Small Business Owners and COVID-19

If you are one of the many small business owners who have to stop work right now, we know this is a very scary and unprecedented time. No one ever wants to realize what it’s like to be a small business owner who is unable to do business, for any length of time. If you are reading this from your home, saying, “Yup, that’s me,” the good news is this is likely not the end of your business. That is, it doesn’t have to be. 

For small business owners who have had to let employees go or have had to send them home without work and pay, the employees are usually the first thing on your mind. For that, we applaud you. Most small business owners care about their employees more than they do their gain. Still, for some small business owners, it’s the government that told them to shutter their doors. What is there to do now but wait it out? 

Small Business Owners Can Use This Time To Refine Their Process 

There is almost always more than one thing on a small business owner’s mind that they’ve been meaning to fix in their business. One of the things that usually need fine-tuning for lots of reasons is the process. The process is how you go about delivering products for services to your clients. Businesses who grow always outgrow their original process. The way your business handled servicing clients when the client list was small is probably not working as well now. 

When a business grows, things need to change to meet the demands of more clients and increased workload. Chances are, you’ve been meaning to figure out how to do things better for a while now. This downtime is the perfect opportunity to do it. How can you make delivering goods and services more efficient? 

What about your supply chain? You’ve probably been working with the same vendors for years now. Are they giving you the best deal? Smart small business owners are continually shopping for the best deals so they can keep their profit margins healthy. You probably like your vendors very much. Let’s take this time to make sure your wallets do too. 

This Is A Great Time To Redo Or Develop Your Marketing Strategy 

Many small business owners are too busy to think about looking at their marketing strategy differently, that is if they even have one. Doing some marketing and sitting down to craft what your marketing strategy is are two very different things. 

Have you mapped out your marketing plan? 

  • What marketing tools will you use? 
  • Why are you doing it that way? 
  • How do you know it will be successful? 
  • How will you measure its success? 

It is this set of questions that will help you on your way to making a real marketing plan that you can use to help your small business grow when the world recovers from the COVID-19 crisis. Knowing what you will do when that happens should also do a lot for the anxiety that comes with inactivity. 

Figure Out What You Can Do Better For Workplace Culture 

Sooner or later your employees will be full steam ahead once more. Do you remember what they told you before about ways to improve their work environment? Did they ask you for improvements in any area? Now is a good time to take their concerns to heart and think of ways to meet the demands to make working for you a more enjoyable and enriching experience. Keeping employees happy keeps employee costs at bay because you won’t be spending money to keep replacing people. If your turnover is high, now is a good time to think about why that is and make the necessary adjustments.

What about your HR strategy?

  • How is your Workers Compensation insurance? 
  • What kinds of Risk and Safety practices do you have?
  • What does your employee handbook look like? 
  • Do you have good healthcare coverage and benefits? 

It’s easy to neglect these things and think of them as nice-to-haves when business is going at breakneck speed and you are just trying to keep up with the demands. Your HR strategy and process is a bigger deal than you might think it is. Not having Risk and Safety policies and training in place could cost you your business if something happens to one of your employees. No one is ever counting on disaster striking at the workplace, but it happens..a lot. 

You didn’t count on your business being closed due to a public health crisis either and, just like that, you are sitting in front of your computer with every employee at home. You don’t get to determine what happens, but you can control how you react to it. Workers’ Compensation and Risk and Safety needs to be up to par before your doors reopen. 

Healthcare coverage is another big one. For employers who are paying a little extra per hour and asking their employees to get their own coverage, what are you putting them at risk for? Not having good healthcare coverage leaves your business wide open for employee turnover and could cost a lot of lost productivity for employees who are without adequate healthcare. 

If you need help with getting the right HR strategy, maybe a PEO can help. They help small business owners just like you keep up with HR Law, HR compliance and good HR standards, as well as providing Workers’ Compensation insurance, Risk and Safety best practices, and great benefits. The cost of working with a PEO could be thousands less than what you are paying for all of this now. While you're waiting to start up your business again, contact us for a free consultation to find out what a great PEO can do to restart your business the right way. 

If you’d like to find out more about how PEOs can help you provide great benefits and payroll management at less than you are paying now, contact us today for a free consultation.

Mary Beth Crowley

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