Small Business Survival – 5 Tips for Small Business Owners Struggling with the Pandemic
Thoughtful gifts and generous discounts may keep customers loyal, but there aren’t enough vouchers or promotional products in Australia to combat the effects of ongoing lockdowns. Even if your business is able to transition to a fully online presence, your clients may not have as much disposable income as they once did. With pressure coming at us from all angles, how can small business owners survive the relentlessness of the pandemic?
- Reach out to other small businesses
Networking is an essential part of being a business owner at the best of times, but in a global crisis, it is even more important. By joining forces, you have a better chance of helping yourselves and each other survive. For example, a coffee shop may wish to partner up with a neighbouring cupcake shop to provide shared deliveries to customers in need of coffee and comfort food. There are endless ways small businesses can partner up and support each other, even if it’s only moral support. This kind of encouragement should never be undervalued.
- Grow your online presence
Now is the ideal time to build yourself a digital empire. Swap that build-it-yourself site for a custom-designed space created by an expert web design agency. You will need to make an upfront investment, but the benefits of having experts handle your SEO and User Experience are exponential. The pandemic isn’t going away any time soon, so dominating the digital space is more important now than ever (and it was already pretty important before).
- Slash your overheads
If you’re still operating out of a physical office, now may be the time to make the switch to a virtual or serviced office solution. You’ll slash your rent by a considerable amount, and if you go for a virtual office that you operate from home, you’ll be able to claim some of your household expenses back on tax.
For those who cannot change their premises, consider other ways to save. Can you get rid of the printers in the office and go paperless? Back to the cafe example, can you offer incentives to encourage customers to bring their own reusable coffee cups? The benefit of many cost-saving initiatives is that they can help the environment and your brand’s image at the same time.
- Seek support
There are quite a few grants and schemes small businesses can take advantage of, so it’s worth taking a look at what the government is offering. Apply for anything and everything you qualify for – this could mean the difference between making it through another lockdown and having to fold. From indigenous enterprises to those in the creative sector, there are funding opportunities available to a huge variety of business owners in Australia.
- Focus on safety
To protect yourself, your customers, your staff, suppliers, and any other third parties you deal with, it is essential to have plans and processes in place to create a safe environment. Workplace health and safety has always been paramount, but the pandemic adds many new dimensions.
You may wish to consider:
- Facilitating work from home arrangements for staff
- Staggering shifts if remote work isn’t possible
- Reducing opening hours
- Creating new policies and procedures that address pandemic-related concerns
- Providing hand sanitiser and stocking gloves, masks, cleaning products, and a first-aid kit filled with the relevant medical supplies for your industry
- Organising COVID-19 health and safety training for staff
The pandemic may be with us for quite some time, but by remaining as positive as you can and following the tips above, you’ll be able to fortify your business against the pressure it has created.