There are about 1.9 million known infections worldwide, and more than 120,000 deaths that have been linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why many countries are on “lockdown” or restrictive quarantine, with China, India, the UK, France, Italy, and Poland having implemented the most restrictive mass quarantines in the world.
There’s a huge impact of coronavirus or COVID-19 on the business world today. Aside from being a major health concern, this crisis creates panic among small businesses and medium-sized businesses, and even large companies or corporations. So how do you safeguard your business when the country is on lockdown?
Improve Your Payment System
If you’re used to traditional cash registrars or old payment systems, it’s time to consider upgrading your payment system to align with digital trends. Gone are the days of customers standing in a queue and waiting to pay using cash. Powerful point-of-sale or POS systems and other payment solutions are now available to help your business align with the current payment standards.
Facilitating mobile payments and online payment options should be your utmost priority, especially now that the world is threatened by the coronavirus. People are afraid to step outside for shopping because of the increased probability of contracting the virus.
By upgrading your payment system while the country is on lockdown, you will better prepare your business for the possible outcomes once things start to get better. Finding the best payment solutions with the help of Talus Pay will help your business thrive.
Here are the benefits of upgrading to a powerful POS system and payment solutions:
- Process payments seamlessly using cutting-edge equipment
- Benefit from first-class support from POS system solution providers
- Get paid fast by accepting mobile payments
- Integrate POS to enable inventory management and employee scheduling
- Feature-rich plans and customizable and secure cloud-based payment solutions
- Increase profits with sophisticated analytics of POS
- Peace of mind because you’re protected against fraud with an EMV compliant payment system
Better Financial Management
Now more than ever, you need the help of finance professionals to support your business through the coronavirus crisis. While you may have experience in financial management, having a financial expert by your side will help you in making better business decisions.
Finance professionals and companies are required to provide supportive, well-communicated, and prioritized responses through a holistic approach. Also, the financial management process undergoes changes, and actions should be specifically designed to support staff and business managers with rational, evidence-based advice.
Here are some key tips for better financial management during the coronavirus crisis:
- Always Stay Updated: There’s heightened uncertainty as to the impact and duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Business, government, and economic policies are changing. That’s why you have to keep yourself abreast of new information. While informal conversations, like social media, can provide the fastest insights, be careful about obtaining and sharing information because there is much fake news proliferating about coronavirus treatment and statistics on social media platforms, like Facebook.
- Get Support from A Professional Accountant: Finance professionals, like chartered accountants, and their teams have the right knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to carry out a systematic business appraisal. An experienced accountant can help you map out how economic changes will eventually impact your business
Remote Work Collaboration
Financial management process and action changes are important for the future of your business. So it’s about time to start using the Internet, download Skype or Slack, and work remotely for collaboration. While you’re out of the production arena, you can still hold a meeting with your frontliners and management employees to safeguard your business by creating plans for how your business can rebound once the lockdown is over.
Surely, the competition will be more difficult because most people will still have effects of trauma and would prefer to stay at home as much as possible. Many would postpone their plans for traveling or shopping to better prepare for future crises. Consumers will be more frugal and mindful of spending because of all the learning experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some tips for topic suggestions when remotely collaborating and making future plans with your business team:
- Confer with your business managers and stakeholders to better understand business needs and challenges. Meet on Skype through a conference call and discuss important business matters, including future sales and marketing plans.
- Carry out financial tasks whenever and wherever possible instead of adding to other departments’ workload. Make tasks simple and smooth by utilizing cloud-based solutions and online tools, such as project management and customer relationship management software.
- Update liquidity and cash flow forecasts and consider increasing production frequency after the lockdown. If production is possible at home or online, then check creative ways to initiate and improve it.
- Consider easing or delaying finance processes without risking control breakdowns, or damaging your business. While loans at low-interest rates are appealing, remember that any type of loan needs to be repaid.
- Identify and draw on crisis management experience, even from non-executives.
- Make any process changes or actions easy and accessible for business managers.
- Adapt to current circumstances by adjusting management information.
Study Your Cash Flow And Working Capital
It’s important to provide frequent updates on financing, debts, cash flow, key suppliers, and the status of customers. Also, consider making cash savings available, taking into account its impacts on your customers, workforce, and suppliers.
Here are some functional operations you need to consider when studying your finances:
- Switch To Online Platforms: Find new methods for paper-based dealings like invoices and cheques that are temporarily closed. Instead, consider online invoicing, payments, and other online transactions.
- Sustain Working Capital: Check the website of your banks for COVID-19 guidance and available help for businesses in difficulty. Contact your banks sooner if you have concerns and make sure to have a clear plan of action. Ensure that you fully understand the terms and amounts of available credit lines.
- Other Financing Options: Aside from traditional business loans, there are other funding options to finance your business. Consider additional financing options such as asset financing, sale and leaseback, and invoice discounting. Ask your bank or credit union about the applicability and requirements of these financing options for your business.
- Inventory Management: Take into consideration whether to increase your inventory to cope with further disruption. But you have to make sure that you’re not panic buying and over-extending your business. Also, you might want to consider selling goods at a reasonable discount to generate cash. It’s also crucial to review the impact of cash flow forecasts on inventory valuations.
Keep Abreast With Available Government Support
Survival of your business is a priority, but you also have to consider the interest of the public before acting or making a decision. Take into consideration the knock-on effects on your customers, employees, suppliers, and stakeholders. Obtaining financial support and improving cash flow management are fundamental, and you also need to consider supporting your employees, suppliers, and customers.
Here are some important things you need to know about government support during the coronavirus crisis:
- Before you make any business decision, check what support the government can extend to avoid passing the burden to the public.
- Government support may include loans, grants, tax payment delays, tax breaks, wage support, corporate financing for larger firms, employee welfare benefits, and statutory sick pay cover.
- Always bear in mind that even government-backed loans need to be repaid, so you have to weigh things before making a major decision.
- Gather information and documentation needed to access help, such as company registration, proof of identity, bank statements, account filings, and asset valuations for collateral purposes. You also need to have a plan and associated financial documents for getting approved and supporting your loan repayment.
- Read business updates. It’s crucial to keep yourself abreast of the latest business updates, such as the stock market, digital foreign currencies, and other topics relevant to your business.
Digitally Market Your Business
The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly disrupted the way most companies do business, bringing forth a lot of uncertainties, especially among small and medium-sized businesses. Because of a mandatory shutdown, businesses like clothing and shoe stores, cosmetics and beauty shops, tourism centers, and even restaurants and bakeries are also closed in an attempt to control the spread of coronavirus.
This means that most businesses are currently putting a hold on their production and projects, and some are finding ways to work from home or remotely. In a crisis like this pandemic, it’s crucial for businesses to maintain their brand value. You have to reassure your clients that you have contingency plans to ensure that your customers will still be provided with products and services as soon as things get better.
During this time, many businesses are thinking of cutting their budgets, and considering cutting down on marketing services. However, you can make use of marketing in an innovative way through digital marketing. Use this opportunity to increase your brand exposure while everybody is at home, watching TV and browsing the internet.
Here are the important elements of digital PR to best market your business during the lockdown:
- Digital Marketing: Digital marketing tools such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google AdWords campaign activities strengthen your company’s web presence to remain active and relevant while most consumers are still on lockdown.
- Social Media Marketing: Creating positive awareness among your target audience is achieved by posting pertinent and helpful social media content. Businesses can use social media marketing to increase people’s awareness of existing products and services. Promotional tactics are utilized to draw more consumers to eCommerce websites and other forms of business websites.
- Digital Media Interviews: You can reach more customers by asking your PR agency to schedule Skype or telephonic broadcast interviews (radio and TV). During this crisis, you’ll observe an increasing number of live interviews on YouTube and other digital platforms.
- Online Media Articles: Digital media via online news portals will definitely gain more readers than print media. That’s why you should produce media press releases, analytical articles, and opinion pieces that are useful and can be published online. With the strike of COVID-19, there are plenty of articles discussing how coronavirus can impact a specific business niche or how a product or service can benefit people under quarantine or lockdown.
- Social Media Engagements: With instant messaging and social media conversations, live updates are vital. By prioritizing social media engagements, you strengthen your relations with your potential and existing clients and other companies.
Note: You’ll learn more about the specifics of the best digital marketing strategies during the coronavirus outbreak below.
Because most people are at home and active online, you can take this opportunity to send marketing emails. Of course, there are certain important considerations before implementing this digital marketing strategy.
Email marketing is a great lead generation strategy, in which you attract more potential customers by sending relevant emails. However, you have to be careful and avoid flooding the inbox of your target audience by creating an effective email marketing strategy.
Here are some tips when it comes to sending emails to your customers for marketing purposes:
- Include striking calls to action and interesting links to entice your audience to visit your website and get to know more about your business.
- Make your emails mobile-friendly because a lot of people use their smartphones and other mobile devices when checking emails. Keep your subject line appealing and concise to make your emails stand out on a mobile screen.
- Provide value by giving your audience valuable content, something that is educational, entertaining, or beneficial for them.
- Regular split or A/B testing is a great way to boost your email campaigns. By doing so, you’ll know what email content works best for your business, and this will enable you to adjust your email strategy.
Any business can thrive by knowing what to do while the country is on lockdown. Analyzing your finances, checking the availability of working capital, upgrading your payment system, and digitally marketing your business will help you leverage your business to align with the current circumstances and future business forecast.
By understanding your business finances and projections, as well as actionable steps to take during and after the lockdown, you’ll be able to make sound business decisions. Keep your business thriving by implementing the tips shared above during the lockdown period precipitated by the coronavirus crisis.