Five smart moves for SMBs caught in the global crisis mode.
We understand that this is an exceptionally challenging time for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Consumers are staying in and shopping less. Suppliers are struggling to meet demands. Employees are increasingly self-isolating at home. If these corrosive economic effects are disrupting your company, first, know that you’re not alone. Secondly, we’ve tapped our in-house financial experts for tips to make it through the uncertainty and strain brought on by COVID-19.
Tip 1: Stay Connected With Your Customers
Now is the time to get creative with your communication outlets. Our advice? Go digital and mobile if you haven’t already. Email and short message service marketing (SMS) are two instant ways to retain and engage customers for SMBs. Not only does this help you stay top of mind, but it’s an easy way to update your community on any changes, promotions, new policies, and stock. Instagram, Zoom, Skype, and Facebook are also great for keeping close contact with clientele.
Tip 2: Opt For A Digital Offering
Daily changes ushered in by the coronavirus has made flexibility key. A digital approach makes it evaluating and adapting your business on a day-to-day basis much more feasible. You just might have to think outside the box when making the transition. Are there ways you can offload inventory online? Or deliver goods (safely, of course)? The latest restaurant-turned-corner-store trend is a prime example. Or fitness coaches that are having virtual one-on-one training with their clients.
Tip 3: Obsessive Over Hygiene (And Let People Know)
While the priority is always to keep you, your employees, and your community safe, sharing new proactive measures also gives customers the peace of mind they need to shop with you. Be transparent about new no-contact practices or disinfecting procedures you’ve implemented on-site and during delivery.
Tip 4: Manage Your Cash
Do you really need a new assistant, or can you manage with an intern? Do you have unpaid invoices you need to cash in now? Can you wait to expand your business footprint for a while? Trimming unnecessary expenses seems like a no-brainer here, but reevaluate every opportunity, and then do it again.
Tip 5: Get Fast Access To Money You’re Owed
Consider supply chain finance (SCF) to improve payments between your company and suppliers. The pre-delivery financing tool works to help build inventory and increase cash flow. In a nutshell: A buyer purchases from a supplier who then sends the buyer an invoice. That account receivable is forwarded to a funder to approve and pay. Now the supplier has funds to carry out business, the buyer gets their order, and the funder gets paid by the buyer when the invoice is due—win-win.
Bonus: Be Flexible With Employees
And it doesn’t stop at taking work home. Check with how they are managing the transition and adjust as needed. Give them a morning during the week to make a run for supplies. Set up clear ground rules for timekeeping and meetings. If you must have someone on-site, consider alternating between staff members. Supporting your team to do their best job keeps the wheels moving and morale up. And right now, we all need the latter.