This is an article “The Fate of Small Businesses Post COVID-19” by Marc Primo
Keeping your business afloat on normal days is challenging enough. For the 30.7 million that are operating in the U.S. alone, the COVID-19 pandemic delivered a sudden and seemingly insurmountable impact that offers a bleak future ahead as the world is set to experience the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
However, despite the current scenario, a study by Guidant Financial earlier this year showed that small business owners remain happy and confident in terms of weathering the pandemic storm. Sixty percent of over 3,100 respondents said that they are either ‘very confident’ or ‘somewhat confident’, despite uncertainties.
For the other small businesses that are currently struggling, wrapping their minds around the following business prospects can help them prepare for the post COVID-19 phase.
Adjustment in business models
At the onset of the pandemic, over 40% of US consumers already resorted to browsing online to purchase what they needed. This gave more small businesses, such as restaurants and retailers, the opportunity to carry out decent operations via curbside pickups and deliveries—even during the crisis.
This win-win process for both business owners, employees, and consumers soon got its name BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store). In fact, it looks like BOPIS is here to stay even after COVID-19. This is after a good number of consumers found the service more practical in terms of shipping costs, allowing for faster turnarounds, and offering more discounts via online platforms. All that and they don’t even have to wait in line for their food orders or cashier payments.
While BOPIS is a very good idea as we all face the new normal, other adjustments might be necessary and will most definitely entail some cost. Production companies may have to establish more stringent safety and health protocols to meet new standards from the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as switch to more adaptive business models that can address the consumers’ changing behavior.
Continuous need for solutions
There’s no doubt that making huge adjustments in your operations can make a dent in a business’s budget. Many small companies would probably struggle to find the right capital to finance new technologies and hire more people, in contrast to the ease with which the more established companies are able to.
This means that operations will need to shift to a lower capacity and production in order to offset the lack of transitional budgets for essentials like digital marketing, BOPIS services, and safety and sanitation improvements.
While businesses can also add their employees’ training upgrades to cost, empowering them allows for better capabilities to take on more roles and decrease operational risks. Keeping your mind on the ROI of whatever new innovation you set up, be it digital or practical, can help increase sales faster and make turnarounds more streamlined.
Another sensible solution that can help small businesses is seeking support from networks, suppliers, and partners who can extend some form of aid to the business. These may include e-commerce reliability, free online advertising credits, service solutions (curbside deliveries that have tied up with transport and courier groups), and productivity diffusion.
Moving forward, all companies who are into business to business (B2B) networks can create more profits for both large and small businesses in terms of production and supply tiering, as well as long-term supply chain partnerships that could spell mutual increases in profits.