By Derek Goodman
Hatch knows that keeping your business running during the pandemic can be a serious challenge. However, while you’re thinking up new business concepts and ways to bring customers in, there are some tried-and-true solutions that might be beneficial. Here are all the tools your business needs to outlast the pandemic — and be profitable at the same time.
Grants and Loans Are Your Top Financial Tools
If you’ve already reduced your overhead costs, cut employee hours, or ordered layoffs, what next? As humbling as it might feel, sourcing grants and loans is an honest way to keep your business afloat. For example, experts who support startups are eager to help. Amazon’s Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund has doled out over $11 million in cash grants and free rent to struggling businesses.
Other programs are for specific types of businesses, like the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant program. You can also search the federal government’s grant site for available programs across a range of industries and company sizes.
If grants aren’t enough, you might consider taking out loans for your business. This option isn’t foolproof, but if you have a business model that you know will work, a loan could get you through this tough season. The US Chamber of Commerce offers advice on the government’s emergency loan programs available due to the pandemic, just read the fine print.
Expert Advice is Invaluable for Saving Money
Consulting an experienced tax expert is another essential step when you’re looking to preserve your business. From tax deductions to specialized tax breaks, you might be missing out on financial perks for your company. Home office deductions and retirement plan contributions are just two often-overlooked write-offs you might miss. If you don’t already have a trusted advisor to help with crunching the numbers, get one ASAP.
Also consider your business structure; for instance, and LLC protects your personal finances, which is a must any time, but especially in tough times. For this, you can use an online service that simplifies the process and ensures you meet your state’s guidelines.
An Approachable Website Is Crucial
Even if your county is keeping some businesses shuttered as the coronavirus pandemic continues sweeping through the US, your business can thrive — online. However, to reap the benefits of an online presence, you need to develop your website and branding. Your website needs multiple elements to ensure customers can find you and get around the pages.
For example, Fit Small Business says your website should have, among other things:
- A great logo
- Professional web hosting
- Security protections
- Mobile-friendly elements
- Engaging content
If you struggle to get your site operational, consider outsourcing this step. Even if you need to hire a pro, a decent website can increase your business traffic enough to justify the investment.
Online Tools Offer Purchasing Options
If you sell a product, moving your store online might be beneficial during the coronavirus shutdown. In addition to saving on commercial rental space, you can also diversify your product offerings. Choosing dropshipping, for example, removes the need to keep products at your home or in a warehouse. Alternatively, you could sell digital products; depending on your industry, you could sell anything from eBooks to music or art. Whether you create products on your own or enlist some outside help to develop, say, an online course or digital assets, the return on investment could be exponential. After all, you can develop a digital product once and sell it multiple times, creating a passive income stream your business can rely on.
Physical Improvements Are a Valuable Tool
You might not think of physical store improvements as a tool, but making changes to your storefront and your operating standards can help boost your sales during the pandemic. Regardless of the regulations in your area, customers want to feel safe and ensure their health while shopping. Consider implementing special policies and even equipment to give your customers what they want. Automatic hand sanitizer stations, sneeze guards, and curbside pickup are just a few in-store changes that can make a big impact.
Whether you’re going it alone with DIY improvements or you plan to enlist an expert’s help, the truth is that your business needs to be dynamic to survive the pandemic. By making tech upgrades and applying other tools to your organization, you’ll increase your odds of turning a profit — no matter how long the shutdown lasts.
Photo via Rawpixel