If you’re anything like businesses all over the world, then you’ve recently struggled to adapt to the worldwide health crisis. The crisis put a tremendous strain on businesses, many of which were forced to shut down entirely as a result. And, even once this crisis has passed, there is no guarantee that another crisis won’t pop up in the future. To handle this, or any other, crisis, there are a few things you can do to improve your business’s financial situation and help keep your business afloat.
Scale Back Rather than Eliminate
A common reaction to a crisis by business owners is to immediately cut back certain parts of their business. For example, they may lay off staff or cut out some of their services. Rather than go this route right away you should instead look for ways to scale back first.
As an example, let’s say your business currently offers same-day delivery. Instead of cutting out your delivery service altogether, you can instead offer delivery services once or twice per week. Or, instead of laying off employees, you can cut back everyone’s hours. This will cause less hardship for your employees and it will be easier to scale back up once the crisis is over. In some cases, serious cuts may need to be made, but if you can find ways to scale back rather than eliminate, you’ll be better off in the long run.
Work from Home
The next thing you can look to do is have more of your operations run from home. The nature of the recent crisis caused many businesses to start doing more of their business virtually and from home, but this can also be an effective strategy in any sort of crisis. When you shift your business online, you don’t have to spend as much money to run your office. Think about how much you spend just to keep the lights on at your office. Working virtually certainly comes with its challenges, but if you can get it set up, you may find it’s a more affordable way to do business going forward.
Sell What You Don’t Need
As you scale back your operation, you may find that you no longer need certain things in your warehouse or office. For example, if you scaled back your shipping options, you may not need as many packing materials or even delivery trucks. By selling off the things you’ll no longer need, you can bring a cash infusion into your business that will help hold you over until the crisis has passed.
There are a number of ways you can go about selling your things. Listing them online through sites like Craigslist or eBay is always an option. You can also contact other local businesses and see if they have a need for used equipment or materials. If you’re selling something along the lines of machine equipment, you can use a site like Machinery Network. Of course, you don’t want to sell anything you’ll need once the crisis is over, but if you can get a decent price for your extra stuff now, it can really help.
Look for Assistance Programs
In times of turmoil, there are always assistance programs available to help you – the trick is finding them. You can start by talking to your bank and seeing what alternative funding options they have available, or if they can offer any relief on the debts you currently owe. Another option is to explore government programs. For example, the Scottish government has several programs in place specifically for the coronavirus crisis, such as the Business Support Fund. Don’t be afraid to ask for some help during these tougher times and get the assistance you need.
Narrow Your Sales and Marketing Targets
Finally, during tough financial times, it’s tempting to reduce your sales and marketing efforts. However, this is the wrong approach. Instead, you’ll just want to be pickier about who you target. You can lower your marketing budget, but use it to directly target your best audience. And if you have to reduce the number of hours you conduct sales calls, be sure you’re spending that time calling only the best leads. Look at this crisis as an opportunity to identify your best targets and develop a strategy for marketing and selling to them only.
Focus on Keeping Afloat
The thing about crises is that they don’t last forever. You may not be able to tell when they’re coming, but if you can just keep your business afloat during that time, eventually they will pass. The key is looking for small ways to scale back and possibly getting some outside assistance. If you can do some of the items mentioned above, hopefully, you’ll keep your business around long enough to survive whatever crisis comes your way.