8 Tips for Small Businesses to Outlast Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States is devastating small businesses as consumers spend less and businesses are shuttered by government shutdowns. According to a J.P. Morgan report, half of all small businesses hold a cash buffer of less than one month. During an extended shutdown without revenue, these small businesses will go under unless they take action. 

If you’re a small business owner in this predicament, you can increase your chance of survival during the novel coronavirus outbreak by reducing costs, earning revenue from new sources, and acquiring much-needed capital from grants or loans. 

Here are 8 ways you can take action: 

Be thorough in reducing spending

Before all else, review your bank and credit card statements for any recurring expenses that can be cut like equipment leases, unneeded subscriptions, or marketing spend. Also review personnel costs and if you have the difficult choice of laying off employees, contact your state’s rapid response team to help them find reemployment. 

Leverage delivery and takeaway options

If you operate a restaurant and your state or city allows delivery and takeout but not dining in, market these options on your website and storefront with signs. If you haven’t already, look into delivery services and the fees they charge to get your food to looking customers. 

Another creative way you could sell food and help local first responders is to offer the option for customers to donate a delivery order to the local hospital, police station, or fire department. A sign on your counter or storefront will suffice. 

Offer gift cards or certificates online

If you’re forced to close your business, offer gift cards on sale online and advertise them on your website and social media. Even consider offering small temporary discounts on gift cards to help your business earn cash now. 

Adapt your business offerings

If you’re forced to close your doors, consider ways you can make money in the interim. For example, coffee shops have been grinding and packaging coffee with custom labels for sale to loyal customers. If you have a furniture business, you could display items online and set them aside for customers who purchase them for after the novel coronavirus subsides. 

Some businesses have even begun creating totally different goods. For example, factories have begun manufacturing respirators to meet demand and breweries have begun making purell instead of alcohol. 

Take advantage of Small Business Administration loan programs

The SBA is currently offering disaster loans to 37 states and counting with low interest and extended repayment periods. Learn more and apply to acquire needed capital to keep your business above water. 

Review Grant opportunities and other free resources

Organizations like Facebook are offering small business grants and other free resources to small businesses to help them get through this difficult time. Review financial resource pages like Inc’s to see where you can apply for funds. 

Crowdfund from loyal customers

If your business is in danger of going under because of a lack of business and you can’t raise the capital through sales, grants, or friends and family, consider launching a GoFundMe to keep your business afloat. If you have a loyal customer base, you can set up a fundraiser for the amount that you really need to stay above water for necessary expenses like rent and electricity for a couple months, and market the fundraiser through social, email, and your website. 

Work with your Lender or Suppliers to extend deadlines

If you currently have an outstanding loan and cannot make payments due to lost sales, reach out to your lender, explain your situation, and see how you can negotiate repayment deadlines. The same goes with your credit card company. 

Likewise, if you have a supplier to pay and are short on cash, see if you can renegotiate deadlines or terms. Lenders and suppliers are likely dealing with other small businesses going through similar circumstances and would rather delay payments than incur defaults. 

This will be a taxing time for your small business but with the right resources and effort, you can get through to the other side stronger. The United States economy and its businesses have weathered wars, recessions, and other viruses, and will conquer the novel coronavirus as well.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.