While the ongoing coronavirus crisis has shuttered a lot of small businesses, others like the neighbourhood kirana (grocery) stores and chemists are having their moment in the spotlight.
What can you do as a small business to first survive and then thrive?
While the big players are facing supply shortages and logistics snafus, the friendly neighbourhood grocer has spared no effort in garnering stock and stacking up an impressive array of delivery options.
Other small business owners would be rightly concerned about their relevance when the crisis has passed. They need to be agile in order to make the most of the revive and rebuild period. As a small business, a crisis like this can hit hard but it also is an opportunity to adapt quickly.
We have experiences where some small businesses have rallied around to deliver products either in an online format or using local delivery services in case of an emergency.
If you’re a small business owner, here are five strategies to help you get back on your feet:
1. Tap into the relief infrastructure
Find out what help is available. Be on the alert for government notifications, news reports, and influencers that talk about the various forms of revival packages that might be available to you that you might be eligible for. These could be financial, technological or community-sourced and help you take care of unavoidable costs- staff salaries, rent etc. while you wait it out.
2. Restore cash flow
There may be a period where you may need to liquidate what you can to fund essential regrowth. This is, however, not a time to hold back on essential vendor payments who supplied you through the crisis period. Those relationships will outlast this crisis. Look instead to reduce non-essential costs that your business can do without, in the long run.
3. Systematically plan your comeback
Not all processes have to be up and running once again immediately after the lockdown is lifted. Reestablish your supply chains for the most essential or in-demand products and services first. This will help you drum up some more starter cash to invest downstream. Focus on renewing the rest later. This is the time to pay attention to your cash-cow business units.
4. Work with skeletal staff
Work with a minimal staff till you have enough cash and momentum to resume normal operations. Think B2B for a while. See if you can revise your product offerings to include products or services that other businesses will be in dire need of during their own rebuilding process. Network all you can to scope out these unique opportunities.
Also communicate with your customer base by a suitable method, like email blast or a newsletter to let them know how and when you are back in business. Make it easy for them to access your product and services.
5. Be an active part of the rebuilding conversations at a policy level
Once you’ve been there, survived that, it is time to take a more active role in rebuilding your community, and that includes all internal and external stakeholders. Your first-hand experience should equip you for taking part in conversations around policy change and updation after the pandemic has passed. Your involvement in the dialogue can help your business community be prepared for future crises.
We also strongly recommend using this time to ups kill yourself as much as possible. Several good webinars, resources and books are being offered for free during this time, and that’s an opportunity you simply cannot miss.
Identify key role-players in your company and sign them up for virtual events relevant to them. They will, in turn, contribute to your business as you weather this storm.