Worried about your business? NOW is the time to Corona proof and move your admin, marketing and maybe even some of your sales ONLINE. Here’s how!
Last week our PM announced his stimulus package to help Australia get through the economic trouble with COVID-19. Small businesses that employ staff will get 25k through the BAS system and low-income earners on government payments will get $750 apiece. But in between these groups lie the sole traders with no staff. Which includes the mobile handyman or hairdresser and the huge number of freelancers out there!
Of course, one stimulus payment is not going to save all your cash flow problems, especially since we don’t know how long it will last. But every business should be working on a plan to ride out these tough times, especially the micro businesses out there.
As you no doubt already know, it’s not just the virus that is a concern. It is the hysteria driving investors to withdraw their money, the panic buying at supermarkets and the social distancing that all pose a challenge for small business.
We know ‘this too shall pass’ but what we don’t know is exactly how long it will last.
If your small business does not already have a plan, here are some tips on how you can ‘Corona proof’ your small business.
First, consider 3 questions:
- How will it affect me if I or a staff member becomes ill or needs to self-isolate?
- What could it look like long term?
Consider where your primary income streams are coming from, and the impact of further measures for social distancing.
- How can I prepare?
If you answer question one and two, you’ll have a good base to start creating a plan to get through the next few months. The main focus of this post is how you can ensure your business will weather the economic strain, keep reading!
Here’s some of the best things that every small business needs to do NOW to stay ahead.
1. Do your financials & trim the fat (if you can).
If your accounts are only done to prepare for BAS, you might not have accurate reports to base any financial decisions on. Nuff’ said.
If you notice any spending that could be reigned in, do it and put those funds aside for any tight cash flow weeks ahead. But only reign in spending if it is not directly contributing to your business income or growth.
2. Develop a hygiene plan
If you deal directly with the public, consider what safety processes you can implement now to do your part in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
- Increase your cleaning routines for anything that is touched, door handles, bench tops, massage tables, eft machines etc
- Opt for card-payments only if you can, and ask customers to use paypass or direct deposit where possible
- Limit personal contact, and encourage hand washing and any other relevant good hygiene practices.
- Cross-train staff, so that if one person falls ill and needs to self-isolate you can still keep working
- Consider any events you have planned in the next few months. If they can be postponed,
3. Communicate clearly with all people who engage with you
Tell people your plan.
Use social media, email lists, in store signage and any other means you have to tell your staff and customers what you plan to do! This will help customers feel safe when visiting you and help prevent excessive loss of bookings/sales.
4. Review your supply chain and consider any delays you may experience.
If you retail products or have supplies your business requires to operate, consider how they may be affected. It may be unavoidable, but if you clearly communicate with your customers, they will understand.
5. Get your butt online.
Think about it, if ANY small part of your business can be operated solely online, you have a potential back-up cash flow avenue! Plus, no one knows how quick things will recover, so even after this COVID-19 situation it will help future and corona proof your business.
Even though some of these ideas will take time to get set up, they could be what keeps you in business over the long-term. And if you’re quarantined at home, you’ll have the time to work on it!
You could consider;
- Retailing your products online, even if you only have a handful of complimentary products. For example, a Chiropractor that sells posture supports etc.
- Offering training or consulting services via video conferencing
- For hairdressers, manual therapies or other personal services that must be done in person, you could consider home visits. Just ensure you clearly state your boundaries regarding sickness and hygiene.
- Building an online membership site, where customers pay you to view/read restricted content. Eg, a yoga studio might create a beginner class series that clients can do from home.
- Create an eBook or other educational resource to sell. If you’re a handyman, you could create a step-by-step DIY project instructional – this type of content is already getting more searches online because people are BORED stuck at home and looking for things to do!
- Moving your business administration/accounts online, so you and your admin team can work from home
- If you rely on foot traffic and word of mouth for marketing; get used to social media! It’s basically the same thing only more powerful and capable of reaching many more people.
- You’re a smart, entrepreneurial cookie. So in the unlikely situation where no aspect of your main business can be done from home or online, you could also consider your personal interests:
- Love to sew or crafty? Great! Make something to sell on Etsy
- Good at fishing? Great! Sell some secrets for your local area; best spots, lures/tackle etc.
- Amateur home chef? Cheap, bulk recipe searches are off the charts right now as people lose their minds preparing for any future quarantines. So get some recipes online and share your skills!
That’s great Kirsty, but where am I meant to get the $$ to invest in setting up online!?
This is the part where I offer our help to do this. If you’ve ever looked at web design before, you’ve likely been quoted thousands for a top-notch site. Or a couple hundred bucks and a carton for something your teenage relative could throw together!
The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is very true with website development. But that doesn’t mean you should get a loan and pay 10 grand for a website if you’re only just starting out. Nor should you pay chump change and get something less professional.
Thorn Creative specialise in helping small businesses, just like the ones excluded from the stimulus package. We work with the little guys, just like you.
We can offer payment plans to help ease cashflow during these tough times. And until the end of this financial year, we will beat any price quoted by a full stack, in house agency by at least 5% (probably more, they usually charge more than we do on a normal day!).
Request a quote now, or chat with us on Facebook to find out more about what you can do with your business online.
You’ve got this. Don’t believe me? Well you read this far didn’t you? Just that alone means you’re already thinking and willing to put in the effort for your business.
Just keep swimming.