SMALL BUSINESSES AND SURVIVING THE PANDEMIC
The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 is now spilling over into 2021 and at least for the first half of the year, till vaccines are readily available for the billions in desperate need of the same. The pandemic which is the handy work of the novel coronavirus is the worst economic problem the world has faced since the collapse of the Lehman brothers firm in 2008.
Entire economies are on a downturn in varying degrees due to the lockdowns-imposed country-wise, the disruptions caused by hospitalization and deaths of millions of able-bodied people. No one has been spared the trauma be it airlines in Europe, mom and pop stores in Asia, or farmers in Australia. The world has been united bearing the hardships with the worst affected being the small and medium businesses.
Here are some basic suggestions for small businesses:
Social media – Join the social media bandwagon. Reach out to your customers and prospects by harnessing the power and reach of various social media platforms from video-centric YouTube, pictorial focussed Instagram, or information disseminating Twitter. Hire a company to manage your social media accounts in an effective and organized manner. A plan for monthly action helps with everything in a more organized way.
Evolve- Move with the times and offer products & services in tune with evolving situations. For example, food and beverage outlets can start getting into taking away and home delivery space to augment their sales in tough times. The same applies to grocery stores and so on.
Terminating employees - Laying off employees after considerable evaluation. This should be the last resort when all other means have been exhausted. Do it in the most congenial and honest way. If possible, offer a good severance package with a re-assurance that if things turn around, they will be back on the payroll.
Reducing overheads – This is a no - brainer. Reducing overhead expenses to survive the economic downturn in any country is the first port of call for a business of any size, let alone the small ones. Tightening the belt to ensure that a business rides the economic tsunami is the way. Small cuts add up in the long run.
TeamBuilding firm in Canada, which is a corporate team building company went virtual to survive. So instead of company getaways or in-person sessions, they now began to conduct virtual sessions using video conference tools. So, the firm with around 60 odd employees was able to make the best of a bad situation, and turn things around to their advantage. There are many such examples around the world. Many restaurants in India have tied up with delivery platforms and are doing rather well.
Many companies went underwater, some stayed afloat and many are bouncing back. It’s all about being practical, innovative, determined, and optimistic. We will all pull together and overcome this pandemic next year. Till then wear masks, maintain distance in public spaces, and wash hands every hour. Stay safe and be a good citizen. a