The pandemic has negatively impacted small businesses across the country. With COVID-19 still raging, many small business owners are finding it more and more difficult to stay in business. It does not help to know that most businesses are struggling. The decision to close your business for good is a difficult one. Before you take drastic measures, there are some small steps you can take to keep your business going during the crisis.
Reduce Work Staff
It may go without saying, but when you have fewer sales, you need to whittle down your staff. It is important to remember that you want to have your trained staff available and ready when business picks up. Note that there is a difference between a furlough and a layoff. A furlough is generally temporary and you will likely call the worker back when business picks up. A layoff is a final action that terminates employment. In some cases, you might need to close the business completely for a period of time while you re-evaluate your needs and determine how to proceed.
Look for New Revenue Streams
Many types of companies can provide some of their products or services online. You may be able to rethink your options to create a new optional stream of revenue. For example, you might be able to take your services on the road. One innovative hair stylist equipped a van as a mobile salon and took her business to clients. There may be some opportunities that you have not thought of before, so do not be afraid to think outside the box. Keep your eye out for ideas that other business owners in similar industries have tried.
Take Time for Training
Now is the perfect time to provide training for employees or take part in training yourself. You can put together some helpful training materials for employees so you can improve customer service and instill values that will help once the business regains momentum. You may need to add more departments and eliminate others. For instance, you might need a shipping department that was not necessary before, while you might not require a sales staff. Implement safe practices and provide employees with training and equipment they need to stay safe during this time. If you rent a space and are not able to maintain the business, you may need to close the brick and mortar building temporarily. Work with your landlord to see if you can pay reduced rent.
Prepare for Reopening
Whether your business is closed or greatly modified during the pandemic, there will come a time when life will return to normal. It is critical that you prepare for the new normal and consider how to respond to any consumer changes. Some types of industries may face permanent changes, such as movie theaters and cruise lines. Evaluate the way people are responding to your type of industry so you can make the necessary long-term changes to accommodate the next steps.
Seek Monetary Aid
Investigate the monetary aid that is available to your business. While the U.S Small Business Association ran out of funds for their initial Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), there may be other options available. Check the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center website frequently to learn about any new programs. The Small Business Association offers express bridge loans and debt relief programs that may still be operative. You can also learn more about the paycheck protection program (PPP) that is currently expired, but may be renewed with a congressional act.
Small business owners who are struggling with difficult decisions may have some legal questions. To learn more about business legal matters, contact our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, LTD online or at (608) 784-8310.