As the U.S moves forward with reopening, small businesses are dealing with all sorts of new challenges. From stocking up on personal protective equipment (PPE) to modifying operating procedures to keep staff and customers safe, this will be the new normal for some time to come.
As a business owner, you may be balancing keeping your staff and customers safe with keeping revenue flowing in. Keep reading for 4 ways to keep your small business cash flow as strong as possible during the coronavirus outbreak and resulting economic slowdown.
Even if you aren’t able to see your customers in person, that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with them. If you haven’t already started a regular dialogue with customers via email addresses you’ve collected in the past, now’s the time to start. Many businesses are offering services virtually or via pickup/delivery, so email is one of the best ways you can keep in touch with your customers and contacts to sustain some level of business.
If you have had to temporarily shut down, consider emailing your list promoting gift cards to your business with no expiration date. This can help to solve your immediate cash flow needs, and customers can then use the gift cards when social distancing guidelines are lifted and your business is open again. Many Americans are looking for ways to support their favorite small businesses during the outbreak and buying gift cards has become a popular way to do so.
Additionally, if you have company social media channels, you can also promote your new service offerings or gift cards to your followers. Continue to post regularly during this time, even if you’re closed, to stay top of mind with your customers. This can help you keep your customers engaged with your brand even though they can’t visit your physical business location.
Retailers and restaurants in particular have been hard-hit by the lockdown restrictions and social distancing requirements. Depending upon the restrictions in your region, you may still be able to offer curbside pickup and delivery services to your customers.
If you have a corresponding e-commerce site or online delivery platform, making the transition to offering pickup and delivery only shouldn’t be too difficult. If you don’t have these services in place, you can promote that you offer these services at your business now by emailing your customer list and promoting on your social media channels, take orders by email or phone.
To transition to these types of services, you may need to retrain your current employees who are store clerks or waiters to provide delivery services or take orders via phone or email instead. You will also want to review the U.S. Department of Labor and CDC websites for guidance on how to offer these services and still keep both your employees and customers safe.
You should also look at your liabilities, such as your accounts payable, to see where you can possibly create a deal to manage your cash flow shortage. For example, many businesses likely work with a few suppliers and vendors where they regularly purchase their inventory and other supplies.
Reach out to your vendors and see if you can extend your usual payment terms, or if your vendor can offer a temporary payment grace period. If you lease your business location, you may also want to reach out to your landlord to see if they are able to offer some sort of payment grace period or discount on rent.
Even if you are able to put some of the tips listed above into practice, you’ll likely still find it difficult to keep your small business cash flow healthy during this time. Most small businesses will still need extra financial help. Fortunately, there are a number of local, state, and federal assistance programs launching to help small businesses deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The recently passed CARES Act includes a number of provisions to help support small businesses impacted by COVID-19.Part of the CARES Act included expanded funding to the SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan program, as well as the newly created Paycheck Protection Program, whose application deadline was recently extended to August 8, 2020. SBA PPP loans are designed to provide financial assistance to small businesses to help them keep employees on their payrolls.
This article was provided by OnDeck.
This article has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for health, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own health professionals or tax, legal and accounting advisors before implementing any business changes.