Entrepreneurs, your small business is being impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Are you noticing changes in customer trends as the Covid-19 pandemic drags on? As the Coronavirus continues to grip our globe, here in the United States we are slowly developing two distinct categories. Those people who are positively impacted by the outbreak and those who are negatively impacted by the outbreak.
Positively Impacted Groups
Those positively impacted by Covid-19 include corporate employees and many local, state, and federal government employees. While there will always be transition challenges to move from working in an office to working out of your home, many of these people have gained some additional free time, less oversight, and more flexibility while focusing on maintaining their health. It is likely that some of the benefits of working from home will carry over to a new workplace culture long after this virus has run its course.
Negatively Impacted Groups
The people negatively impacted by Covid-19 include those who have been laid-off from their jobs. Including, but not limited to: hairdressers, restaurant workers (especially servers & bartenders), factory workers, auto dealerships (salesmen), real estate professionals, and home services professionals. These people, while protecting their health are equally worried about their financial security. They have lost their incomes and have no clear timeline of when they will be able to return to work. While unemployment benefits are available, the process continues to be cumbersome. It can take weeks to potentially a month or longer to get the process completed. With federal subsidies hopefully coming into effect soon, this may help eliminate some gaps in wages, but many will make less than they did while working.
In the middle of both these groups is the entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by Covid-19. This micro-group can suffer changes daily. Some days, depending on opportunities, small businesses can find silver linings or glimmers of hope that their luck will change and they will be able to provide for themselves and the people who depend on their firms for livelihood and purpose. A customer calls with a request that the company is able and allowed to complete and the firm has the people willing to do it, or the owner is able to complete solo. This helps the firm survive by generating revenue.
Unfortunately this is often followed by a day where hopelessness sets in. The business is bleeding cash, non-deferrable bills are due, and there is no opportunity to generate revenue or sell your product or services. Non-essential small business is neither predominately fortunate nor primarily helpless, and consistently wallowing in that middle, grey area. Struggling to hang on, catching a few breaks along the way, applying for support where available, and overwhelmed with the mental demands to innovate and adapt their model to survive in what is slowly becoming a new normal.
Entrepreneurs: Focus on What You Can Do
For entrepreneurs impacted by Covid-19 the secret is to focus on the things you can do. Much of what you’ve traditionally defined as productive may not be available, but this is an excellent time to work on your business instead of in your business. Take this time to work on your marketing campaigns, as discussed previously, or work on tightening up your Quickbooks. Go through your financial statements with a fine tooth comb, ensure your understanding of each line item.
If you don’t understand, fire off an email to your bookkeeper or accountant. Use this time to better understand how items and expenditures are classified and why. You will have greater insight into what you’re doing well, and where you could improve. Outside of marketing and Quickbooks, consider creating or revising your employee handbook. Investigating and testing out new software to automate or streamline your processes. Conduct building and equipment maintenance. Once the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic subsides and we move closer to a normalized routine the demand surge will be huge. We, as entrepreneurs, just have to get there. Once we arrive make sure you’re ready to work and your ship is water tight.