As our collective journey through the COVID-19 pandemic continues, parts of America are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel and are reopening their communities for business. However, restarting the nation’s economy will take some time. If you run a business, here are nine things you should focus on doing right now to put your company in the best possible position to hit the ground running when it’s time to open your doors again.
1) Prepare for a Slow Re-Opening – As you can imagine, people will be skittish about congregating in social places when told it’s ok to do so in the upcoming months. Social distancing may be the “new normal” for the foreseeable future. If your retail business typically had 50 customers a day, it would be reasonable to assume that you may have less than half that amount in the first month or two after reopening. Make sure your monthly financial projections reflect this possibility.
2) Complete Your 2019 Taxes – Do not wait until July 15th to get your taxes into the government. If your business is down during the pandemic, now is the best time to work on things like your taxes – something you don’t have a lot of time for during normal business hours. It’s also a good idea in the event a bank or credit union wants to see them as part of any loan application process.
3) Update Your 2020 Financials – See point #1. Now is not the time to make bold predictions regarding an economic bounce back. “Pray for the best, but plan for the worst.”
4) Bring Back Your Employees – If you were fortunate to receive a PPP loan from the SBA, a percentage of the loan used for payroll, mortgage/rent, and utilities could potentially be forgiven between now and June 30, 2020 (make sure you read the fine print and keep up to date on any rule changes for the PPP program).
5) Review Your Legal and Insurance Documents – Make sure your legal agreements and insurance policies are up to date. Play the “What If” game with your attorney and insurance broker (e.g. What if I become disabled, am I covered)? You don’t want to find out that you didn’t have proper insurance or the right legal documents in place after disaster strikes. Use the current crisis as an example.
6) Review Inventory, Supplies, Equipment – If your business is in position to survive the extended lockdown period, don’t wait until the economy opens up again to realize that you don’t have everything you need to run your business. Once we all get the green light to start again, EVERY company is going to order supplies, equipment, and inventory to restock shelves, warehouses, and offices. Delays could set your business back even more if you wait.
7) Continue Conversations on Social & Digital Media – Has your business stayed connected to customers, prospects, suppliers, partners, and vendors via social and digital media over the past 6-8 weeks? These channels may continue to be the preferred methods of communication for people in your ecosystem going forward. I suggest that you continue to invest in social and digital media platforms; they will be an integral part of your business whether you are a B2B or a B2C company.
8) Have Contingency Plans – If we have learned anything from the coronavirus, it’s that things in 2020 rarely go according to the original plan. Successful companies have backup plans. They know when to be flexible and when to pivot their businesses to move with the marketplace. Going forward, have a strategic goal for where you want to be at the end of 2020, but include several paths on how you plan to get there.
9) Make Every Day Count – We are living and doing business today in uncharted waters. My biggest takeaway from COVID-19 is that tomorrow is not guaranteed, and that it may not go according to the plans you’ve created for it. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Make the most of this moment.
There may never be a better moment than right now to invest time, energy, and resources into your business and yourself. Create a To Do list and include the nine suggestions above in it; then get to work in making them happen.
Learn how Wheeler Financial from Pitney Bowes™ can help you gain access to capital equipment and technology to drive your business forward during these difficult times.