opportunities to serve your customers during these uncertain times. A nail salon could start selling polishes online. A floral shop could switch the business to delivery-only for a few weeks or months.
During turbulent times, having a plan provides you, your employees, and your customers with resolve and momentum for the future. At Safeguard, we are here for you. You can count on your local Safeguard advisor for products, services, and advice that make managing and marketing your business easier and more effective. Contact us to get started.
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The information provided in this blog does not and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice.
- It’s essential for small businesses to devise an actionable plan.
- Cut costs anywhere possible.
- Let your customers know you’re still there for them.
- Empower yourself and then empower your employees.
- Take a hard look at your business and find the opportunities.