When the economy takes a beating and the future is plagued by uncertainty, small business owners must think of creative new ways to adapt to tough times. Whether your business is struggling in the face of a pandemic or an unforeseen seasonal downturn, knowing how to weather challenges big and small can keep you afloat in even the most-volatile waters. From finding new ways to engage with customers to taking out a small business loan, here are some steps business owners can take in a challenging time.
Implement a Remote Work Policy
When a crisis causes your doors to shut abruptly and for an indefinite amount of time, it’s important to figure out a way to keep the business running smoothly. Fifty-two percent of employees in some industries now work remotely due to COVID-19. If you haven’t done so already, and your business operations allow for it, implement a remote work policy to keep up your workflow. With all the tech solutions available today (many of them free), small business owners can ensure their teams keep in touch and continue working no matter how dispersed they are. For ideas about how to support remote workers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has devised this handy guide.
Find New Ways to Engage with Customers
Customers crave transparency, so admitting to them that you’re having a difficult time is key to maintaining relationships. If you’ve had to postpone events, are taking longer than usual to fill orders or other operations have been compromised, do not sacrifice customers’ trust in you by remaining silent. During a crisis, it’s important to find new ways to engage with customers — and digital may be the answer. In addition to communicating via email, on your website or on social media pages, Google recommends updating your business hours and description in your Google My Business profile if your business has been affected.
Be sure to adjust your online strategy as well. Reassess campaign budgets and shift your messaging to meet consumers’ current needs, and use available tools to connect with people at home, like hosting Facebook Live or Zoom presentations and conducting virtual consultations.
Consider a Small Business Loan
If you’ve been wondering how hard it is to take out a small business loan, especially if you happen to have bad credit, taking action toward fixing your credit score is an important place to start. After all, small business loan rejection rates can be as high as 73 percent with traditional banks and bad credit is a leading factor.
Using a gamified dashboard that displays potential score increases and decreases based on spending and debt repayment, ScoreMaster is designed to help borrowers achieve their best credit score in just 20 days. Even more, ScoreMaster uses an open collaboration feature, which binds borrowers and lenders to a devised plan for better-quality loans based on a goal credit score. The feature also allows small business owners to share their ScoreMaster plan with lenders in real time, which keeps them on track for the best possible deals thanks to their best possible score.
Retain Employees with Unique Perks
As the U.S. economy collapsed in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, more than 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the month of March alone. If your business has not yet had to lay off employees, or even if you have, keeping your current workforce optimistic about the future is crucial now more than ever.
Consider offering your employees a variety of perks that empower and inspire them, such as training opportunities that keep long-term goals in mind, or new certifications that help them expand their skill sets. You might also consider making paid time off (PTO) policies or work hours more flexible to accommodate workers with children.
Another perk you can offer employees, especially those concerned about their long-term financial health, is ScoreMaster, which will help them keep an eye on their spending habits, debt accrual and credit scores. ScoreMaster can also protect employees from identity fraud, acting as a layer of security for those who may feel increasingly insecure during these uncertain times.
Tough times come and go, but there are ways to stay on course for a more-promising financial future. Learn more about how ScoreMaster can help small businesses and their employees make it to the other side.
*Legal Disclaimer – ScoreMaster is a patent-pending educational feature simulating credit utilization’s effect on credit scores via payments or spending. Your results may vary and are not guaranteed.