The impact of recent events took a hefty toll on the U.S. economy, and the hardest hit, by far, were small business owners. The economic downturn exposed the financial fragility of many entrepreneurs who work under slim operating margins with little access to cash flow. After the 2008 housing crisis and subsequent recession, it took around four years for small businesses to bounce back. And it’s predicted by McKinsey & Company that this time around, it will take five or more.
But though the outlook seems grim, there are many lessons to be learned about growth, resilience and transformation among small business owners, just like you. Many small businesses have already started making positive changes and using the current situation for good. In short, they have started looking at the "good side" of COVID-19. Here are some ways you can follow in their footsteps to do the same during this time.
Adapting Your Business to Survive
Business owners of all sizes learned this lesson first-hand when confronted with a global downturn: if they weren’t willing to bend, then surely, they would break. This is when the resilience and grit of business owners truly had an opportunity to shine and they did. Here are some of the ways being quick on their feet and looking for innovative solutions has helped them adapt rapidly to new ways:
- Adding curbside pickup, local delivery and greater shipping options
- Going completely cashless and transitioning to online platforms
- Creating opportunities for people to purchase from traditional wholesale suppliers
- Implementing new revenue streams such as franchise and diversifying/modifying product and service offerings
Advice from the Bright Side: It can be daunting to shift from a traditional brick-and-mortar to an online business model, but there truly hasn’t been a better time. Learn how transitioning your business online can be done easily and effectively with help from Incfile.
Bouncing Back with Strong Financial Planning
In the midst of a crisis, it’s hard to see the other side. Right now, if your business has suffered the impact of COVID-19, you might not be able to imagine what the future will look like. But again, small business owners are adaptable, resilient and fiercely innovative. They are also incredibly hopeful. One of our highlighted business owners saw his company brought to a standstill by the current situation. Still, he continued to look forward, making concrete plans for expansion and setting goals for where he’ll be a year from now. You can do the same by creating forecasts and projections that will get you back on a growth trajectory.
Advice from the Bright Side: Now is the time to start working on your financial plan as we emerge from nationwide shutdowns. First, if you don't yet have a CPA, now is the perfect time to find one, and build a partnership that will put you back on the right track. Then, check out how Incfile is helping businesses survive and thrive during the pandemic, and use our resources to create a plan for marketing, accounting and financial strategies as you work toward recovery.
Connecting with the Community
Crises, by nature, bring out our altruistic tendencies as we seek to help those in need. One of our spotlighted business owners has always had a heart for helping other businesses. During the pandemic, she quickly adapted her own business, looking at other avenues to reach clients, like hosting virtual cooking lessons on social media and making sure to give credit to the businesses she supports. Getting involved in your community doesn't just help others; it also gives your business a boost. From getting referrals and generating new client leads to adding legitimacy to your business, becoming an active and contributing member of your industry or business community is key to growth during a pandemic and beyond.
Advice from the Bright Side: View this crisis as an opportunity to uplift and support your community. Maybe this is the right time to start the nonprofit you’ve always dreamed of. Or you could reach out to other small business owners to provide mutual support and understanding, which will ultimately benefit their business...and yours.
A Wake Up Call... And a Call to Action
Much of the focus through this time has been on the impact to existing small businesses. However, as the world began to adapt to shutdowns and stay-at-home business options, the numbers began to tick upward.
COVID-19 has become a rallying cry for entrepreneurs ready to bring their big ideas to life. Many may have been furloughed or terminated from their pre-coronavirus employer, while some thrust into the remote work world found themselves with extra time on their hands to dream and plan. And for other entrepreneurs, in a time of great uncertainty, when even traditional employment is risky business, they have decided that now is the time to take the leap. If you’re in the same boat and looking to spark some ideas, here are some of the best businesses to start, and the best places to start them, even in challenging economic times.
Advice from the Bright Side: If you've always imagined starting and managing your own business, the pandemic has offered an unprecedented opportunity to get started. Create a plan, do your research and learn the steps you’ll need to take to make your business dream a reality.
Ultimately, we’re all in this together, and together, with eyes set firmly on a brighter horizon, business owners will emerge triumphantly.
About the Author
Dustin Ray leads business development and growth initiatives at Incfile, a national incorporation service company specializing in business formation and small business services. Founded in 2004, Incfile has assisted in the formation of more than 250,000 corporations and LLCs.**