HOW-TO-GUIDE TO SURVIVING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Coronavirus and small business are two topics weighing heavily on the minds of economists, communities, my clients, and the team here at Lucky Break. It certainly feels like the world is spinning on its head at the moment. Many schools are closed indefinitely, dining and entertainment venues are practically ghost towns (if they’re still open at all), travel restrictions are canceling shows and business conferences left and right, and the daily press briefings seem to be a progressively grim parade of bad news.
These are unprecedented times. And the people who feel unprecedented times before everyone else? Small business owners and hourly wage workers. Many in the Lucky Break community are already seeing the financial impacts of COVID-19 on their bottom line, and it’s understandably causing a tremendous amount of anxiety.
HOW CAN SMALL BUSINESSES PREPARE?
Deep breaths, friend. This is a special kind of awful, but we can make it though if we think strategically, strive for adaptability, and tap all the resources available to us. With those goals in mind, Team Lucky Break is drafting blogs, creating action plans, and recording videos designed to support you during the uncertain times of Coronavirus. May this pass quickly, and- until it does- may we all be there to support one another.
RESIST THE URGE TO HOST A SALE.
The moment we realize that sales are dipping, our first reflex is often to host a deal to boost cash flow. Watching your bank statement enter shallow waters is scary, indeed, but sales are rarely the life raft we need.
There are several dangers attached to hosting sales in response to Coronavirus for your small business.
- We’re unsure of how long this shutdown could go on. In the same way that the Federal Reserve uses rate cuts as leverage when the going gets tough, we need to utilize sales in much the same manner. If we use discounts as a leverage tool now, what will do in 4 weeks if this drags on? What about 8?
- Think of the rest of your sales in 2020 as a unit. If your business is on track to generate $120,000 this calendar year, then hosting a sale now essentially sells off later purchases at a lower rate. Cash in hand now is delightful, but it comes at a cost later down the line if it’s raised during a promo squeeze in times of crisis.
- Frequent or deep sales ultimately erode your brand positioning. If you’re focused on superior quality or luxury positioning, then you’ll attract the wrong crowd with deep sales. The damage you do in moments of panic could potentially take months or years to recover from, so a steady hand is paramount.
- When you train customers to expect sales, you surrender the promise of transacting at full price in the future. Shoppers get spoiled rather quickly, and you’ll want to be mindful of the precedents you set in times of stress.
- Understand your numbers. If you have access to our Price-O-Matic software, you can get a close look at your profit margins and know what to avoid marking down in the event that you need to further down the road.
A better option? If you’re in knee-deep water, then conserve cash now and double-down on your existing customer base. Deploy discounts when the water gets waste-level.
IMMEDIATELY TRIM YOUR BUSINESS AND PERSONAL EXPENSES.
Hop online and print your most recent bank statement. Highlight extraneous expenses that you no longer need or can momentarily pause without a significant impact on your business. Don’t shortcut this exercise by relying on your memory. Printing your bank record and combing through it line by line always turns up a tidy stack of things you can suspend without feeling the hurt for a while. Keep an eye out for:
- Charges for apps you no longer use.
- Recurring fees for services that you no longer take advantage of.
- Automatically billed memberships that you can suspend temporarily: stock image libraries, music + video + audiobook streaming services, print newspapers, and magazines, etc.
CHECK YOUR BUSINESS INSURANCE COVERAGE.
Over the weekend, I spoke with a dear friend who has spent her entire adult life immersed in the insurance industry for 28 years. Because she lives, breathes, and dreams insurance, I asked what type of policy could cover our tuchus during the outbreak.
The bad news: Your general liability insurance won’t be of any benefit during a CO-VID 19 outbreak.
The better news: You might have coverage under a Business Disruption Insurance policy. This type of insurance covers the loss of income that a business suffers after a disaster. The income loss could result from the disaster-related closing of a business facility or due to the rebuilding process after a disaster.
Here’s the rub: Something has to happen on-site in order for there to be coverage. Regrettably, there’s is no coverage for a recession or downturn in sales. For example, you might have a viable claim if a customer or employee comes onto your business premises while infected, and that causes an outbreak which results in the closure of your business. Or if- heaven forbid- we go under martial law for more than a few days, then there would be coverage available in consideration of your lost profits.
But don’t bother rushing out to secure this type of policy right now. While it’s too late for this pandemic, Business Disruption Insurance is likely a via option for protecting your business in the future. Check with your insurance agent to see if what protections you have in place.
EXPLORE THE SBA’S DISASTER ASSISTANCE LOAN PROGRAM.
The SBA is monitoring the coronavirus and has launched a program to provide low-interest loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
Here’s how it works: The loans are designed to benefit small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, the Small Business Administration will issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration. Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.
SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center via phone (1-800-659-2955) or e-mail >> firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
We’ve compiled these recommendations into a Coronavirus Action Plan for Small Businesses. I invite you to download a copy and put it to good use!
Team Lucky Break is in the entrepreneurial trenches right alongside you. We are monitoring the events and impact of the coronavirus on small business. Everyone on the team is a small business owner themself, and I’ve been a full-time entrepreneur for the last 17 years. We understand the swirling fear and the swiftness with which economic scares come home to roost for our community of small businesses. Let us know how we can help by dropping your questions about grappling with COVID-19 in the comment section below. We’re pulling together videos, action plans, and additional blogs to help support you during challenging times.
We aren’t going anywhere… and you aren’t either. xo