After months of watching the economy slowly reopen, we know that a second wave is a likely possibility. Planning and preparing for the worst case scenario is essential to keeping your business afloat during these difficult times.
Here are Simple Desk’s top 7 tips for preparing for what’s to come:
- If the amount of staff you have allows it, create a response team within your organization. Allow them to think of all the scenarios and what you can do in case of a second wave and if we move back into any of the previous emergency orders we had in place. As an example, a local bakery could hire a few extra staff members to do some extra baking and freeze them. So if we are unable to open our doors, customers can still order some frozen baked goods and you can still create some revenue.
- Plan for financial impact. I get it – not a lot of small businesses have the wiggle room to save anything extra to cover any time they are unable to earn revenue. If this is the case, do some research. The “Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy” may be applicable to you. Find out NOW, and not after doors are told to close. See what kind of loan forgiveness your bank offers.
- Create a work from home plan. Some people can recall going to work on March 16th and within hours was told ‘pack up your things and go work from home’. There wasn’t a lot of directions from employers, but that’s because employers did not have a ‘work from home plan’. Most small businesses (and large ones too) have systems in place for work on site. Now that we know working from home is almost 100% possible, you need to create a work from home plan so the transition is much more efficient with less downtime. Get everything on the cloud so employees can access what they need.
- Research. Scope out your competition (locally and broadly) and see what they did during the pandemic. One business called “Sweet Fluffe” started shipping their cotton candy cakes all over the world. Traditionally a business that used events, farmer’s markets, vendor shoes, etc to create revenue, they found out the could ship their cakes (You should buy one. You won’t be disappointed!). See how your competitors made it work and if you can implement it as well. In our blog post ‘How Quinte Small Business Have ‘Beaten’ the Pandemic‘, we highlighted some our amazing local businesses were able to be strategic in delivering their services amidst a global shutdown.
- Be strategic. How can you still bring in the cash flow, keep your current staff and customers, if we need to close up shop for a few months again? Mentioned early is the bakery that should bake and freeze now. But what can you do? Are you a florist? Create some simple and easy arrangements, take some pictures and upload them online. If we close down, offer these arrangements only, and offer curbside or delivery. If you’re doing delivery, ask for a small delivery charge.
- Be mentally prepared. There’s no surprise that what happened earlier this year was a shock to many. Very few businesses were prepared financially or mentally for a shut down that had no end in sight. Now that we know, we can prepare. One thing therapists will tell their clients is ‘use your tools when you’re doing great, so during times when it’s not so great, you’re not fumbling in the dark for your tools, because you always have them handy’. The same is true for business. Always be prepared.
When preparing for a potential second wave, think back to February and ask yourself what you would tell yourself knowing everything you know now about the pandemic. What can you do differently? What can you improve? And, what worked for your business?
We learned a lot from the last 5 months. Everything from how we can handle an emergency order, to how we can be strategic within our businesses. Most importantly, we learned that we are stronger together and we can beat whatever the universe throws at us.
And remember, if a second wave hits, remember to shop local as much as possible! That’s the best way to keep our local businesses thriving.