In less than 30 days, the Corona Virus has changed everything, including how we do business, like nothing we have ever seen in the modern world. The medical side of this pandemic is really BAD and scares the dickens out of most of us, but the impacts to people’s lives and livelihoods may end up being far worse.
Most people are still in shock. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Being cooped up is mentally and emotionally overwhelming, and just in case you have a moment to forget, you will be reminded by virtually every news source 24 hours a day. So, many business owners are wondering can my business survive COVID-19? The answer is yes, but you need get started, even if you are mostly or completely shutdown.
So, what can you do now?
Start with your mindset. You need to develop a wartime mindset. Your livelihood is being threatened and as a result your way of life. You also need to protect your mindset from people who are not being productive or are not adapting. They will just bring you down when you need to focus your energy and time on moving forward. This doesn’t mean you are heartless. It just means when it comes to your business you need to be clear in thought and have the ability to focus your attention on the job at hand.
Financial Wherewithal. When it comes to business, spend thoughtfully. Better to be prepared for things to get worse from an economic perspective. When things do get better, you will be even further ahead.
Consider all the options available from the stimulus package that was just passed. There are many programs out there to help your business such as the Paycheck Protection Program, Payroll Tax Credits, Disaster Loans and SBA loans, as well as changes to Unemployment Insurance. However, the Bill is over 800 pages and there is a tremendous amount of detail. It is important to identify which are the best programs to apply for depending on your specific situation as there are restrictions and not all programs can be combined.
I am part of a network of CPA firms across the country that have been working on this literally since it came out. There have been changes, in some cases, multiple times a day. As you can imagine, it’s very fast paced, and we are still waiting for guidance on some issues. To help businesses navigate through all the chaos, my firm as well as others, are offering COVID-19 consulting services to help clients better understand not only what programs are available but also help determine which programs work best for specific client situations and what is needed to apply. I would mention that you do not have to hire a consultant, but it is very detailed and can be very confusing. As always you should weigh the pros and the cons and make the best decision for you and your business.
Next, ask yourself a fairly simple but important question.
What must change for my business to survive and better yet, thrive?!
Believe it or not, many businesses are thriving in the new world. Sure, everyone knows about AMAZON, Walmart, HEB, Clorox, Toilet Paper and Purell, but many other businesses are also surviving such as restaurants, HVAC companies, plumbers, fitness and yoga studios, marketing companies, musicians, cleaning companies, and many, many other lines of business.
The world has indeed changed, and you are more than likely going to have to change with it. Social distancing will likely be in place in some form or fashion for a while. People that are most at risk will more than likely continue to take precautions to self-quarantine. This means millions of seniors and people with medical risks can no longer live the way they did before. Is there an opportunity for you to serve this segment?
Get Creative. Now is the time to get to work! The key is being creative and finding new ways to service customer’s needs and promoting it. You need to identify where the opportunities are, and you need to get a plan together.
For example, an automotive repair shop I know is offering free pick up and delivery service for clients. They also have a COVID-19 policy in place for employees when they are in the cabin of the car AND they disinfect the steering wheel, door handles, console etc. before they return the car after doing the service AND they are advertising it on social media.
Another example is a marketing company that is focusing on helping restaurants market take-out and delivery online and through social media. They are now considering offering discounts for seniors, including gift certificates that can be given by their kids and grandkids, which is something they have never done before. Additionally, they are looking at promoting a weekly delivery that comes with a COVID-19 discount.
In every crisis, there is an opportunity to serve others. Those that do it best will thrive. You have to think differently. One of the best ways to flush out ideas is to start by asking yourself several questions and develop a plan of action.
Take a few minutes and think about the questions below and get your creative juices flowing. Then identify two or three key things you can do and get going. Now is a time you need to work on your business, not watch another episode of Tiger King on Netflix 🙂
YOU know your business. YOU know your customers. YOU can do it!
1. How has the Corona Virus affected your business?
2. Are sales down across the board or just one particular area?
3. Are your competitors being affected the same way you are? If not, what are they doing differently?
4. If social distancing continues, how will it affect your business?
5. How will it affect your customers business? If you can figure out ways to help your customers survive you are also helping yourself.
6. How can what you do be of service to others that are dealing with COVID-19?
7. Are there other ways to offer what you do in this new environment? Can you work remotely? Can you offer delivery?
8. Do you need to be more diverse with the types of customers you sell to? If your business has been impacted because the main industry you service has been crushed, what other industries can you focus on?
9. Are there types of customers that may be less affected by this crisis? How can you market to them?
10. If clients are concerned about COVID-19, what are you doing as it relates to your business to deal with it, like the Automotive shop above did.
11. How can you use social media and referrals to promote your business?
12. Are there any other businesses you can partner with to market to clients together?
13. How can your service help someone deal with the crisis in a better way? The automotive shop is addressing people’s concern by having a COVID-19 policy and advertising it. What is your COVID-19 policy?
14. Can you offer COVID-19 promotions or discounts and pre-paid services?
15. Can you offer additional products or services that may be in higher demand in the environment we are in?
I am sure you can come up with many more questions, but you get the idea. Once you have a plan in place and begin to take action, you also need to think about how you will move your business forward once we have a treatment or vaccine and things return to “normal”. The goal is to be ahead of the curve and ready to strike. Those that have considered their options, developed a plan and execute the most effectively will not only survive, but likely thrive in the new business climate.
Yes, this may be the most challenging time we will face in our lifetime, but there will always be problems to face and what seems like insurmountable obstacles. History shows us that we are not only capable, but in many cases, unstoppable when we put our minds to it.
I am sure you have heard of the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?” One could say that the answer, “One bite at a time”, is oversimplified, but nonetheless true. Sometimes you have to accept the reality of a situation. More importantly, only you can decide how you are going to react to it.
If you are interested in learning more about COVID-19 Consulting services, please contact me Terry@TerryKleinCPA.com
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