7 Business Solutions In Response To COVID-19
Many small businesses are under pressure, and access to the right advice is crucial.
Kawal Preet unearths the tips that matter most right now.
But – sifting through an avalanche of content is increasingly time consuming and can lead to information fatigue. How do you filter out the small business advice for you?
Here are our 7 tips for navigation:
1. Right now, there’s an abundance of small business resources – you just have to know where to look
National and regional chambers of commerce or economic forums tend to offer resources and thought leadership in tough times. Traditional institutions such as banks, unions or trade associations will also have experience shepherding businesses through crisis. Reach out.
Don’t say no to help for your business – personal initiatives such as mortgage holidays or childcare concessions could also ease the load financially and emotionally.
And if you don’t have all the answers, reach out to those that do. You can network with peers in a similar position in free webinars, or even start a chain of dialogue on LinkedIn.
2. Allocate energy for your wellbeing – and those close to you
Many businesses are also seizing the opportunity to spring-clean outdated processes, simplify internal bureaucracy and streamline solutions, freeing up vital time to either grow the business in new and exciting directions or – of course – spend time on self-development, employee bonding or being with family.
3. Maintain liquidity – weigh up your options for releasing cash flow
Credit companies and lenders will be placing company spending habits under close lenses, so make sure yours stands up to scrutiny. If you operate across borders, understand regional initiatives to stimulate business – as well as barriers to trade that could potentially hold you back.
4. Lean on loyalty
So, don’t put on a brave face if your reality is much bleaker. Many customers have resorted to crowdfunding, refusing refunds or purchasing future credit with a brand they love rather than see it go out of business. Genuine requests for help on social media have often been absorbed by a sympathetic and pragmatic audience. Some companies have launched COVID-19 crisis loan programs.
5. Communication is crucial
During a crisis, it’s just as important to communicate internally as well as externally. Uncertainty and physical disconnection can place strain on a business, exposing the risk of key talents deciding to leave.
To help allay the anxiety of team members, FedEx implemented a step-up in employee communications throughout Asia Pacific, so that no one drops out of the loop. Since the Lunar New Year, we’ve sent weekly employee updates, each a different snapshot of how employees are going above and beyond in an effort to deliver the FedEx Purple Promise of making every customer experience outstanding.
The updates recognize the human effort necessary to maintain business continuity for all FedEx customers vulnerable to supply chain disruption. The response has been phenomenal – employees love to see their colleagues’ efforts recognized.
6. Remind yourself – and your customers – about available tech
Driving customers toward online solutions is a no-brainer at any time, but during a time of social distancing, it is imperative. Improve customer convenience using technology, such as stocking more options for customization or fuller ranges online. The importance of digitization can’t be overstated – maintaining customer access to your product is crucial for businesses to survive.
And if you’re thinking big, don’t overlook the emergent tech that can help you map a more intuitive business model. Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft Corporation believes that AI has become the most critical technology of our time – and the data that powers it will be the 21st century’s most valuable resource. Early consultation with a tech partner could help future-proof your business for the long term.
7. Flex your business model – don’t get left behind
Singapore ride-hailing firm Grab, which operates in 8 countries and 339 cities in Asia, has suffered from social distancing and stay-home measures driving down demand for transportation. However, CEO Anthony Tan believes that Grab’s new diversified approach — food and grocery delivery, ride-hailing, payments — has helped it adjust to the new normal and attain stability and liquidity during the coronavirus pandemic.
Though all your instincts might be telling you to be cautious, that now is not the time for risk, it could actually be time for a seismic shake-up. Those that have weathered the crisis best have made tough decisions, quickly, for the greater good of all stakeholders.
According to the World Economic Forum, around 60% of global CEOs believe recovery from COVID-19 will be U-shaped, with a long period between recession and upturn. It’s a time for both legacy firms and more agile, lightweight start-ups to embrace more unusual ways to survive.
Want to find out more about our business continuity approach during COVID-19? We’ve set up a brand new page to keep all of our customers informed: http://fedexbusinessinsights.com/en/healthcare/coronavirus/