With the spread of Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) throughout 2020, this year became a difficult year for business worldwide. Forced quarantine saw people staying home as frequently as possible. This translated into many non-essential businesses being forced to either severely limit opening hours or to close altogether as infections spread. Businesses left standing can count themselves lucky to have avoided the worst of the pandemic. However, the challenges that lie ahead in the wake of Covid-19 loom large over businesses large and small. While billions of vaccines may bring an end to disease and death, 2021 will offer an uphill battle to business owners attempting to rebuild from the ashes of a turbulent year. Here are 6 ways to overcome the ravages of Covid-19 and ensure a brighter future for your business.
Quantify your losses – Before taking steps to remedy the destruction Covid-19 visited on your business, you need to undertake an honest assessment of the damage. This means that business owners must begin with a hard look at the numbers. This is a good time to gather your business’s hard data, including profit and loss statements. Comparing these numbers to the previous year’s will help illuminate how far your business has fallen. Apart from paying attention to dollar amounts, you may also want to take stock of other ways the pandemic has affected your business. For example, how employees you’ve had to let go and reductions in advertising budgets.
Adjust your business plan – The pandemic created new ways for people to access goods and services. What this means for business owners is that carefully crafted business plans may no longer drive the revenue owners once enjoyed. Putting it simply, what worked before may not work now. Business success in 2021 means finding a way to overcome the negative effects of the pandemic. For example, brick & mortar stores that previously relied on foot traffic may have to explore and expand online solutions to drive sales. However, it is also important not to view your business or your industry in a vacuum. There is much to be gleaned from an honest examination of the impact the pandemic has had on other businesses in your space as well as the industry on the whole. Lastly, whatever your new business plan looks like, make sure that it is in the first instance, realistic.
Trading – Investing is not just about personal wealth and finance. It is also a worthwhile endeavour through which your business can ensure its prosperity. There are many ways for your business to get involved in trading, such as investing in cryptocurrencies or investing in forex. Unfortunately, trading has a reputation of being difficult to understand and as a result, difficult to get into. However, it need not allow these barriers to prevent your business from exploring its full potential. You can also engage in a social trading tactic where you attempt to mirror the more experienced and knowledgeable traders’ trading decisions. Investing your business’ cash reserves will help your company grow even when you aren’t actively working.
Explore financing – Admittedly, this option may not be available to everyone, but accessing financial help may be the best tool at your disposal for ensuring your business has a promising 2021. Unfortunately, accessing funding is often easier said than done. Lending institutions, already tight-fisted before Covid-19’s arrival, routinely rejected as many as 80% of all small business loan applications. Now, these lending institutions are even less likely to lend money to the small businesses that come knocking. This becomes even more true if your business carries a significant debt. And it’s not just banks that are hesitant to lend. Less lucrative avenues, such as credit card companies, have been capping limits. Overall, there is a heightened awareness of risk and financing. As difficult as it was to obtain capital in the pre-pandemic years, it is now near impossible. However, all is not lost when it comes to obtaining financing for your business. Endeavours like the Paycheck Protection Program are designed to help small businesses get back on their feet. However, despite your funding source, you must consider the feasibility of hanging more debt on your company’s ledgers.
Seek an expert opinion – As a small business owner, the reasons why your business suffered heavy losses during the pandemic may not become immediately apparent. It may be a loss of foot traffic; it may be customers’ shift to online purchasing. But the truth is, you may find it difficult to identify the real reason why your business faltered. Likewise, the remedy could elude you until you have someone knowledgeable examine your operation. Without a doubt, this will prove to be a crucial step as understanding the areas of your business that needs addressing will ensure a quicker return to profitability. An expert can more quickly and pointedly identity the issue your business is facing and recommend one or several remedies.
Prepare for the next crisis – One lesson we’ve all learned from 2020 is that crises can materialize out of thin air. No one could have predicted the emergence of Covid-19. Even if it were possible to predict, no one would be able to guess the havoc it would create. This is why it would be remiss of any business owner not to create a plan for the next time your business is face-to-face with a crisis. A carefully crafted plan can help insulate your business from future calamities. There are many options available to business owners, such as building a cash stockpile, eliminating debt, and reducing wasteful spending. However you go about this, know that a single plan may not suffice. The future of your business may depend on your ability to think out of the box
2020 has been a tough year for businesses around the world. However, the circumstances that plagued your business won’t magically disappear when 2021 rolls around. A return to profitability is going to take planning and a lot of patience. But there is no reason why your business can’t enjoy a better year in 2021.