If you’re a business owner, you’re likely to be feeling a lot of pressure right now. Much of what’s been happening – from the economic shutdown due to COVID-19 to the fall in demand for products and services – is out of your control.
But there are some things you can do to manage the situation and ensure you come out the other side of this crisis in good shape. Here are some practical tips.
Take care of yourself
You need to be emotionally and mentally healthy to run your business well, so it’s vital to look after yourself. Take regular breaks from work by going for a walk or even playing a video game. Talk to family and friends. Join an online group of small business owners – they can be a support system and you can learn from them too.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. You can read about how to manage your stress in these difficult times at beyondblue.org.au. My Business Health also has resources to help you maintain your wellbeing.
Look after your cash flow
Cash really is king in a crisis. For your business to survive, you need cash to fund your day-to-day operations, and pay your debts and other obligations. And when the crisis is over, you must have liquidity to position your business for a rebound.
So, project your cash flow for the next few months to know if you need financing or have to hold off on any investments. The better you manage the money coming in and out of your firm, the more resilient your business will be.
Reduce your costs
Look for ways to bring down your operating costs. Start by reviewing inefficient or expensive processes. If you planned to buy a big-ticket item, consider delaying it. Or if your employees are currently underutilised due to a lack of business, talk to them about the situation. Can they take a pay cut and work fewer hours, or perhaps go on long leave?
Stay close to your customers
Some of your customers are probably also going through difficulties, so reach out to them to see how you can help. They might not need your service or product right now, but the fact that you remembered them will help you earn their loyalty. Stay close to the rest of your customers so you can quickly adapt to any changes in their needs.
Plan a makeover
Use this time to plan a makeover for your business. Consider whether you could diversity your products or services. Should you adjust your marketing strategy and messaging to the current situation? And is your firm or brand visible enough online and on social media? Perhaps this is a good time to spruce up your website.
And because two (or more) heads are better than one, involve your team or outside experts. A larger team might come up with more creative solutions.
Get financial support
Be proactive in getting assistance. Have you spoken to your landlord to ask for rent relief? You may also want to renegotiate the terms of your debt. And don’t forget that you can get financial support from the government.
Read about the types of grant that might be available to you or visit business.gov.au.
Remember, you don’t have to go through this crisis alone. Get as much help as you can.