There is no doubt that the latest COVID-19 pandemic will strike small companies hard. When something as drastic as this happens, it can be detrimental not only to the small business owner but also to the workers they support.
So, how can small companies withstand the difficulties that 2020 has brought? There is no simple answer to that. But we do have some suggestions on how to cut costs and stay safe at the same time.
Let’s see how to operate your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Work from home.
- Get a virtual office / virtual address if you get lots of mail or parcels as part of your business. Have your post delivered to your virtual address. The virus can live on parcels and letters. A good Serviced Office Provider will sign your post and then scan and email it to you or keep it for you until you can collect it or forward it to your residential address. This method of receiving posts can also save you from other complications associated with receiving a post to your residential address. For example, you can maintain privacy and will not need to reveal your personal residential address to your suppliers and customers. You also don’t need to worry about missing the postman or courier should you not hear the bell ring etc. Nobody likes making a trip to the post office or courier hub to collect missed post and parcels. Especially at a time when non-essential travel is not recommended.
- Get a VoIP line so you can take calls at home. Establish an emergency phone number for dealing with worried customers where necessary. A reputable serviced office company or virtual office provider should be able to do this for you.
- Hire a virtual secretary or virtual assistant to help deal with large volumes of queries or orders during the pandemic. A good provider of virtual office services should be able to arrange this for you. You may think you can’t afford a VA if you have a start-up, or if your company is already developed, you don’t need one. But VAs can be game-changers for almost any company. After all, the saying “time is money” is valid. VAs can also help with nearly any important, yet time-consuming work. For example the management of databases, company reports, internet analysis. When you spend more time helping your company rather than building it up, you will not optimize your efforts.
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- Virtual conferences are the ideal way to keep your team on the same page, create an audience, develop an email list, or generate income. Given the current coronavirus situation and its exponential spread, holding personal meetings may not be an option. Virtual conferences provide an attractive solution to this problem. They have most of the same attractive advantages of having a meeting in person but with the additional benefits of staying safe.
Set up a temporary office.
- When working from home is not a choice due to congestion/noise/distraction, look into renting a short term office close to your residence. Most towns and cities will have providers of serviced offices. A good serviced office provider will offer a no-nonsense office rental solution that normally includes short term lets with flexible contracts and all-inclusive rates and also shared office and co-working solutions. Setting up a temporary office may not remove the risk of catching the coronavirus bug but it can certainly reduce it. By finding a find short term office which is close to your house you can remove the requirement to take public transport to work which reduces the number of people you interact with on the journey to and from work.
Cut costs where possible.
- Look at ways to cut costs. Your largest monthly expense will normally be office rent and salaries. Where possible consider working with freelancers and implementing a project-based method of remuneration.
- Try and implement shifts at your workplace. Redundancies are never welcome, especially at a time of crisis like this, but perhaps cutting hours and implementing shifts can work to save your business money.
Need to stay open?
- For many small businesses, working from home or setting up a temporary office may not be a choice. If you find yourself in this situation and have to remain open for a business try and implement and maintain a thorough cleaning and hygiene policy.
- Clean all frequently touched surfaces, including door handles, table surfaces, and handrails, daily. Have antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers available throughout the workplace.
- Consider highering a specialized cleaning company for a regular deep clean.
- Try and keep employees at a safe distance from each other by spacing desks out.
- Avoid meetings and unnecessary visits to the workplace by customers and supplies.
- Either close or restrict access to communal areas where people are likely to interact and come into close contact with each other.
There is no easy solution for dealing with the current pandemic crisis. The main thing is to stay safe. No amount of money is worth putting your own safety and that of your staff, clients and suppliers at risk.