Tips to Help Businesses Navigate Through the Response to COVID-19
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Many local businesses are struggling financially as the response to COVID-19 has led to a reduction in consumer spending, less foot traffic, some business closures, contract and payment delays. Business will eventually get back to normal, but what do you do in the meantime? Many small businesses do not have the resources necessary to combat these hardships, but we have compiled a list of suggestions that could help.
#1 Seek financial assistance
Now is the right time to seek financial assistance in the form of loans and grants. It is important to be proactive. Even if you are unsure how much capital you will need, applying for it before the emergency is always wise. If you are in an emergency financial situation already, do not hesitate to apply immediately. Financial resources include the SBA Disaster Relief loan. This lending program is designed for businesses who do not qualify for a traditional bank loan, so you need to apply with a local lender first. Once denied, you can apply for the Disaster Relief loan. If approved, rates are low and the loan can be repaid over thirty years. The money can be used to pay bills, payroll, other loan payments and working capital needs. At the local and state level grants may also be available. Contact us for information since things are changing rapidly.
#2 Support employees
Unemployment assistance is available for employees who are temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus. Help employees to get the financial support they need so that they are ready to come back to work once the virus is contained. Employers who do not need to lay off workers, but need to send them home to telecommute, should be prepared to support them with virtual meeting and project management tools. Expectations regarding virtual meeting times and expected work hours should be made clear in order to continue working together as seamlessly as possible.
Everyone has been impacted by the coronavirus on some level. Be proactive and negotiate with suppliers and even your landlord. They may be willing to delay payments. In the case of a landlord, ask if they can add the rent to the end of the lease or work out a separate repayment plan for when you can’t pay due to business disruptions caused by the virus. It is best to be work together on a solution that benefits everyone, rather than to wait until you are in a bad spot financially.
#4 Be creative
See if there are creative ways to continue serving customers. Can services be provided virtually using email, video calls or website orders? Can deliveries be made without contact? Identify everything that you currently do for customers to see what can be moved to a virtual or non-contact delivery system in order to keep as much of your business running as possible. If you are still serving customers from your location, look for ways to incorporate social distancing such as setting appointments, limiting store entrance to essential needs only or using more areas of the building.
#5 Work with your insurance company
Your insurance policy may include provisions for emergency situations such as this. Some insurance companies offer business interruption coverage. This insurance covers the loss of income that may occur when a business suffers after a disaster or pandemic. Call your agent to discuss your benefits and use what’s available.
#6 Stay in communication
Communicate with everyone - your customers, employees, bank, vendors, and us! Keep everyone informed of how your business is being impacted and ask for help when needed. Be active in all social media outlets. This is not a time to limit virtual contact. Our community is coming together and it is important to communicate, and then support each other.
Redwood Area Development Corporation Is Here to Help You
We are ready and available to provide support. We have the latest information on ways to assist businesses in our community. Reach out and let us know what your business is experiencing so that we can connect you with the right resources and assistance.
We will make it through this - together!