Small business owners are facing unprecedented times in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. As cities begin to slowly reopen, many are wondering how their business will come back and what their new normal will look like. Taking the time to create a small business disaster recovery plan can help you identify key areas of opportunities and develop a plan for the challenging days ahead.
What is recovery planning?
Recovery planning is basically a guidebook for how to get your business back on track in the event of a disaster – whether that’s a natural disaster like a hurricane or a pandemic like what we’re experiencing with COVID-19.
Typically, you’ll start your disaster recovery plan by doing a risk assessment to identify where your business is vulnerable in the face of different types of disasters. This is commonly called a business impact analysis. Unfortunately, you may have already discovered this due to current events.
Your next step is to develop a business continuity plan by answering some of the questions listed below.
How will consumers’ needs change?
To figure out where your business is headed, you’ll first have to understand where your customers are headed. How are their needs changing in the face of a disaster? How can your business provide a solution to their problems? Put yourselves in their shoes and be sympathetic to their current situation.
Do your services relate to evolving needs?
Once you’ve figured out your customers’ needs, you have to identify a way for your business to meet them. This may require you to pivot your business and explore new opportunities. For example, the restaurant industry quickly switched over to a takeout model with many businesses setting up online ordering systems. Several clothing companies started producing face masks in addition to their t-shirts. Service providers started offering virtual appointments over video calls.
Step outside the box and utilize modern technology to take your business to the next level during this time and beyond.
What will the competitive landscape look like after Covid-19?
As you look for creative ways to pivot and sustain your business, check out what your competition is doing. Are there ideas you can build upon? Or do you want to go the complete opposite direction to differentiate your business? Use social media or sign up for their email list to stay in touch with their new initiatives.
As the economy starts to recover after COVID-19, the businesses who were the most creative and kept the consumer first are the ones who will thrive.
Preserving your business during a crisis
Keeping your employees and customers first is how you’ll preserve your business during a crisis. Rely on your business data to figure out what your costs are, including payroll costs, and figure out how much money you need coming in to survive. Then you’ll have to make critical business decisions to figure out where that money is coming from whether it’s from your current cash flow, through sales, or from outside financial assistance.
If you want to figure out what’s important to your customers now and as things move forward, why not try asking them directly? Free survey systems like Survey Monkey or Google Forms make it super easy to get answers straight from your customers so you’re not making guesses or assumptions. All you need is their basic contact information and a sense of what questions you want to ask them.
Maintain a service-first mindset
No matter what, make sure that customer service stays at the forefront of your business. However, keeping customers happy and their wallets open may require you to switch up your normal customer service tactics.
Discounts make it easier for cash-strapped customers to continue to support your business. Home delivery gives customers the opportunity to purchase from you without risking their well-being. Tele-services allow you to stay connected with customers without physically being in the same room. Get creative. This is the time to go above and beyond.
Return to your SWOT analysis
As you work out a plan for preserving your business, don’t neglect your SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is an assessment of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Look at what you’re great at, admit where you lack, and revisit those opportunities in a whole new light. This is the perfect time to dig deep and identify a new path for your business.
If you do need financial support to keep things moving, make sure you educate yourself about the resources available to you. The Paycheck Protection Plan can help you keep employees on the payroll. Debt relief from the Small Business Administration lets you breathe a sigh of relief regarding your loan payments. There’s a variety of relief options available so stay strong, do your homework, and keep moving forward.
Know When to Seek Help
It’s equally important to know what you don’t know. When disaster strikes, having a solid team in your corner to help answer employee questions, explain loan forgiveness, or keep your accounting in order is invaluable. The experts at Paytech are here for you during this crisis and as business begins to resume as “normal.” We can help you create and execute your small business disaster recovery plan so that you can continue to do what you do best – serve your customers.