As the number of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths slowed, much of the US began reopening to stimulate the economy. Shelter in place restrictions were relaxed, non-essential businesses are allowed to open, and health and safety practices were implemented to safeguard the general public. For financially-strapped companies, this was welcoming news.
Weeks later, however, small businesses are barely getting by. Consumers either have tighter budgets and aren’t as eager to spend money on anything non-essential, or their fear of exposure to the coronavirus keeps them from venturing out. Consequently, sales still aren’t where they used to be. Should this pattern continue, entrepreneurs are going to have to make some tough decisions.
If you’re among the many small business owners struggling amid the pandemic, there are some strategies you can try to stay in the game. Continue reading below for suggestions.
Did you miss out on the opportunity to obtain a loan from the government for pandemic relief? Fortunately, there are still ways to get the money you need to continue operating amid the health crisis. Several local businesses have taken advantage of the NY small business grants offered by the New York Small Business Development Center. The best part about these programs is that the money never has to be repaid. As everyone is in need right now, the sooner you apply, the better your approval chances.
With sales at an all-time low, companies have to learn how to stretch the budgets further. Eliminate anything from the budget that isn’t necessary and negotiate better arrangements for things you need. Reach out to lenders, creditors, and vendors. Most companies already have flexible options for customers who have been financially affected by the pandemic. They may be willing to eliminate late fees and penalties, lower your interest rate, or customize an affordable repayment plan.
Small business owners that extend credit or offer monthly installment plans to customers are likely finding it difficult to receive timely payments. Though delinquent accounts create a cash flow issue, using harsh collection practices to convince customers to pay won’t be effective. Compassion and flexibility are a must during these uncertain times.
Keeping in mind that many people are financially taxed at the moment, you can offer smaller monthly payments, customize account settlement options, or give discounts to anyone that pays in advance. As customers take advantage of these opportunities, your outstanding invoices get paid, and you secure the funds you need to continue running the business.
Business owners are encouraged to research other avenues to generate revenue. For example, if your local restaurant is barely hanging on, you can offer online cooking classes, catering, or personal chef services. These new services will attract the attention of people looking to add variety to their weekly meal plans, organizations hosting outdoor gatherings, and overworked essential personnel who merely need a break from cooking.
Lots of businesses looking to remain intact amid the pandemic have started outsourcing various services and tasks. Using the example above, a local restaurant could see an increase in sales if they offered delivery. While you may not be able to afford to pay in-house delivery drivers, there are companies like Doordash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub that can take care of that.
Businesses that sell merchandise have outsourced delivery services to companies like Postmates, Instacart, and Amazon to get customers their orders. A lot more convenient than traditional online shopping, consumers get their things the same day they placed an order. They can remain safely at home, and your business continues to thrive.
As the financial struggle continues for small businesses, shutting down remains a reality that entrepreneurs may have to consider. Though there’s hope that the federal government will offer more funding for entrepreneurs, it could take some time to receive. Therefore, if you’re going to survive these economically challenging times, use the suggestions mentioned above to secure your business.