Navigating difficult decisions as a business owner during a stressful time
COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone. For the first time in history, the entire globe was unified with a common fear and purpose. Global shutdowns, flight cancellations, business closures – all of these measures were taken within every border of the world. Understandably, many tough decisions have been made by business owners around the world. How have you been navigating these decisions during this stressful time? You do not have to be an expert in crisis, but you can be more prepared. Consider these tips on how to manage a crisis – whether it’s the current pandemic or something else in the future such as a natural disaster (i.e., hurricane, flooding, etc.).
Tip 1 – Clear Communication
Unfortunately, furloughs, lay-offs, and reduced hours became a reality for many Americans during the pandemic. As a business owner and a boss, you were likely the one sharing this tough news with your staff. The key to breaking the news is to do so with complete honesty. At the end of the day, losing your job is difficult. That said, an employee is much more likely to feel less attacked or insecure if they understand why. Are your sales down? Did you have to reduce hours? Try to give as much honest information as you can so they understand it is not about their work ethic, but your inability to keep them on as a result of larger issues nobody saw coming.
In a case where they can apply for unemployment, provide them with the resources to do so. If you continue to support your staff emotionally, they will feel encouraged and more likely to return to you once you can rehire.
Tip 2 – Get Creative
In a circumstance where your current inventory or sales method is no longer possible with COVID-19, think of new ways to increase sales. For instance, make your Instagram page shoppable. You can list your products online, ask customers to DM for purchases, and set up a PayPal account. In this way, you can either offer shipping or a curbside pick up or local delivery option to ensure you can continue to sell inventory.
For retailers, have you considered selling masks? Do you have a method for shipping orders to customers or can they pick up curbside? Are you in the restaurant business? Do you offer take out or pickup options? The best way to try to stay afloat is to brainstorm how to best evolve with the current climate. Some business owners reached out to loyal, long-term customers to get specific feedback about the ways they could help them and then started offering those services or products to other customers. Think outside the box and it will likely benefit everyone.
Tip 3 – Stay Organized
Business valuations will look much like they did during the 2008 recession. Try to keep a detailed financial record month-to-month during the pandemic. This way, when it is time to do a business valuation, you will not be as greatly penalized for a decrease in sales for this period. Buyers will be interested in how you handled the crisis, as much as your sales projections.
For other ideas about handling a crisis and making the best decisions, your Houston business advisors at Transworld Business Advisors can assist you. If you are hoping to list your business for sale, calculate your valuation, or think of creative ways to thrive despite the current crisis, contact your local Transworld Houston team today!