15 Business owners outline tips for small-business owners trying to survive Covid-19

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Both small businesses and big corporations across the world have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result of mandatory lockdowns, many small businesses needed to shut down and never reopen. Many people are struggling to survive because more than a half of the workforce is in the private sector.

How can your business survive during the pandemic? 15 Business owners share some key survival tips for small-business:

Amanda Thomas, Konstruct Digital

The number 1 tip I can give any business owner in relation to Covid: don’t cut your marketing budget. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you’re faced with competing expense priorities: staffing, operations, etc. If your revenue has dropped, it’s easy to see your marketing expense as in impersonal line on your profit/loss statement that can be trimmed.

However: your duty as a business owner and employer is to ensure the long-term success of your business. You owe that to yourself, your customers, your employees, your supplies & vendors.

So why shouldn’t you cut your marketing budget? One simple answer: deferred demand. Historically, any time the business world goes through a recession/depression there is always a rebound after. The businesses that maintain their marketing are well poised to capture that deferred demand when it bounces back.

The businesses that don’t maintain their marketing miss out on the deferred demand due to the amount of time it takes to build back up your channels and brand. Businesses that cut their marketing spend are more likely to fail after the recession is over than those that don’t. Let that sink in.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to combat the Covid recession, I’ve written an in-depth guide here: https://www.konstructdigital.com/seo/covid-19-impact-digital-marketing/

Chris Sloane, Heaviside Digital

Now that we seem to be on the tail-end of things here, it is helpful to look back at what companies that successfully navigated through did. Those who reacted quickly fared the best – cutting expenses, pivoting business models, and leveraging cash reserves where possible were great strategies.

The government-backed disaster loans were very helpful for many business owners, but many folks had a huge delay in receiving them. The lesson going forward is to run strong and run lean, and be prepared with a plan for future business interruption. If you know your revenue is going to drop 50% tomorrow, what are you going to do?

We had a pre-pandemic plan for such a drastic revenue event, and immediately put the first stage in place. Fortunately, more drastic measures were not necessary, but we were prepared to handle that. Having a business continuity plan gave us the peace of mind to make smart moves when faced with a difficult situation.

Francisco Remolino, Remolino And Associates Inc.

The COVID-19 pandemic put our personal and professional lives on standby, at least initially, while we reacted and adapted to the new reality. But, unfortunately, the situation has not been the same for many small businesses, especially those struggling financially before March 2020.

If you are a small business owner, here are five considerations for surviving and moving forward after the pandemic:

1. Depending on your industry, set up your own survival mode: Staying still, moving at a slower pace, or growing with the opportunities available;

2. Keep a close eye on expenses;

3. Collect as many account receivables as possible;

4. Apply to all financial aid and grant you can qualify;

5. If the business has debts:

• What types do you have: Unsecured, Secured, Government Debt?

• Have you provided a personal guarantee to any of those debts?

• Get informed about the options available to deal with your business debts, including small business loans, informal settlements with creditors, or more formal options like Proposal or Bankruptcy using a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

Nick Eversion, Startups Anonymous

Firstly analyze what your competitors are doing, the smart ones will innovate in ways you wouldn’t have thought off, this is a great source of ideas and info.

Secondly do the math, be very particular about the math, keep data and figure out what is profitable and what is not, maybe its not profitable for you to be open weekends? Maybe you should shut early on a Monday and Tuesday, the math never lies.

Third and lastly comply with regulations, not only is this a good thing to do for society but it will ensure you avoid fines, right now a fine is the last thing you want. Good luck.

Bill Bernstone, Marketplace Fairness

As always see what your competition is doing, its very likely that someone has figured out a trick or two. When backs are the against the wall people tend to be quite creative. I would even consider getting a group of similar business owners together and brain storming, this could be a difference between your business surviving or not.

On top of that I would ask all for discounts where you can, people rely on you for business (suppliers, property owner etc), nobody wants to see you go out of business. So just ask them for a discount to help you get through this tough period, you will be surprised the help you can receive.

Derek Jensen, Cashbytes

Trim your costs as much as possible. When your business is going well, you accumulate all kinds of monthly subscriptions – and now is the perfect time to trim them. Cut back to what you absolutely need right now. You can always rejoin the services once business picks up again.

 

 

Tommy Gallagher, TopMobileBanks

The last one and half years were tough for many businesses, especially for small businesses. Only a few industries showed growth, and most of the small business owners were challenged by the obstacles they never faced before. They had to show their best in adjusting to the new business environment and uncertainty.

I want to share X tips on how to survive the big lockdowns that we faced and still facing in many countries:

Stop any prepayments, even if you are getting a better price with it. The priority is to increase cash reserves.

Renegotiate prices with all the partners and suppliers, including your landlord.

Try to secure a bigger overdraft from your bank.

Research and apply for all the government small business support programs.

Adjust and continuously monitor your operational and sales flow to meet new challenges. Be ready to revamp it completely.

The main idea in such an environment is to survive long enough. And sure, those who can adjust and realize new opportunities will put a barrier from their competitor for years ahead.

Kas Andz, Kas Andz Marketing Group

To be honest, Covid-19 is one of the most driving things that had pushed eCommerce to develop 100x faster at the start of this decade.

Verily, the pandemic has brought losses to many people. Still, it has effectively sped up the opening of opportunities for the eventual alternative ways of doing things, especially business and the acquisition of goods and services.

With or without Covid, society would’ve grown fast to online ways. But the pandemic effectively rushed everything, and now, we are here.

The main tip I can give business owners to for them to adapt. Keep on acquiring the latest knowledge, and do not dismiss the new things that the “kids’ are doing.

Who knew that TikTok was going to be one of the leading players of the lockdown seasons? It became a vital business hub in 2020, and its naysayers were disproven.

Also, if you haven’t yet, go online – not just on social media. Build a stable and authoritative presence for your business – have a website.

A website can mean the difference between a business someone can trust and cannot.

Mohit Tater, BlackBook Investments

“Incorporate Cutting-Edge Innovative Technologies

Small businesses and entrepreneurs have realized how innovation isn’t just valuable, but essential in challenging times. It’s no longer enough to focus on the quality of service and trying to match up to the competition in the industry — but imperative to start using innovative technology like AI in customer service and personalization in the product line.

The businesses that get left behind are the ones that don’t get with the times and cling to older and “proven” ways of advertising and generating revenue. With the number of start-ups launching increasing each passing, the only way to get ahead of the curve is to embrace technological advancements.

Downsizing due to COVID19 might be a blessing in disguise for your business, especially once you realize how much of operations can be automated.

Kartik Ahuja, GrowthScribe

According to Yelp, around 60% of businesses were forced to shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also reports suggest that the pandemic might persist for few more years. What matters in these scenarios is figuring out ways to keep yourself and your business running.

Here are my top 2 secrets of getting consistent projects (even during the pandemic):

1. Become recession-proof:

The hack here is to not just rely on one source of revenue.

When something starts working for you in your business, you’ll eventually get a bit of free time; utilize that time in building new product(s) or service(s) for your audience.

In situations like Covid-19, even if one of your products go down, you’d still have other products to work on. This ensures a steady flow of revenue.

2. Save for the future:

The second hack here is to make it a priority to save aside a portion of your income (I prefer at least 10%).

Save it in a separate bank that you won’t have a debit card of (or any other online conveniences). This will help you to avoid touching that money and in building a financial cushion.

When you make this a habit, situations like pandemic won’t disrupt your business or life as you’ll always have funds to rely on.

Will Cannon, Signaturely

Automations are your friend

Your employees have been shown to be reliable, even during the pandemic. That’s why they should only be focusing on the work they need to do, instead of billing you for hours of boring and repetitive work.

Instead, delegate as much as possible to automations. Build chatbots to qualify prospects, solve simple queries, and redirect conversations to the right users. Make sure all your tools are working together through integrations or through tools like Zapier.

Automated targeted messages can even increase your business by proactively reaching out to potential customers and nurturing them, even after office hours. And, with automated customer service, you can increase your customer retention, and provide better customer service experiences.

By using the right automations, you can increase productivity, decrease expenses, and ensure your team is only spending time where they really need to.

Glenn Stiefenhofer, Penn Jersey

If your business has felt the hit from COVID-19 it’s more important than ever that you make first impressions count and turn interested leads into buying customers. Every time you meet a customer, online and in-person, you need to create a positive reaction.

Customers are still wary, and you may still be rebuilding your business. Small changes like the provision of sanitizer and published cleaning protocols help your customers understand and recognize your commitment to their safety when visiting your premises, shopping in your stores or meeting with your team. Promoting a safer environment is something all customers will appreciate.

People also want to see you’re making the extra effort. Putting time into your online presence as well as your physical premises really matters. Use the quieter moments caused by the pandemic to revamp your website, build your online marketing strategy and share valuable content with your customers. This will keep your business in their minds and make them more likely to turn to you when they need your product or services.

James Lee, Monetized Future

As a solopreneur who builds and operates niche websites for a living my main tip for surviving a global crisis like COVID-19 is: diversification.

I was lucky that I had a portfolio of sites that was diversified over a number of different niches. For example, if I had only done business in the travel niche, my business would have been affected negatively to the tune of 80%.

I do operate sites in the travel niche, but since only 10% of my portfolio is travel-related sites, my overall business was never at risk of falling apart.

Another way I diversified my business during COVID-19 was I started teaching people how to build niche websites. I leveraged my knowledge to create an additional revenue stream for my business. During COVID-19 this particular part of my business thrived.

Being diversified during the pandemic kept my main revenue center from ever being 100% at risk.

Ray lim, I-credit, Licensed Moneylender Singapore

During the first round of covid-19 lockdown in Singapore, there was a sudden increase in online competitors as compared to before. Being in the moneylending niche, SEO is tough – since cost per acquisition for each lead is high.

There was no advertising allowed, due to the ministry of law (MOL) guidelines. The previous SEO freelancer gave up due to the competitive niche, with my lead count drop as low as 50% from my normal months.

I took the time to source for a good, legitimate SEO and manage to secure and gave the business a new daily high. They are a bit more expensive than what I usual pay for, but the results show for itself.

My advice / tip would be to test & vet your freelancers before hiring them long term, knowing a bit of industry insight goes a long way in finding someone legitimate.

Shaurya Jain, Attention Always

What helped me a business owner was partnering up with non competing businesses in the same niche. I reached out to them via personalised cold email and talked to them how we could help each other.

Since most businesses were having trouble generating leads, we decided to send leads to each other exclusively whenever a client showed interest or required a service the partner sold.

By creating a small tribe of business people helping each other, surviving the covid 19 was made a bit easier.

For anyone who wants to try this, just get a list of leads from Uplead, verify the emails, and then write a personalised first line for each of the prospects so that you dont have to write the entire email from scratch for everyone. Then use a tool like mailshake to send the emails. Dont forget to write 2 follow up emails too for maximum effectiveness.

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Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.