10 Points to Help Your Business Survive COVID-19

WHO (World Health Organisation) has declared the COVID-19 virus as a global pandemic. A global recession is expected and unfortunately the COVID-19 is already impacting worldwide economies. In Malta the most visibly hit have been businesses in the travel, hospitality and entertainment-related industries. However, the economic hit is expected to grow as consumption of certain services slows. Here we discuss 10 points that can be vital to your small business to survive a possible prolonged slow-down period:
  1. Cashflow: First and foremost, think about your cashflow. Unfortunately, with an expected drop in sales, you need to think about your financial commitments. Communicate with your suppliers if you think you will default to arrange new terms. Also negotiate with your bank in case of bank loans and overdrafts.
  2. Financial reporting: In such tight situations, knowing where you are and anticipating where you will be financially, is of utmost importance. Ensure that financial reporting continues to reach you on time. Also ensure that you are billing and collecting your money.
  3. Cut costs: If you anticipate a drop in sales or cashflow issues, look at reducing your overheads and cutting unnecessary costs. Immediately, identify unnecessary expenses and encourage your employees to propose other measures.
  4. It is time to get creative!!: Not everything should be negative. Perhaps it is time to diversify and generate sales from new channels. For example, it may be time to put more emphasis on online sales channels. Do not miss out on networking online and have more online meetings. If you are in retail and do not do home deliveries, perhaps it is time to consider it…..
  5. Workforce capacity: Ensure you have enough workforce. It may require shifting some resources to areas where you lack capacity or look at re-utilising idle staff in other areas.
  6. Training: Building further on points 4 and 5, to ensure business continuity it may be the time to train employees, so that they can cover certain critical roles. Expanding further, cross-training your employees in several areas may also ensure that your business can continue to function even when you have prolonged absenteeism.
  7. Supply Chain: If your products or services depend on suppliers, monitor closely if they can keep delivering their service to you. If you don’t already have them, put contingency plans in place to ensure a constant supply of your requirements to safeguard the delivery of your services.
  8. Contingency Plan: Develop a contingency plan that extends beyond your suppliers. Thinking about your workforce for example, encourage working from home if your type of industry and your technology allows it.
  9. Behave ethically and safeguard your reputation: Resist the temptation of artificially inflating your prices in order to earn a quick buck. Whilst being an unethical practice, also be aware that in the long run it will harm your reputation. Your clients will remember that when your services were required you increased your prices exploitatively. However, if your prices increased due to increased expenses, make sure to communicate that clearly so that you do not harm your reputation.
  10. Seek professional advice: If your business has already been impacted or you anticipate that it will be impacted seek professional assistance, in order to safeguard your business.
In thinking about our businesses’ longevity and coping strategies in this global crisis, let us never forget the people impacted by COVID-19 and their families as well as the healthcare and other professionals working long, stressful and dangerous hours to protect our communities. Let us not forget the sterling service they are giving us all.