Running a business is a challenging and humongous undertaking on its own. However, with COVID restrictions, not only is there an added layer of stress, but you could be bringing less income in, which results in less money for your family and employees. Some businesses have been closed for over six months. This is incredibly stressful for all parties, as there is no income coming in for anyone unless unemployment benefits are granted. Here are some ways to help lessen the blow and help keep your business afloat during COVID restrictions.
Talk To Your Employees And Have An Open Door Policy
While no one wants to lay off their staff, if it is necessary, try and ensure that you are not reducing a two household income family to zero income. Talk to your employees and see if the ones who are able to retire are willing to go early. Also, see if getting laid off will be detrimental to their household. If you have to choose between someone who works to get out of the house each day and someone who works to put food on the table for their five children, the choice may be less challenging. While there is no easy or fair way of reducing your staff, these tips will make it at least a little easier for you to sleep at night.
Some employers will be in a position where you do not have a choice but to close your doors for a short time or permanently. Let your workers know what is going on so they can plan what is best for their households. No one likes to be blindsided with bad news. Understand that some people may need to leave and not come back due to a lack of pay or benefits. Let your staff know that you understand what they are going through is challenging and stay approachable if someone needs to discuss their options. Having an open-door policy will help you in the long run, even if it is not immediately obvious.
If you have to close up shop permanently, try and provide assistance any way that you can, such as granting all unemployment benefits requests.
Talk To A Counselor About What You Are Dealing With
No one should go through life managing their own stress with no assistance. BetterHelp is a great option if you want to talk to a counselor. Mental health professionals can help you find the best options for you, your family, and your workers. If you need to lay someone off, recommend they seek counseling, as well. Most insurance plans cover mental health. Also, try to keep your employees on your group health insurance as long as it is feasibly possible. If the employee would qualify for state health care, if laid off, this is an alternate plan that you can help arrange so that there is no lapse in coverage for their family. If you are not sure what the options are, bring in an expert, such as a local health insurance agent, to talk to your employees about their options during a shutdown.
Whether you work in the healthcare field and are seeing the repercussions of the pandemic first hand or you work in a bank and see the fear in your customer’s eyes, everyone is feeling the impacts of the crisis on some level. Never take the approach, “someone else has it way worse.” That is not fair to you or your feelings. Seek the help of a counselor if you just want to talk to someone who has a non-judgemental attitude and position.
For more information, go to https://www.amsa.org/members/benefits/betterhelp/
Get Creative In Your Business Planning And Marketing
Some of the businesses that are doing the best during the COVID crisis are the ones who got creative with their marketing, advertising, and productions. If there is a way that you can make something that is needed in the current economy, then do it. If it means keeping your doors open, employees paid and helping others in the process, that is a win-win-win situation.
Some of the most inventive people are finding that their new business plan is a better fit for long term goals, as well. Keep in mind that what is needed today may still be needed three and five years away, if not indefinitely.
Restaurants and other establishments are getting creative with the way they serve meals, provide assistance, and market their businesses. If you are not using your kitchen due to COVID, but you are able to use it to make meals for the less fortunate in town, people will not forget that you stepped up to the plate during a time of need. Newspapers will pick up on the beneficial help, and town officials may take note. All of this creates a buzz of free marketing and advertising.
Every business can be repurposed to be of assistance to your community, as well as to keep the doors open. It just takes some creative planning. If you are not sure what is needed or how you can reinvent yourself, talk to a marketing or public relations firm. The investment may pay off exponentially.
COVID restrictions do not have to be the demise of your business. Try to get your a pen and paper and think of ways that you can still work and keep your business going during the pandemic. Remember, where there is a will, there is a way.