COVID-19 has brought my small business to a halt. Now what?

  • Mar 28, 2020

By Eva Reinoso Tejada

The past two weeks have been, for sure, worse than a scene out of a science fiction movie. As the Coronavirus spreads around the globe, breaking havoc in people’s lives, health care systems and economies, we watch the news in despair, until the unthinkable happens: Your business is shut down or quarantined. You can’t conduct business as usual. That happened to me last week when the governor requested non-essential businesses to close their doors to the public in order to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic.

As I drove to work for the last day that Wednesday morning, my thought was: Now what? Not only am I closed, most likely my customers are too, and will probably pass on spending money whatsoever. After a moment of despair, and then some research and discussion with my peers, I came to establish the following priorities:

1.       First things first: Staying safe. As bothersome as closing my doors to the public it might seem, it would be worse to contract the virus, spread it to my family and employees. Some of us might end up in the hospital, and even die. We closed our doors and enacted even stricter cleaning and social distancing protocols to ensure our safety and that of our families.

2.       Creating a remote work environment.  Although we can’t help customers in person, we are still answering our phone calls during business hours, as well as answering emails, all from our home. We fine tuned our VPN and phone forwarding capabilities, and continued to service customers, providing quotes, and continuing to create graphic designs and proofs for orders in process.

3.       Make sure your customers know what you are doing. Update your website, your phone greeting, put signs on your door, email them, revamp your social media. Communicate, communicate, communicate, don’t just disappear from the map.

4.       Keep an eye on the supply chain.  At some point your suppliers will be out of some product that you need to manufacture or fulfil your customer’s orders. Make sure you inform your customers of any delays and offer alternative products in case that is the only viable option given the circumstances.

5.       Take care of your employees.  We are all scared at this point. If you are able to continue to pay your employees, even with reduced hours, do it. When this is all done, you will need them more than ever to rebuild after this storm.

6.       Create alternative sources of income. I have seen promotional product manufacturers switching to the production or distribution of PPE and similar things. Find out which industries are currently operating at full speed, like grocery stores, food markets, and construction companies, and offer your products and services to them.

7.       Assess your finances. Analyze your budget and cut down the things that will help you survive. Consider talking to your lenders, landlords, and banks and ask for flexibility, and more time to pay your obligations without incurring penalties.

8.       Ask for help, give help. There are resources available for small businesses to navigate this. Also, there are actions you can take to help others, that will keep you focused on finding a solution, more than lamenting the problem. I will elaborate more on this topic in a future blog.

We need to take some time to grieve, assess, rest and think. But we can’t allow ourselves to go idle. Remaining in movement (literally and figuratively) will help us cope with this pandemic and come out stronger. With that said, Image Impressions is providing FREE COVID PREVENTION POSTERS for those who need it on their locations, and a FREE BANNER for restaurants who are switching operations from sit down to take out and delivery. Call us if you can benefit from these items, or for any printing and marketing needs you might have at this time.