The effects of the coronavirus have been far-reaching, impacting people and businesses of all sizes across the globe. Many small business owners, both locally and nationally, have been severely and negatively affected by this pandemic, while many wonder when this virus’ impact will finally end. The degree of difficulty varies significantly and depends primarily on the amount of physical proximity and interaction required in order for the business to be functional in today’s world.
As small businesses begin to reopen, there are a number of actionable steps business owners can implement right now to build long-term success:
Long-term strategic planning: If liquidity and short-term money is sufficient, business owners have an opportunity to focus on their longer-term strategic planning. During “normal times” this activity is frequently postponed as day-to-day time-sensitive operations take priority. This is a great time to review and adjust the 2020 business plan as well as the three- and five-year plans. If it’s in the budget to create new positions within the organization, and hire people to fill them, it could prove to be rewarding and timely over the long haul.
Employee care: It’s critical, especially now, to go the extra mile for your employees and let them know that you personally, and the company, are available for support. Communication is essential. Video conferencing with employees is an important way to maintain much-needed human connection while social distancing. Do not underestimate the value of the personal connection with your employees; when times are difficult, they need to know you’re accessible and ready to help. Employees will always remember how you made them feel, and you want to be known as the one who lifted them up when they were feeling dejected.
Take market share: There has never been a better time to put your business on the offense. If the survival and maintenance of your business is under control, marketing campaigns to expand your brand can be both timely and powerful. Your competitors may be on their heels and unprepared for turmoil. If their customers sense that, they may be open to a relationship with a new service provider.
Check in with your clients: This cannot be emphasized enough. Every client needs to know you’re feeling optimistic and ready to assist them once you’re fully functional again. Conference calls, webinars, educational content and promotions can all be effective touch points. Staying visible and engaged is the key.
Remember to laugh: It’s important that we laugh and understand that difficult times can also be fun. It’s crucial that this be done in good taste, of course, because there are many people who are destitute and have lost loved ones to the virus. A lack of sensitivity is unacceptable. But finding humor during unconventional times, and amidst massive uncertainty and divisive opinions, can bring people together.
Steven Young is a Senior Vice President of Wealth Management for UBS Financial Services. He is the team lead for the Young Business Transition Consultants based in Indianapolis.