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The Small Business COVID-19 Survival Guide: The Second Wave

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There’s no question about it: The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated America’s small businesses. Nearly one in four small businesses were forced to close temporarily during the pandemic and many remain on the brink of permanent closure if they haven’t shuttered their doors already.

While business owners are cautiously optimistic as communities begin to reopen, many worry that their business won’t survive a resurgence of the virus: 65% of small business owners express concern that they’ll have to close temporarily or permanently due to a second wave of COVID-19.

If you’ve made it this far, don’t give up yet. There’s a lot small business owners can do to bolster their business against a second wave of the pandemic. This four-step guide will help you keep your doors open through the coming months and into the future.

Apply for Financial Relief

The coronavirus pandemic has slashed revenue while increasing spending on COVID-19 precautions, modified business models, and digital marketing. As a result, it’s no surprise that federal relief programs including the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance were quickly exhausted.

That doesn’t mean businesses are out of options, however. Small businesses still have a variety of government and non-government resources they can tap for financial support. These include:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans: While advance funds are gone, businesses can still apply for low-interest EIDL loans.
  • SBA Express Bridge Loan: Express Bridge Loans provide up to $25,000 through an expedited application process.
  • Main Street Lending Program: This Federal Reserve initiative is designed to make it easier for small- and mid-sized businesses to obtain loans from local lenders.
  • Traditional SBA loans: Small businesses can also apply for traditional SBA loans like the 7(a) and microloan programs.
  • Grants from non-government entities are smaller, but funding from Facebook, Verizon, ZenBusiness, and others can close the gap between a business’s needs and federal resources.

Cut Costs and Rework the Budget

In addition to applying for funding, small businesses should focus on becoming as lean and efficient as possible. That includes reworking the budget and cutting unnecessary spending on travel, hiring, and capital improvements. It may also mean making cuts to your labor force. Labor cost cuts don’t necessarily equal layoffs, however. Pay reductions, hour cuts, temporary furloughs save businesses money while retaining staff.

Small businesses may also shut down divisions that aren’t profitable during the pandemic. This allows them to divert funds to updates and upgrades that help businesses maximize revenue in this new economy.

Find New Ways to Reach Customers

Saving money isn’t enough to keep small businesses afloat through a prolonged pandemic. Companies need to adapt if they’re going to maintain cash flow, not to mention market relevance.

As part of a game plan to bring in business through the pandemic, small businesses need to reconfigure their marketing strategy and identify the best way to safely deliver products and services to customers.

For some retail and food service businesses, that means reassigning floor staff to delivery and curbside pickup. However, many businesses are opting to move their sales online during the pandemic. This can be done at a low cost for entrepreneurs willing to put some elbow grease into building an online store.

Design a Safe Operating Plan

Businesses with walk-in traffic also need to take measures to keep employees and customers safe. In addition to reducing capacity at brick-and-mortar locations, businesses should invest in physical upgrades that reinforce social distancing.

Sneeze guards are one way retailers are making locations safer. Other DIY-able updates include floor decals and temporary displays to promote social distancing and one-way traffic.

Implementing no-touch payments is an important precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to upgrading credit card terminals to ones that accept tap-to-pay cards and mobile wallets, businesses can encourage customers to pre-pay online or through a mobile app.

There are a lot of survival strategies available to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but what if they don’t work? If you’ve taken these steps but don’t have the funds to keep your business afloat, consider reaching out to Bay Area Corporate Counsel. Bay Area Corporate Counsel can help you navigate your legal possibilities, like selling your business so you can walk away without closing down.

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