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Don't Fall Idle,
Stay Vigilant

by Paul Northway

In a normal economy, small businesses are up against challenging odds. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that small businesses will face unprecedented challenges, and it may be devastating for small business owners. Now more than ever, it’s important to actively work on your business to stay relevant. There’s no easy answer, but here are some business survival tips to help you stay focused:

  1. Don’t panic, stay healthy
    This can be tough when cash is running low, but your business needs you, now more than ever, to be healthy and focused. You may be facing tough decisions, so you want to be in a healthy mindset. You may not want to hear this, but it’s the obvious—eat well, drink water, exercise, rest, and get the emotional support you need. Ask your trusted friends and business partners for their perspective, keep an open mind, and realize that you’re not alone and things will get better.
  2. Stay on your game
    Though most of us are working from home these days, it is no excuse to stay idle. Stay connected with clients and continue building new partnerships and cultivating opportunities. Crisis management may very well create a ‘aha’ moment where you consider changing how you do business. Can your business model survive the changes from this COVID-19 pandemic? Will your clientle be the same, and how will they behave going forward? Do you need to operate digitally, offering products or services online? Can you implement new technology to help you operate more efficiently and better tell your story?
  3. Keep an eagle eye on finances
    It’s essential to be actively involved in your company’s finances. While your accountants and bookkeepers are likely very talented at what they do, leaders also need to deeply understand their financials. Schedule time to routinely check your bank accounts and view meaningful financial dashboard info. You will better understand the ebbs and flows of your finances and know when things are running off course, so you can quickly take action. Have a conversation with those you will need to pay in the next few months (suppliers, landlord, etc.) and see if/how you can spread out the costs. Given the situation, they will likely be understanding, as it’s in their interest to keep your business. Just be careful that the payment plan is fair and in your best interest. Also, look at your personal finances and control your personal spending for a while; put things on hold.
  4. Keep your clients
    One of the most important ways to keep your business healthy through this storm is to keep your current clients loyal to you. That means now is the time to overcommunicate, engage them and exceed their expectations. What can you do to better serve them during this time? This goes back to staying on your game, and possibly adapting to a new business model that better serves your clients’ needs in this new era, post-COVID-19.
  5. Utilize and share resources
    Share your perspective with current business contacts or on social sites like LinkedIn. Connecting with others who are in your shoes can help you forge new relationships and discover how others are adapting to change. What new approaches are you applying? Your shared methods for changing with the times could very well mean the difference between a bankrupt business and a thriving one.

There are a number of resources available to small business owners to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out our COVID-19 HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS landing with information and links to check out resources and apply online, topics like the SBA LOAN ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM, FRAUD MITIGATION, etc. are covered.

Though it may not feel like it, you have control over your business’ success, even during these trying times. Continue taking steps today that will fuel your business’ opportunity tomorrow. I hope you find these business survival tips helpful. Every challenging situation ultimately can make us better. It will break us down and beat us up and expose our weaknesses – but it will make us better if we have the resolve, self-awareness and commitment.

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