How to Navigate a Pandemic as a Small Business Owner

Two months have passed since the enhanced community quarantine has been implemented in Metro Manila and some select regions in the Philippines. A lot of business owners have been affected with industries completely shutting down and profit at an all-time low. If your business is considered non-essential, you’re most likely trying to manage your losses and possibly have to make the difficult decision of downsizing, or worse, closing for good.

But now that there are recommendations for easing into a modified or general community quarantine, here are a few tips to help your small business navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be in constant communication with your customers and clients.

Transparency is key. You don’t want your clients to panic-buy or change suppliers because you’re not able to deliver. If you are able to, assure your customers that you are prepared for the next six months (or however long you’ve managed to foresee production) so they don’t wipe out your current stock and then completely forego purchasing in the coming months. If you’re consistently giving them updates, your customers’ worries will be put at ease and it will even improve loyalty.

Review your cash flow and adjust where necessary.

If you’re lucky enough to sustain your business for the next 6 to 12 months with minimal new clients or sales, take this time to review your business model. Are there areas where you can afford to cut down? Look into the option of cutting salaries (starting with top management) and, if possible, deferring payments. Look into applying for cash assistance if you are eligible.

Learn to adapt to new ways of working.

If your business allows it, implement a remote working setup. Have integral employees report to the office if necessary but apply guidelines that will keep not only your employees safe but also prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Uphold the highest sanitization procedures and encourage all partners to practice physical distancing whenever in the office. When possible, adapt virtual meetings instead of in-person interaction with clients. Take a look at your current offerings and see which services can be converted into an online setup. Look at ways to develop digital products that can be sold virtually.
Nobody knows how massive the impact of this pandemic is economically just yet or how soon it can be business as usual for most. The best we can do is prepare for the new normal and hope that we survive this crisis with a business that has adapted for the future.