Based on the Local Economic Impact Report conducted by Yelp, over 97,966 businesses have declared permanent closure as a direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. By extension, these permanent closures meant that massive job layoffs also followed, which is why mental health problems were also on an all-time high during the height of the pandemic’s rage.
According to the World Economic Forum, close to 50 percent of the United States’ workforce belongs to small businesses, thereby serving as the backbone of the American economy. Unfortunately, most of the businesses that were hardest-hit by the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic are small businesses.
If you own or manage a small business and you’re currently struggling to think of ways to keep it afloat and at best thrive amid the crisis, here are five survival hacks you should heed:
Secure a loan
If you’ve been trying to get your head above the water due to the financial state of your small business, you need to quickly take out a loan before you end up plunging into the abysmal depth of the business ocean. Among the different loans that you may apply for is a Small Business Administration or SBA business loan from a preferred or accredited lending institution.
This type of loan offers small business owners seed money to finance their various business needs, such as equipment, lease, debts, facilities modernization, inventory, and receivables. This loan comes in different programs that provide unique features and requirements that suit specific business loan needs. Just inquire with the SBA website to know which loan program best fits your business requirements and your capacity to pay the loan.
Launch an aggressive social media marketing campaign
The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear just how powerful social media can be as a marketing tool, particularly for small businesses with limited or zero budget for non-traditional marketing methods. With social media, such disadvantaged businesses are given the chance to somehow level the playing field and become as visible as possible to the tech-savvy market.
Knowing this, you must devise and implement an aggressive social media marketing plan to ensure that your target buyers or clients will get the message that you’re trying to deliver. Whether it’s a new product you’re launching or a limited-run discount program, social media can be your best friend.
Be more in touch with the community
At the height of the pandemic, numerous local businesses went out of their way to help their local community in whatever way they can.
Some restaurants decided to open their kitchen and turn it into a communal affair, where homeless and jobless people could just turn up and have meals for free. Other local businesses offered their products free of charge to local authorities and non-profits, while many others offered discounts and freebies as their way of helping people save while still keeping some cash flowing in.
You can follow this same route and see how you can make the local community know that your business isn’t just about making money, but about helping community members as well. With such a hands-on approach, you’ll be endeared to the community, which would help you cement a loyal following at the grassroots level.
Don’t be afraid to innovate
The most successful businesses during COVID-19 are those that didn’t hesitate to give innovative solutions a try.
Some fitness instructors and restaurant chefs, for example, had to switch from physically training people and cooking delicious meals to offering online exercise classes and meal prep tutorials for a small fee. These business-savvy individuals understood that desperate times call for some degree of ingenuity to keep themselves afloat or thriving.
And so, if your small business is facing a similar situation, you need to work out a plan on how you can make your business adapt to the drastically changed landscape. By doing so, you’ll be in a much better position to keep the cash flowing until such time that you’ve regained your footing and made your business resilient enough to weather the COVID-19 storm.
Think of ways to streamline your processes and improve business spending
If your business previously has lots of steps required to deliver a service or develop/manufacture a product, now is the perfect time to see if there are ways to streamline your processes and save on manpower, expenses, and resources. Additionally, see if you can reduce costs in certain aspects of your business, so you can save money that you can allocate to finance other important aspects of your business.
With the right techniques, there’s no doubt that small businesses can get out of this crisis alive and very much stronger than they were before things went south.