By LeeAnn Huntoon
5 Resources To Help Small Businesses Stay Ahead During COVID-19
It’s no surprise that businesses big and small are being affected by the coronavirus pandemic. During this time it’s so important that we support each other as a community. We want you to know that we empathize with your businesses needs and want to assure you that we are here to help you in any way we can.
To get you through this time of uncertainty we’ve created a list of resources to assist your small business and help you stay ahead during COVID-19.
Communicate Your Needs with Partners and Vendors
The unexpected revenue drought has caused concern for many business owners who are trying to cover the costs of running their company. Businesses that rely heavily on pedestrian traffic such as retail and hospitality are definitely feeling the strain in this harsh climate.
Reach out to your partners and vendors, making sure to be very transparent on what you need to continue operations. Many vendors and businesses are coming together to help their customers and employees during this time of need.
For instance, Amazon will be hiring 100,000 additional employees and giving current staff a raise to deal with the coronavirus demands. Amazon also announced that they will offer unlimited paid sick leave over the next month for those who test positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Communicate with partners and vendors to also see how you can help each other. This is a great time to build beneficial partnerships that may not only help you in the short term, but create new growth opportunities for your business and customers in the long term.
Open Up to Virtual Payment Options and Digital Gift Cards
Now is the time to incorporate virtual payment options into your business model if you’re able. Selling goods and services online is a great way to supplement any in store traffic loss due to the coronavirus quarantine.
Virtual terminals allow you to produce online invoices and set up recurring billing solutions designed to help your business accept online payments simply and effectively.
You’re also able to create and send payment links directly to your customers via email or SMS text. Copy and past a pre-built HTML code to your small business website to create clickable payment buttons. This is all doable via your intuitive web-based payment portal and doesn’t require your customer to be present to pay.
An online store (eCommerce) allows you to buy and sell goods and services on the internet. With a well-designed website and easy checkout process, it’s easy for customers to add products and services to their online shopping cart and buy.
Inventory can be easily uploaded to include eye catching images and tempting videos to engage your buyers online. An eCommerce website also allows you to create digital coupons and discount codes, as well as sell and accept digital gift cards right from the dashboard.
Selling Digital Gift Cards right from your website is another great way to generate revenue during the Coronavirus quarantine. Buyers can choose to have their gift card emailed to them or schedule it for a special occasion. The emailed gift card will showcase your brand colors and logo. The recipients can then decide to either print, download, or save their digital coupon right to their smartphone.
Leverage Free Virtual Business Resources
If your business is aligned to have your employees work remotely, there are free virtual resources to help manage productivity and solidarity. Here are a few of our favorite virtual business tools as well as some offering free services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zoom is a remote conferencing app with an easy and reliable cloud platform. Your team can stay connected during business hours with their remote conferencing services that combine video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaborations all in one.
Monday.com allows you to work remotely and effectively. The work operating system allows you to build custom workflows to run projects, processes, and everyday work with confidence.
Hubspot is a CRM tool used for sales and marketing management. It’s products and services provide tools for customer relationship management, social media marketing, content management, lead generation, website analytics, and SEO.
BOX is making Box business edition, for small and medium-sized businesses, free for 90 days in response to the crisis. The company is also allowing existing Box enterprise customers to add additional users beyond their license limits for the next month, at no cost.
A lot of our customers are dealing with unplanned bursts in remote work. To remove any hurdles, we’re allowing existing Box enterprise customers to add any additional users beyond their license limits for the next month at no cost.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) March 10, 2020
IGLOO is offering the Business Continuity Bundle to organizations globally through July 6th that are transitioning to remote work. The bundle includes a News Hub for communication, and a “leadership corner” to provide leaders with a secure and restricted space to connect.
Find Creative Ways to Stay Top of Mind
Businesses across the nation are finding creative ways to support their business and their customers. From setting up virtual payment options, to adjusting their products to sell via delivery or to-go. Restaurants are adjusting store hours and occupancy rates to meet CDC guidelines while also serving their customer base.
“…Small business owners are finding ways to support one another. For example, businesses in Asheville, N.C. and Louisville, Ky. have launched websites with local business listings to encourage community members to buy gift cards that help mitigate the anticipated decline in revenue.” – cnbc.com
Here are a few ways you can stay top of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Provide special discounts and offers to your customers
- Implement a referral rewards program
- Stay active on social media to communicate with your customers
- Market, Market, Market. Businesses should continue to market as more people are online than ever
- Produce virtual campaigns, events, and webinars
- Find ways to virtualize services and products by leveraging video and social platforms
- Re-imagine products and create ways to offer them “on-the-go”
Thanks Matt! We want to make sure everyone stays safe, gets their books, and stays safe.
Big thanks to the sometimes penciller, inker, and colorist of Underdog. A real renaissance man! https://t.co/CkMkFEmhri
— Graham Crackers (@GCComics) March 19, 2020
Look Into Business Loans And Fund Relief Programs
There are a multitude of resources available to help keep your business afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
For example, the U.S. small business administration is providing disaster assistance for those affected by the coronavirus. Designated states and territories are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
You should also keep an eye on any state funded programs and virtual resources for fund relief.
In Florida, up to $50 million has been allocated to the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. This was recently activated by Gov. Ron Desantis to assist Florida small businesses with 2 to 100 employees who are struggling as a result of the current pandemic crisis. The program will provide short term interest free loans to businesses affected by the required closures including, but not limited to bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. The application period runs from now until May 8th.
For more information on this program go to the Florida disaster loan website. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network by calling 866-737-7232 or emailing [email protected]
The biggest way to ensure your business is able to continue driving forward is to keep calm and plan logically. Avoid caving into fear and worry. Instead use that energy to look at all your options, to rise above and find creative ways to position yourself as a better business.
We here at Fattmerchant hope that you remain safe and healthy during this time. Stay in the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and hear the latest in Fattmerchant news, products, and more.
Thanks to our new partnership with Womply your ability to apply for the SBA loan has been fast-tracked.
Learn more about how this partnership makes sure the application process doesn’t hold you back when funding is available. Click here to apply now.