People and businesses are anxiously awaiting for the “stay at home” and “social distancing” lockdown restrictions to come to an end. People are wanting to get back to work so they can pay their bills. Businesses are wanting to open so they can pay their bills and serve the needs of their customers.
When businesses are open again, will they be able to pick up right where they left off when they were forced to close?
This question has every small business owner and their employees staying awake at night worrying about future of the business and their personal finances. As a former small business owner for 32 years, I have these questions for current small business owners:
- How did the pandemic lockdown effect your customer base? This is especially critical if the business targets a particular demographic.
- If your customer base was particularly vulnerable during the pandemic lockdown, do you need to adjust your marketing strategies, products or services?
- Do your payment options serve the needs of your customer base under the new realities?
- What is the debt load of your business? Can your business meet your debt obligations until your business gets back on its feet?
- What about your employees? Will you need the same number of employees or will you need to reduce your number of employees until your business gets back on its feet? How many of your old employees will not be returning?
- Can your business stay afloat due to the lag time between the time the product or service is provided until the time you are actually paid? This is especially critical when your service is provided over time. (Example: a contractor)
- How did the pandemic lockdown affect your competitors? Will you have fewer competitors? If yes, how can you attract the customers of those businesses that didn’t survive? Do you have a marketing and contact plan for those potential customers?
- Are you, the owner, in the right physical and mental condition to rebuild your business? Don’t fool yourself — you will be facing a new, different marketplace. People and businesses went without income for a month or longer. Money will be tight. Every sale will take more effort than it did before the pandemic lockdown. If you need help, get it sooner than later.
For some small businesses, receipts for the first 90 days may only be 50% of what it was the 90-day period before the pandemic lockdown. It will take a while for business and personal incomes to start flowing through the marketplace.
My sincerest hope is that you are or will be one of the survivors! If you have been in business for a few years, you already have the knowledge and skills to get you through this time of uncertainty. All you need to do is put it to use.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
— Steve Jobs