Let’s get the bad news out of the way: the Coronacrisis is going to negatively impact the global economy quite severely, and small businesses are going to face a disproportionate downturn—for no other reason than the fact that small businesses and SMEs do not usually have backup capital and/or governmental-investor support to tide them through a black swan event like this.
A great recession
The IMF has already said that the Great Lockdown – the term being used for the worldwide shutdown imposed due to the Coronavirus outbreak – will be “the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis”.
It has also projected that global growth will fall by 3 percent, which is a massive 6.3 percentage-point downgrade.1 Further, a National Small Business Association survey in the US found that more than 75 percent of small business owners are “very worried” about the impact that COVID-19 will have on their businesses.
Time to think
Amid such a harsh scenario, small business owners are being forced to take drastic measures just to survive. However, like the old adage goes, any crisis should be seen as an opportunity. To do what? To take stock, to innovate, to explore new avenues. For example, our line of work is mostly online or remote-based already, and team members are used to working from home. But that’s not true for many others who are now forced to figure out how to work from home. Similarly, certain other services that once relied entirely on physical stores to move their product are being forced to pivot almost entirely to e-commerce. All of this gives small business owners a very valuable opportunity to rethink and replan, rather than just get bogged down by all the bad news out there.
3 things small business owners can do
1. Focus on building your online presence
We have already spoken about the importance of building your own personal brand online, because this can hugely impact your business. Also, many small businesses haven’t spent enough time building up their website or social media pages. Some also may need to focus on SEO to get their back-end correct. These are all tasks that can easily be done from home, with services being sourced and provided remotely. So, instead of wasting time worrying about what’ll happen in the future, now’s the time you can spend on polishing up everything you couldn’t focus on when business was in full swing.
2. Explore new service avenues
Yes, you’re used to conducting your business one way. But now everything’s changed. This doesn’t have to be a doomsday scenario, however. You can use this downtime to figure out new and innovative methods to provide your services to customers. In fact, you can even try and figure out how to tap into an entirely new customer base that you may not even have considered before! These ‘upgrades’ can range from putting your full product range online to partnering with other companies that can augment your services and help you continue to get business.
Whatever you do, one thing is certain: the world – and business, by extension – will not be the same after COVID-19. So, now is the time to start thinking about how your customers’ needs and requirements would have changed once the lockdown is lifted. You may find that you need to only tweak your business model ever so slightly to cater to customers later in the year, or you may even hit upon an entirely new business model you never considered because there was no need to. Whatever the case, spend some time talking to your team members, as well as your friends and mentors, to see how you can be relevant as a business once the Coronacrisis is over and the world slowly begins to return to yet another new normal.
These are our two cents on how small businesses can survive this global pandemic crisis. What do you think? How are you ensuring that your small business will not only survive but thrive in the post-COVID-19 world? Let us know in the comments!
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Last but not least – Stay safe!