Three of the focuses of my blog are Current Events, Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. The Coronavirus has not only created a human health crisis, but also an economic crisis which business owner didn’t see coming. To be one of the businesses to survive this event and to continue generating profit, you’ll have to be very smart and vigilant. The following contributed post is entitled, Coronavirus and Your Business: Preventing Things From Going Bad.
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It doesn’t matter what your business sells, Covid-19 will have impacted upon it in some way or another. If you’re a smaller company especially it can be extremely difficult to navigate your way through what are essentially completely uncharted waters. Here are some things to bear in mind, and how you can prevent things from going bad.
Most kinds of businesses will have highs and lows when it comes to their profits over the course of the year. This is normal and can depend on things like public holidays and celebrations. For example, retail businesses usually peak in profits around Christmas time and can often drop for a while in the new year once everyone is spent out. The current pandemic is of course affecting just about every business, if yours has slowed down then it’s a time to start being innovative and thinking outside of the box for ways to promote and boost your profits as much as you can over this time.
Negative stories about you in the press can affect your business due to spoiled reputation, so be sure to think carefully before you respond. In more extreme cases, you might even want to seek legal help. Many companies have gained bad press over this time where they’ve inadvertently gone about things the wrong way with social distancing, letting staff members go, upping prices due to increased demand and a whole long list of other things. Once things have blown over you’ll need to rebuild your reputation and regain the approval of those who shop with you. Be sure to apologise, we’re living in unprecedented times and no one is going to get it right all the time. If you’ve slipped up or done the wrong thing, make it clear that you apologise for that and admit your mistake.
Many businesses have now had to make the switch to selling online, and this can come with some problems. Due to social distancing restrictions, warehouses that dispatch items are working to less capacity meaning things are sent out slower. There’s more demand on the postal service and courier companies so your customer will receive their order later than they’d usually expect. You might also have less customer service staff available to deal with queries so overall, customers may feel as though they’re getting poor service. The best thing you can do is put a notice on your website explaining the situation, while at this point most people will be aware of these things it ensures that people are buying and knowing what to expect. If it’s going to take a number of weeks for them to get their order for example then they need to know this from the get go.
When someone is injured or becomes unwell as a result of your business it can spell disaster for your company. And right now, we’re dealing with a virus that no one knows too much about so bringing employees back to work too soon could lead to an outbreak that you’re then blamed for. Make sure you have all of the right insurances in place to protect your business, and seek legal advice on any matters that arise. Be sure to follow health and safety laws to the letter, for example social distancing guidelines state that people should remain two metres apart. You’ll need to make changes in your workplace to accommodate this.
There are a number of ways people can steal from your business. The first is criminals actively taking assets from you, such as shoplifters stealing items, or burglars breaking into offices or warehouses. You could also come up against cyber theft, or even fraud or theft from your own employees. Another thing to be aware of is competitors stealing your ideas, if you’re worried about this being a possibility then look into stealth mode startups. This enables you a chance to get set up and running and protect your assets so that your ideas aren’t taken by others. You’ll need to protect your business both online as well as in person, as well as keep certain ideas under wraps until you’ve got things like copyrighting or patents in place.
We live in an incredibly fast paced world, even when things are normal before the virus, here technology ever evolving meant that once thriving businesses are left in the dark ages within a couple of years. Now that things have changed dramatically (and will likely stay this way for the foreseeable future) you have to be careful that you’re not rendered obsolete. There are certain businesses that people can’t use in the normal way at the moment, if you fall into this category it’s important to think outside of the box. Could you teach what you do via online lectures and presentations? Could you switch things up to offer customers what they need right now?
Things can and do go wrong in business which can lead to your venture failing, and in the current economic climate with the pandemic this is happening to many businesses (particularly smaller and newer ventures). Consider loans and government grants to keep you going, but be aware this won’t always be possible. While it’s hard to deal with now, you will have learned a lot through your failures. That way, later down the line when you’re ready to get involved in business again, you can build upon this knowledge and experience.