What has the Pandemic done to Small Business

Lockdown imposed many restrictions on the ability to run a business from an office. Many businesses adopted new methods of working in the face of the pandemic and are now looking for them. 

Here are some strategies business owners can use to adapt to the new normal.

  • Analyze what should be included and what should not be in the business as usual (BAU).
  • You can work remotely with Shift BAU processes
  • To enable employees to work remotely, provide the necessary infrastructure such as internet dongles and laptops.
  • Analyze business activities that cannot easily be moved online and which require physical presence in the office. Evaluate the possibility of eliminating these processes. Look for other options, such as offshoring to another country that doesn’t have these restrictions.
  • If your business activities are deemed essential products/services by government authorities, ensure that your office is safe for employees. Disposable masks, gloves and sanitizers should be available at all points of contact.
  • Try to be as paperless and efficient as possible, especially when it comes to legal and financial activities. You can achieve paperless operation in all other departments, such as IT, marketing, and operations.
  • If paperwork is required for business functions, you can use courier or postal services to send the documents from one department to another. To send a document, someone who is living in one part of the city may sign it and then courier it to the other end.
  • Adopt the Business Continuity Management practice of maintaining Business Process Documents. The business process document is all that is needed to run the business in the absence of employees. These documents should be digitally secured and only authorized personnel can access them.
  • All communications, internal and extern, should be digitalized. All team members should be involved in online team building activities. Online meetings can also be used to meet with clients.
  • You can find alternatives that will deliver your products or services on the same schedule and at the same quality. You may need to switch suppliers or vendors for raw materials. Request samples to be sent home for quality inspections, or to a clean location such as a warehouse or office.
  • Prepare to restructure your company to serve the needs of industries like healthcare, logistics, digital services, and others.
  • Secure services are available for video conferencing, emailing, and other digital activities. This will help to protect against hacking, leaks, and other problems.
  • Your employees should be aware of the potential for disruptions in internet service and electricity outages. Install inverters for your employees and sign up to broadband internet services.
  • If you are looking for qualified talent who is open to working from home, consider recruiting from smaller towns.
  • Secure digital tools to manage payroll and accounting online.

What is the importance of adapting to the new normal?

If your company is one of the few that has managed to function in lockdown, you should focus on streamlining your processes and adapting your business to deal with financial crises or pandemics. Your business should be able to operate in multiple locations. You can move most or all of your business functions online. All employees have access to shared online spaces. You can protect your business by preparing for the worst. Many companies have made working from home mandatory and permanent. They can save on overhead costs like rent, electricity, and internet charges.

How can you deal with the consequences of the lockdown?

Different departments within a business are using different methods to deal with the pandemic.

  • Marketing: Companies prefer to market on digital platforms because people are more likely to use social media. Digital marketing is a key component of the internet’s new marketplace. Online events and promotions are possible.
  • Sales All in-person sales meetings are replaced by video calls. All pitches can be made online. After the video conference, decks can be shown to the client. A PDF can also be sent. Digital means can be used to negotiate all contracts. Digital means can replace in-person agreements by email, video conferencing and PowerPoint presentations.
  • Finance Accounting has been moved online. You can share confidential information via secure platforms. You can email invoices, file taxes online, make payments online and collect your debts virtually.
  • Human Resources All HR activities can be done virtually. Online HR activities include onboarding new employees, training and payrolls, as well as employee engagement initiatives.
  • Legal: All contracts can be discussed online and legal compliance can also be monitored remotely. Virtually all legal communications can be made, and email can be used to communicate with the legal authorities. All physical paperwork can be sent by courier for signatures and stamping.
  • Business Operations: Depending on the industry, many business operations are now online. eCommerce is the preferred method of distributing most products and services. The customer service industry has become virtual. It is possible to work remotely for IT functions such as programming and coding. All industries are slowly adopting the home-based work model.

What should you do next?

  • Your business verticals should be online as soon as you can. You can find software solutions that will help you achieve this. Consider whether it’s worth keeping the parts of your business that are not easily transferred online.
  • Make sure you’re using technology as much as possible to make the transition to the new normal.
  • Your employees should be supported in any way that they can work remotely.
  • Reduce overhead costs such as rent, housekeeping and electricity.
  • Give your employees flexibility so that home and work can be managed seamlessly.
  • Instead of focusing on hours worked, focus on output. This will increase employee productivity.
  • You can use all of the tools you have to help your business adapt and thrive in these difficult times.

Final thoughts:

There isn’t any business that has not taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is extremely important for you as a business owner therefore to take steps immediately and implement digital solutions to avoid working capital issues.

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