With the coronavirus outbreak around the world, businesses across all industries are faced with a big challenge of how to keep their operations going and how to thrive in uncertain times. When the government issued COVID-19 lockdowns, entrepreneurs are left with no other choice but to respond and adapt as fast as possible to ensure their businesses’ survival.
However, businesses are divided into two categories: essential and non-essential. Health care and transportation providers, grocery stores, banks, gas stations, and other businesses that are deemed essential are allowed to stay open during the pandemic. From a financial point of view, this is good news because their daily operations are not disrupted, and all they have to do is strictly follow health and safety protocols.
Unfortunately, for non-essential businesses, the case is more complicated because they are ordered to close down their offices and have their employees work remotely. Theaters, gyms, concert venues, and other establishments that are geared toward entertainment and recreation aren’t allowed to operate to prevent mass gatherings. To stay afloat during this global crisis, business owners have to be more creative and find a way to continue providing their services to their customers.
Due to the pandemic, the US economy came to a sudden halt a year ago. Based on research by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US gross domestic product fell by 3.5 percent in 2020. On top of that, there’s a spike in the unemployment rate as many people lost their jobs. Until now, companies of all sizes are still struggling to recover from the negative effects brought by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses: Top Three Challenges
Despite the rapid COVID-19 vaccine rollout happening all over the country, the risk of infection is still out there, and the fight against the virus continues for an indefinite period. As an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to wait until its complete eradication to run your business smoothly, so you must develop strategies and solutions that can help you address the challenges you are facing today.
But before you get into that, you have to identify and understand first the primary issues that you have to prioritize. To give you an idea, here are some of them:
Ever since the lockdowns started, all of your employees have to work from home. Of course, this sudden change of work setup requires adjustments, and your staff might take a while to adapt. With a distributed workforce, effective management is a must. You have to make sure that your team stays connected and productive while checking in on their health and well-being.
Building stronger customer relationships is much harder now with the lack of face-to-face interactions. You have to find a way to keep your existing customers and attract new ones. As a business, you can only thrive if you have customers supporting your brand.
Everyone is in survival mode, and to cope with the unforeseen changes successfully, you should always have a business continuity plan at your disposal. You must update work policies and procedures in line with the latest COVID-19 guidelines.
Three Effective Strategies to Grow Your Startup During COVID-19
You’ve probably heard the news of major companies filing for bankruptcy since the pandemic started. For any business owner, closing down their business is their worst nightmare. After all, they worked very hard to make it a success.
You might think that what’s happening to big brands scared off aspiring entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, in reality, it’s the opposite. In fact, there’s a surge in startups in the country, as reported by the New York Times.
Many of them have entered the food and beverage industry. Many homegrown brands are popping up everywhere and offering homemade products. Startup owners are making use of their background, skills, and interests to make a profit.
For example, those who are passionate about promoting a healthy lifestyle to their customers are exploring the idea of setting up a store that offers organic food products or starting a juice bar business.
Regardless of your niche, if you have a startup company, here are three effective strategies that you can use to help your business grow amid the COVID-19 crisis:
Invest in technology
Since your employees are working from home, they need online tools to be able to communicate with each other and collaborate on specific tasks. There are many free software options available, but it’s worth considering getting a paid one for top-notch features and fewer restrictions.
At present, online retail is the safest and most practical way for consumers. This is why, if you don’t have one yet, you should create an online platform for your business. You can create social media accounts for your brand, so your customers can stay in touch with you and get updates about your products and services.
Refresh your company image
The reputation of your brand is critical. Your customers will continue to support you when they know that you have their best interests at heart. Make sure that your marketing and advertising efforts are conveying the right message.
Running a business in the middle of a global crisis is tough but not impossible. Business resiliency is the goal that every business owner must achieve to be successful.