Roll With the Punches03/30/2020
The current coronavirus pandemic has left many businesses in a difficult spot. How do you keep your doors open when people can't come to your business? That is what we focus most of our efforts on as entrepreneurs. We spend most of our waking hours thinking of ways to attract people to our business. This virus has created a virtual blockade that stymies the best of our efforts. Every business is affected and we all have to learn to roll with the punches.
The phrase roll with the punches is derived from boxing. It means to roll your body in the same direction that a punch is driving you so you can lessen the impact. You still get hit, but not as hard. So how can we roll with the punches this virus is throwing at us?
Every business is different, but there are some things we can all do to lessen the economic impact of the virus. Before we begin, let me say that these tips won't bring your business back from bankruptcy, or even make certain your business stays in the black. They may help reduce a little stress and save you a few dollars.
First, take care of yourself. Your family and your business need you. Think of it like you are on an airplane with a child. If the oxygen mask falls you are instructed to put your mask on first, then the child. This may sound selfish to some, but what good would you be to the child if you cannot breathe. If you get sick, what good will you be to your business?
Second, and this one is obvious. Reduce expenses where ever you can. If you are a retailer that cannot open your doors to the public, be sure to stop any recurring deliveries. Adjust the thermostat depending on your climate. Reduce advertising to the bare minimum, and set aside the savings so you are ready to reengage with your market when this is over. Layoff non-critical employees if necessary. You can hire them back when this is over, but that won't be possible if you have to close your doors. There are no easy solutions, making tough choices now may allow you to stay in business over the long haul.
Third, use your website and social media to keep your customers informed. Delivery and curbside delivery are available to some companies that have been deemed non-essential (we know you are essential). Get the word out via social media and post updates on your website. Remember, we will need you when this is virus runs its course. People are spending more time online as they search for answers and entertainment. Keep them informed.
Fourth, look for new markets. Every societal change creates new markets. There is nothing wrong with filling a void or being the solution. We all appreciate an entrepreneurial spirit. If you can offer a service that people need, you may open up avenues to expand your business.
Fifth, stay in touch with economic groups and associations. The Chamber of Commerce may be a good place to start. Many are doing special promotions to help local businesses. Some State and Federal organizations are offering special loans and grants to help balance the scales a little.
Sixth, catch up. Catch up on all of the little things you have been dying to get done, but haven't had time to do. Take inventory, thoroughly clean or renovate your space. Be prepared, when this crisis is over, you will want to be ready.
Finally, help where you can. Even in the worst of circumstances, American Business Men and Women have a long history of being there when the country needs us most. During war-time, many businesses changed course completely to fill the needs of our military. If we each help where we can, it will make this trying time easier for all of us. If we roll with the punches, we can avoid the most traumatizing blows and still be standing when the final bell rings.