When the novel coronavirus first emerged, the immediate step governments took to limit the spread was to implement containment measures. This meant that people had to stay at home unless necessary and shifting all physical operations over to the digital space. By extension, businesses are to cease operations until the government deem it’s safe.
Whilst this method has seen to be an innovative approach to coping with the virus, many businesses still managed to fall through the cracks. It would’ve seemed small and independent companies seemed to be going through the worst, especially those that are family-owned. The containment measures have a direct impact on the cash available to small businesses and without having a clear business model, they’re bound to take a significant hit or worse, bankrupt and shut down.
To avoid this reality, we’ve gathered a few tips that will help small businesses survive amidst this difficult time.
1. Take Advantage Of Government Programs
Many governments around the world have implemented several initiatives to support businesses to uphold the fragile economy. The Singapore government has offered several grants, financial schemes, manpower support and digital support. The government has even tailored these support according to the specific sectors, such as the arts, hospitality and tourism, and maritime amongst many other things.
One of the grants is the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) meant for businesses to support their project costs such as software and equipment costs, internal manpower and third-party consultancy fees. The capped support level is set at 80% till 31st December 2020. For those sectors that have been severely impacted, they can enjoy a 90% cost coverage, but qualification is based on a case-by-case basis.
If you wish to see what are your available options, you can head over to the government website for more information.
2. Renegotiate Contracts
Now that the industry has drastically changed due to the circumstances, you will need to take a look at your contracts. Now that you have the limitations – whether it’d be physical, financial or otherwise – you’ll have to alter your contracts to fit your current situation.
Gather all your vendor contracts and start prioritising. Next, negotiate specific terms such as reducing the payments and extending the terms. Whilst some of these vendors may not agree, since they need to protect their own interests, some will! Many understand the symbiotic relationship between businesses and clients.
You can also work to negotiate with your landlord whether they can agree to make adjustments for your retail and office rental payments for a set amount of time.
3. Collect Any Outstanding Cash
On the flip side, take this opportunity to reach out to those that may still owe you money. If you’re currently holding an invoice because the work has yet to be completed, you can bill for the portion that you’ve done.
You can also ask your consumers and clients for prepayment of any future services.
Of course, be sure to also detail your current situation to your clients. They are more likely to be responsive if you’ve painted the bigger picture. Furthermore, they, too, are coping with the COVID19 situation and thus, have their own set of financial worries. You might want to offer them discounts for future services if they made payment upfront.
4. Increasing Productivity
The general idea is to somehow complete as much as you can, with a small yet efficient team. A smaller group will grant you direct communication between departments. After all, you’re looking to survive, not grow.
You may even want to move your business online, similar to other bigger businesses. Even if you’re not particularly well averse in website development and the like, you can always start by establishing your brand and your business in the various social media platforms. Now that digital marketing is all the more important, it’s time to consider placing yourself within the mix.
Phase 2 of circuit breaker measures have graced us and businesses can now open their doors to welcome customers and clients once again. Whilst this is something to be celebrating about, it also means that one has to be wary and vigilant.
On top of cost-efficient, having a virtual office space will also safeguard your health and the health of your employees! Our virtual offices allow you to continue with your business operations without a physical office. This flexible office space will enable you to have access to meeting rooms, obtain a distinguished business address and phone line, amongst many other things. Relocate your resources to areas that matter during this unprecedented time.