A Guide on Small Business Survival During The COVID-19 Pandemic
While the majority of the population struggles in coming to terms with the impact of COVID-19 in public health and the psychological conditions of the masses, the business sector also suffers from massive loss of profit. Although this effect is deemed secondary compared to the mortality frequency and rapid transmission of the infection, long term consequences may suggest a slower rate of recovery for our economy.
As lockdowns and community quarantines, as well as travel bans, are implemented, livelihood and the overall earning capacity of citizens are gravely affected. In the stock market, share prices are falling fast. This adds a huge pressure to the economy, giving rise to a financial panic across the globe.
The Financial Crisis amidst the Pandemic
The worse blow from this financial crisis is felt mostly by local small and medium scale businesses. Operations on these establishments have been limited if not completely halted by community quarantine.
Meanwhile, some large businesses are currently sustained by other income source alternatives. Some business owners have asked their employees to work from home while others are simply waiting for the outbreak to be over. Either way, work has been disrupted for critical industries such as food trade, agriculture, leisure and tourism, events, etc.
Theme parks like Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando halted their operations to prevent the spread of coronavirus through crowds. Some local restaurants, salons, and other mid-sized businesses along with beach resorts and other commercial establishments were also given orders to limit the number of customers per day.
Government Response to COVID-19 Financial Crisis
Under the threat of the potential recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Senate signed the legislation on an emergency coronavirus relief package earlier this week. This package includes free testing for COVID-19, extended family and sick leave especially for companies with employees of about 500 or less, and additional funds for food security.
State officials have also conducted some calculations on the economic effects of COVID-19 among local businesses through an emergency business damage assessment survey. This tool will be instrumental for the state to formulate and appropriate relief actions for the business sector.
Strategies for Business Operations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released interim guidance for businesses and employers to prepare for the impact of the pandemic prior to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak.
All employers are mandated to come up with an emergency plan to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the effects of the outbreak specifically in the workplace. According to CDC, the following objectives should be met through the emergency plan: 1) transmission among staff must be decreased, 2) people who are at higher risk for health complications must be well protected, 3) maintain business operations, and 4) any harmful effects towards entities in the supply chains must be minimized.
Business operations can still be continued as long as the guidelines are followed unless ordered otherwise by the government. It is obliged however that those establishments especially restaurants and stores selling basic goods must be immaculate along with the following procedures:
- Service crews and employees should wear protective gear and practice proper hygiene as frequently as possible.
- Food must be prepared with extra precautions.
- Social contact among workers must also be limited.
- Employees who show symptoms should be advised discretely to undergo self-quarantine and medical examination.
- Avail apps that allow delivery or pickup if you are selling food, groceries, or other goods.
At these trying times, other marketing strategies that do not require too much social interaction are recommended such as Pay-Per-Click Advertising, SEO, & Social Media Marketing. Likewise, as the number of people is restricted to go out and are advised to stay at home, online stores and delivery services would make up for the lost profit.
Activating a Community Action
If the small business sector falls, the entire economy would potentially collapse affecting everyone in the state and in the country. Small, local businesses are the first ones to suffer from this financial crisis. By this scenario, local citizens are also called to act in order to prevent this case. Support local businesses in your area by doing the following:
- Utilize delivery or takeout services from local restaurants and stores.
- Buy gift cards or gift certificates that you can use once social distancing is flagged down.
- Leave an extra tip for the workers.
- Promote operating local businesses in social media.
These actions, as small as they may be, can contribute to keeping these local businesses afloat despite the COVID-19 outbreak.
This huge tear in the economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic does not only affect employers and businessmen. Eventually, it will cascade to other industries and then to individual households. It is a global problem that we can deal with as global citizens by supporting our local community.
The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown and researchers are still working on a definite public health solution. On the other hand, the financial crisis brought by this outbreak, as alarming as it may sound, can still be averted as long as the community helps out one another. This is the right time to encourage everyone to play their part by social distancing and helping local businesses maintain their operation.