By River Cartie
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is changing the way we all do business.
We’re all learning how to be flexible, imaginative, and resilient — the best traits a small business owner can have, besides tenacity.
I know that it’s hard to not get bogged down by all the information that’s coming at us, but as a small business owner, it’s important to focus on taking care of yourself so you can take care of your business. And remember — you’ve got this.
Small business owners are some of the most resourceful and resilient people we know. And now’s the time to lean into that resourcefulness, pull up your bootstraps, and get to work.
In this article, I’ll show you some ways that you can take stock of the situation, generate solutions, and take action to protect your business. And if you remain flexible enough to make changes on the fly, you can get through this… and will likely be stronger and better for it.
So let’s talk about how we do that.
Take stock of the situation
I have a background in emergency response and observing and taking stock of our surroundings is what we, as humans, tend to do naturally.
This is the time when we stop and make sure that everyone is safe. And that should be your first priority.
Make sure that your family, staff and especially yourself, are safe and safeguarded, to the best of your ability.
And if you’re struggling with excessive stress, look into resources for managing your stress and anxiety in the midst of a crisis.
Next, make sure that you’re doing everything you can to safeguard your customers as well.
Once you’ve done what you can for everyone’s health and safety, it’s time to figure out how this situation may affect your business.
Honestly, there are always a lot of unknowns here, but it’s important to think about various possibilities and what you can do to adapt to them. The problems you face will vary depending on the nature of your business, and so your solutions will vary too. Below are some examples of how you might approach problem-solving.
Start with the less scary questions first:
- What if you end up short on staff?
- Think about reducing your hours or days that you’re open
- What if you have a problem keeping certain items in stock?
- Check your supply channels to find out how long it will take to get new stock
- Think about limiting high-demand items to one or two per person
- What if you get sick?
- Designate someone to be in charge of the daily operations, in case you can’t be
Then dive deeper.
I’ll be honest — these are some of the bigger, scarier questions, but it’s important to look at them directly and make a plan based on what you’re able to do.