Keeping businesses afloat has been a great challenge for the past 2 months, and businesses all over the world are trying to adjust to the new normal. In the midst of a global crisis, entrepreneurs and C level executives are brainstorming ways their company can stay afloat past the crisis.
Local communities, nonprofits and governments are all trying to save small businesses from closure. If you’re a small business looking for ways to survive during this crisis, we’ve come up with a few simple ways you can start implementing right away.
- Check the criterias for federal loans or grants
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has several relief options for your business if it has been especially hit hard. The recent stimulus package that passed designates billions of dollars worth of aid to workers and small businesses alike. Under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), for one, a loan is given to cover eight weeks of payroll as well as other costs helpful in maintaining a viable business and in allowing workers to pay their bills.
In general, the SBA is an excellent resource to learn about the types of loans and grants available, how to apply for them, and eligibility. In addition, you can also call your bank to see what sorts of financial assistance you might be able to receive from them, including how to temporarily defer interest payments or outstanding debt, if any.
- Bring your business to the web
Kate Fryer owns a craft shop in Ballston Spa, NY, where she specializes in bead-making. Since the outbreak, however, her business has suffered greatly as a result of more and more people being urged to stay home in order to flatten the so-called curve. Like many others in her shoes, she’s turned to social media outlets like her Instagram page to stay closely connected with her loyal clients. Not only that, but she uses such platforms to sell her merchandise as well as to arrange curbside pickup and shipping.
Another example of this is a dance company located in Charleston, SC called Dance Lab. This is a business that relies heavily on foot traffic, as one might expect… heh. They recognized what is becoming a growing trend these days–especially now–of offering online classes to their customers. For a $50 membership fee, anyone from anywhere can get unlimited access to their catalog of pre-recorded or livestream classes. You can visit their website, where a schedule is posted of both adult or youth classes available, and take one that fits within your own schedule. The point being, they saw a niche in the market–of existing customers who enjoy dance and of potential customers who want to stay in shape while under quarantine–and found a way to make it possible (and profitable) by connecting with people virtually in this manner. What’s even more impressive is that they’re not just limited to locals, but they can now extend their reach even further to anyone who has a laptop, WiFi and maybe a decent pair of shoes (although I’m pretty sure footwear is optional.)
- Re-think your brand’s goods or services
Seattle-based restaurant, Canlis, is an upscale establishment known for its fine dining. Recently, the restaurant was forced to temporarily close its dining room doors due to the rising number of coronavirus cases. Instead of waiting around, wallowing in self-pity, or furloughing their 115 employees, brothers Brian and Mark Canlis decided to re-think their objective. Now they sell bagels for breakfast to keep their business up and running. Not exactly ‘on-brand.’ At lunch, they have a burger drive-thru, and prepare pre-packaged meals for dinner to be delivered to people’s front door steps with a bottle of wine in tow. The Canlis brothers were able to save their business, and the livelihood of their employees, while also be philanthropic in the process: they earn enough that they can provide free meals to healthcare workers who are taking care of sickly patients infected with the virus.
- Invest in some e-courses
If you are a business owner or employee with more time on your hands than you know what to do with, now is the perfect time to brush up on some online courses (MOOCs as they’re sometimes called), many of which are free now to encourage people to shelter-in-place. One is never too old or late to be educated in some area or another. Make the most of this time by upskilling and enrolling in business or digital marketing courses. This applies to anyone who may want to fill in any gaps in their knowledge, or who want to advance their career once the economy picks back up again.
- Consider telecommuting for your team
If at all possible, find ways to work from home (WFH). The best way to do that is by having an internet presence, if you don’t already. You can communicate with employees through popular video conferencing apps like Zoom, use social media accounts that are regularly updated and maintained to build a bridge between you and your consumers, or establish a website and set up shop that way. Depending on your type of business, there are a variety of ways to go virtual.
- Referral marketing program
Every sales made counts these days, so why not implement a referral program? If your customers will love your products or services, you can give them an incentive on referring your business to their friends and family. Referrals come to people naturally in conversations, and a lot of them are having conversations online now, so why not benefit from it?
Our referral program is free of charge and easy to implement. So if you had in mind trying a referral program for your business, now it’s the time to do it!
*in collaboration with Margaux Malekian