The small business community is capable of so many incredible things. And it’s never been more obvious than now, during a time when many people don’t know when they’ll be going back to work.
Even though sometimes it may feel like it, know that you’re not alone.
Take a look at some of the best pieces of advice from other small business owners in our SB community that may help you get through the COVID-19 crisis.
1. Don’t feel like you’re going through this alone.
“You’re not alone in this situation. Thousands and thousands of businesses are going to struggle and ultimately close their doors due to this. Ultimately it’s important to be transparent with employees and get creative on ways to just survive. My business is actively seeking alternative revenue sources by leveraging our team outside of our core business. Anything to keep people employed and your business afloat without laying people off is worth exploring.”
-Nick K.; Technology Services
This pandemic may make you feel like you’re in a tailspin, but as other small business owners have pointed out, this is not going to last forever. Take a deep breath, allow yourself to panic for a little bit, and then mentally move on to the things you can control.
One business owner suggested finding a group of like-minded people to talk to, especially when you’re feeling stuck or frustrated. Figure out what’s working for them (like staying in contact with customers and suppliers) and what’s not, then see how that advice could potentially apply to your own business.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other business owners.
“Look to your circle of business friends that are in similar circumstances to see if possibly you can band together? referrals? resources? comfort ? Make sure you are up-to-date on all of the resources that are being made to you at the city, state and federal level. This landscape is evolving on a daily/weekly basis.”
-Laurrette S.; Pet Services
“Reach out for any help you need in the short terms, you might be surprised how much help is available, if you just ask. Form an alliance with other businesses near you (either geographically, or in terms of like-minded business owners) to get through this together. If you can build a team in this environment, you will feel better supported. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It comes from strength - the strength to do whatever it takes to get through this, and come out stronger and more supported.”
-Lei Lani L.; Engineering
Other small business owners can be a wonderful source of advice and feedback for you right now. At the very least, they can provide an empathetic ear if you need to talk to someone else who gets where you’re coming from.
A few questions you can ask other business owners:
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers, even if it’s only to vent about your frustrations and concerns.
3. Be open and honest with your customers.
"The best advice I can give you is to try your best to keep ahead of the supplies you need to operate your business. You're going to have to look high and low to stay in stock on the items you need to operate. Also, you will need to call, email, or message each of your customers and ask them specifically how they would like you to proceed with their products or services. Remember that each person is practicing social distancing, and you should address that with your customers to ease their minds. Get them to specify specifically which precautions to take, and reassure them that you have even more precautions you will take on-top of that.”
-Vincent V.; Landscaping Services
Keeping in touch with your customers is one of the best things you can do right now. Even if you feel like you have nothing to share, providing weekly updates about your business can keep loyal customers in the loop about how they can support you.
Use every available tool you have at your fingertips to keep customers updated about your business’s status, including:
Your customers want to be there for you. Don’t feel like you have to keep a stiff upper lip with them. Let them in on how you’re doing and if your business needs their help to make it through this crisis.
4. Don’t push the panic button; instead, focus on re-strategizing.
“The first thing that you need to do is relax and do not panic. I know things seem very difficult and overwhelming but this is the exact type of situation where businesses like yours can really thrive. As a business owner, it is imperative that you view this situation as an opportunity rather than a setback. This is a great time to review your operations and financials and look for new opportunities that are opening up for you and your specific business needs. Many businesses are taking this opportunity to increase their online presence… Just remember, always view unforeseen circumstances as an opportunity rather than as a setback!”
-Joe R., Business Consulting
“…Think a little if you could give your business a little twist and do what functions in this crisis, to think if your business that you do now could do something a little different but with the material and machinery that already has this could be anything that is a need right now.”
-Refugio D., Construction Services
“The best advice I can give regarding challenges in my business, is not to give up, get back to basics, seek information, get advice, remember this is not your troubled business, These are tough times. And those days often pass, and if they learn to work in difficult circumstances. Because it is not what happens, it is what you do with what happens to you.”
-Marcos L., Plumbing Services
You’re made of tough stuff. And I don’t need to know you personally to know that, because starting a business takes a lot of guts. You’ve probably already made your way through plenty of challenges in your time as an entrepreneur. COVID-19 may be a bigger challenge, but you’ve got the internal mettle and strength to make it through this.
Stay focused on what you can do to make your business last from week to week. Retweak your business strategies or look for ways to offer related services that are in-demand right now. Tap into that fearless entrepreneurial spirit that helped you make the initial leap of faith to start your own thing. That’s what’s going to get you through this!
It may feel like it right now, but this isn’t going to last forever. You’ll make it through this. You may learn surprising lessons from this. You may even discover a new opportunity to grow your business out of all of this.
But whatever happens right now, you won’t be going through it alone.
As another business owner beautifully put it:
“I think the fact that we are all in this together gives me a sense of community, faith and positivity. When I feel "down" about the future of my business, and really about life as we knew it just a few weeks ago, I remember that I am not the only one that's feeling this way. We are all feeling the same roller coaster of emotions from day to day, and even hour to hour sometimes…I do not have a huge fund to fall back on, but as I said we are all in this together and we will pull through. Have faith, hang in there and do some thinking outside the box. You may just do your best work ever.”
-Mary Jane K, Piano Instructor
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.
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