The Small Business Survival Guide During the COVID-19 Pandemic

American SMEs are among the businesses hardest hit by the global health crisis. Here, we present advice to these smaller companies on how best to endure the coming months.

In a matter of weeks, a booming economy has come to a screeching halt. As of March 30, roughly 3 in 4 Americans are under a stay at home order. Nobody feels this pinch greater than small and medium business owners. They have to keep employees under salary while receiving a fraction of their former incomes.

The next couple of months are going to be tough on businesses. But it is possible to weather the storm and come out on the other side. Here’s how:

1. Find Sources of Liquidity

Small companies are particularly reliant on cash flow. A bad week of sales or an unexpected bill can be damaging enough, let alone being forced to shut down entirely or shift to remote workers. Overhead costs, including payroll, rent, any utilities, leave little cash remaining for companies. It’s especially evident in the first five years of a firm’s existence.

One proposal that’s likely to see approval is the “Small Business Workforce Stabilization Fund.” The treasury would forgive loans provided to businesses that were solvent before the pandemic. But only as long as they rehired the same number of employees within one year after the end of it.

This programme will establish immediate access to cash flow. It can help to keep employees on salary and give them the tools they need to grow after the pandemic ends. It also increases the SBA loan size from $350,000 to 2 million dollars.

Pay attention to these and any other opportunities that come your way. Even if your business is doing fine right now, there’s no telling how things may develop. Take any help your firm qualifies for.

2. Find Ways to Access Capital

In all businesses, liquidity is only one element. The other is capital. Generally, the cost of selling goods or services compensates staff members. Many small businesses already have debt loads, which creates more pressure on companies. This is true with paid leave provisions going into effect, which put a strain on firms.

Under the stimulus package, the SBA will waive all fees for loans, no matter the size. It also comes packaged with a 90% loan guarantee to give businesses more flexibility. Finally, it also increases loan limits for SBA Express from $350,000. It will create the breathing room companies need to survive the crisis.

Even if your business is doing fine right now, there’s no telling how things may develop. Take any help your firm qualifies for.

3. Advocate for Small Businesses

Now’s the time for small businesses to band together to advocate for themselves. As decision-makers in the capitol make decisions, reach out through social media. Letters, phone calls, and other strategies work fine, as well.

The message should be loud and clear: small businesses are the most important of the economy, and their voices must be heard. Whether it’s cafes, restaurants, gyms, shops, or service providers—you are the heart of all communities.  Contact your local representatives and speak out for your business.

4. Protect Your Business From Threats

Most companies have shifted to remote workers during this time. Working from home makes it possible for at least some businesses to happen. But it also increases vulnerability to cyber-attacks.

Cyber-attacks have been on the rise since the start of COVID-19. There was an increase in phishing scams and other threats.

Businesses must take care to protect their digital resources. The first step is using a VPN when doing any work online. A virtual private network creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the websites you visit. It prevents hackers and any third-parties from monitoring your internet activity. Enterprise-level solutions also facilitate access to your online resources to devices connected to the network.

Don’t forget to educate your employees on the threats as well. Many data breaches happen because an unaware employee clicks on an email link or downloads malware by accident.

Next, firms must improve the security of their cloud platforms. Begin by increasing account security with two-factor authentication and other identity management tools.

Finally, secure all assets both locally and in the cloud with a file encryption service. It ensures only you or those you authorise can access sensitive business data.

5. Take Time To Strategise

Most companies have more time on their hands. Use it as an opportunity to develop new strategies, improve efficiency, and build staff communication skills. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make the business better?” Get input from staff, colleagues, and trusted advisors.

Do an audit of everything. From the way you commute to how you store files and everything else. There is always room for improvement somewhere. Now’s the time to find it.

Times may be a little dark. But remember what happened after the influenza pandemic of 1918—the Roaring ’20s and explosive economic growth. Sooner than later, this pandemic will be over. Prepare your company for success in the future by adopting these strategies now.

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