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How to Boost Your Business and Keep Your Employees Healthy
  by:  |  Mar 26, 2020

Last updated on July 24th, 2022 at 06:09 pm

Being sheltered doesn’t mean your business has to close entirely and stay with you at home. Here are a few tips to help you weather the outbreak and stay afloat in these unprecedented times.

1. Renegotiate Payment Terms With Vendors

Your sales will likely slow down or take a hit in this quarantine. This means reviewing your fixed and operational costs, such as third-party suppliers and software providers. Remove anything nonessential for now, then request a later or staggered payment scheme. This will help manage your cash flow and save it for a more extended period.

2. Take Advantage of Tax Deferrals

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the deadline to file and pay federal income taxes to July 15, 2020. You can defer up to $10 million of federal income tax payments. No need to worry about penalties or interest until this date. Take advantage of this extension. Focus instead on filing your tax return by April 15, a deadline that has not changed amid the circumstances. You’ll be able to refund money that can help you stay afloat during this crisis.

tax deferral

Note that tax filing isn’t the only delay you can take advantage of. The San Francisco Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector is also deferring the due date for license fees “on behalf of the Department of Public Health, Fire Department, Police Department, Entertainment Commission, and the Office of Cannabis.” Check with your local treasury office if any other deferrals will help you stagger your business spending.

3. Remove Nonessential Costs

Because you’ve reviewed all essential costs, you’ll have a list of unnecessary expenses. These include travel for work, on-site or event brand activation, and anti-social distancing marketing. Brick-and-mortar shops will likely not spend on electricity, water, and other utilities while closed. Office expenses for nonessential businesses are also expected to be drastically reduced. Use the money you would’ve spent on these costs on employee care, essential service payments, a contribution to your emergency fund, or hire a marketing consultant to help your business become more visible in the digital world.

budgeting

4. Increase Your Credit and Add to Your Liquid Reserves

It won’t hurt to ask your credit card company for a credit line increase. While we don’t recommend dipping into it immediately, it’s good to have when necessary. Adding whatever you’ve saved from unnecessary costs to your liquid reserve is also good.

5. Apply for a Small Interest Business Loan

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans at low-interest rates. The Disaster Loan Assistance is eligible in California, Arizona, Connecticut, Missouri, and Washington. If you currently have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender, the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program lets you borrow up to $25,000. It can cushion the hit your business takes from a temporary revenue loss. You can access and apply for both programs online.

6. Look into Grants Offered by Foundations and Companies

As a small business or startup, you probably have yet to break even or earn a significant profit. But this may not be possible during the outbreak. Instead, you can apply for cash grants from companies like Amazon and Facebook. Amazon’s Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund offers cash grants to Seattle’s small businesses. There’s also Facebook’s $100 million grant, which was launched in their Business Resource Hub. Restaurants can check out the James Beard Foundation’s Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund for independent F&B small businesses.

7. Review Your State Government’s Emergency Resources

Forbes lists several cities and states offering new policies and laws to help small businesses. The Small Business Service of New York City offers a zero-interest $75,000 loan to alleviate the incoming profit loss. They’re also contributing to covering 40% of your company employees’ payroll costs.

8. Sit Down and Plan With Your Employees

With a lot more downtime among employees, sit down—or rather, go online and meet—with them to prioritize what projects can be improved in this period. Is there anything you delayed or put in the backlog that’s perfect to launch after the lockdown? How can you make the business more relevant to your consumers? What products should be shelved, and which ones are worth promoting? Involve them in your planning as they’re the best asset you have right now.

work from home

9. Stay Open for Essential Services

While retail companies will likely close shop and migrate online, restaurants and other food services will still need to keep their kitchens open for take-out and delivery orders. Since you’ll be operating outside the dine-in setup, do a test run of when orders peak throughout the day. Limit your operation hours to prep time and taking orders. You also want to pace your staff and manage operational costs.

Open for business

10. Go Digital With Your Promotions

 

Now is the time to transition if you haven’t fully embraced digital marketing. While sales are expected to slow down, you can still connect with customers through the internet. Everyone will probably be glued to their screens, so this is the time to establish or sustain a relationship with your customers via unified communications and different platforms.

Start by creating your website using an affordable website builder to reach your customers quickly. You can also try using Instagram Stories or regular posts on Facebook. Try to post on Instagram from a desktop to ensure high content quality. Email is also thoughtful and empathetic to stay in touch with consumers and keep them virtually informed on your business and service updates.

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