Staying Ahead of the Game: Business Planning During COVID-19 and Beyond

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Key Takeaways

  • The coronavirus crisis has impacted almost all of us and small businesses are no exception.
  • Adjusting your business planning is key to making sure your company is ready to navigate the economic downturn. 
  • The coronavirus will pass – taking a proactive approach to managing your business will benefit you both now and in the future.

 

The coronavirus has been a sudden, unexpected challenge for almost all of us, both personally and professionally. If your small business has been disrupted and significantly affected by the crisis, you’re not alone. In fact, over 90 percent of small businesses have been negatively impacted by the virus.

With an abrupt economic downturn, you may have to adapt your business strategies. Here are some business planning adjustments to consider to help keep your company on solid ground today and on course for an even stronger tomorrow. 

Steps to Keep Your Business On a Steady Course

Revisit Your Business Plan
Your business plan is the foundation of your operational and strategic approach and provides a roadmap for keeping your business on track. With significant changes in the current economy, consider revisiting your current plan as you make adjustments for your business’s present and future. Like many small businesses, getting through this crisis may be your only goal right now, which is understandable. But to help you accomplish this, a modified business plan is probably needed. If you have not yet completed your business plan or need assistance revising one, you will find helpful tips in this eBook

Of course, you will need to share any new business modifications with your team. Let them know about your plans, outline their new roles and the expectations you have for them. When doing so, project a sense of calm – they are probably feeling very uncertain right now. Consider meeting at least weekly so that everyone shares your vision. In these times when so many of us are working remotely, utilize teleconference resources like Zoom and Google Hangouts to have face-to-face meetings even when you can’t be together. 

Develop a Short-Term Financial Plan
While every organization is different, most small businesses have the same critical costs such as office rent, staff salaries and utility bills. Suppliers also need to be paid. If you are having cash flow challenges, decide who you need to reimburse now then contact them to determine your options to set up possible payment plans. In all likelihood, you will probably be dealing with other small businesses that are facing challenges like yours. Be equitable. You are all in this together.

Not surprisingly, many businesses are seeing a big decline in revenue. Based on this, nearly 50 percent of human resource leaders are implementing company-wide hiring freezes. Depending on your financial situation, you might need to follow suit. Moving to a smaller, more affordable office is one option as is a co-working space.    

Along with your small business budget, you need to examine your own personal finances, which can have an effect on your business now and in the future. Control your spending and look at what costs are essential and what can be placed on hold. If you are not on a personal budget, now might be a good time to start.

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Seek and Accept Help
Being self-sufficient and independent is part of your DNA as a small business owner. It’s one of the main reasons you started your own business. Because of your independent spirit, you may be hesitant to seek help – don’t be. If you need to, explore assistance from the government and other outside entities.  

To assist small businesses, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides economic help to small businesses. Included in the legislation are updated business tax provisions, the Paycheck Protection Program and an expanded U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

As a small business owner, continue to remain proactive. Follow your state government social media feeds and be alert for timely relief updates. Check NFIB, a nonprofit voice for small businesses, for updates on new regulations. Continue to seek additional resources and ideas that can benefit your business, especially during this challenging time. 

Maximize eCommerce
Years before the coronavirus ever existed, digital commerce was rapidly accelerating. Now it is skyrocketing. In the new coronavirus economy, nearly 50 percent of consumers plan to do their shopping online. With in-person contact limited, shifting the majority of your business online will help keep the cash coming in during the crisis and beyond. eCommerce is also convenient and a welcome option for your customers, particularly in the present environment.

Keep reminding your customers that all their favorite products and services are available on your website. With your more people staying home, provide them with a discount or coupon to encourage online shopping. Consider promoting gift cards, which can give you an immediate cash boost while ensuring your customers will return in the future. Increasing your credibility with a professional business email account can also help you effectively attract shoppers who have made purchases from you before and may be the easiest to convert into repeat buyers. 

An online store has become a mandatory business tool. If you do not have an eCommerce site, Web.com can get you started.

Reallocate Your Marketing Spending
With so many of your customers’ housebound and trade shows and other in-person events no longer an option, how do you market your products and services to your existing and potential new customers? In this time of social distancing, you can close the gap by diverting your marketing budget into online marketing. 

Cost-effective search engine optimization (SEO) resources can optimize your website for online searches and make it easier for customers to locate you. The “findability factor” has never been more important and SEO will continue to be a smart investment once business returns to normal.  Keep pay-per-click (PPC) marketing in mind, too. Cost-per-clicks have dropped in recent weeks across all business niches, reducing the amount of money an advertiser pays a publisher. That gives you an opportunity to grab lost market share from other businesses that may be stepping back during the current crisis.

Proactively Plan for Today and Tomorrow

Due to the coronavirus economy, you should have an adjustable and adaptable business plan in place for the coming months. We will all get through this. These recommendations can help you gain stability now and plan for brighter days ahead.

 

Products mentioned in this blog post include:

 

Images:
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