How to Survive COVID-19 As a Small Business and Freelancer
Updated: May 11
These are turbulent times we’re living in. The economy is suffering and it’s only going to suffer even more. Although everyone is affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the small businesses and freelancers are arguably the ones who are taking the brunt of it all.
Armed with a limited financial cushion and a hampered cash flow, small businesses and freelancers need help. But, the good news is, it’s not impossible for small businesses and freelancers to survive their current predicament. While there’s no straight nor easy answer, small businesses can start doing these things to come out in a more favorable situation.
Making the Connection
Governing bodies all over the world, as well as private organizations, and other volunteers are doing what they can to help everyone. This includes both freelancers and small businesses. Keeping yourself updated as to what kind of initiatives are available in your area can help you in these trying times. You should also take this downtime to reach out to your contacts, such as your regular patrons, and other interested parties. For example, even though the pandemic may have forced you to close your physical store, you can reassure your clients that, should they need to buy or avail of your products and/or services or require after sales support, your lines will remain open as much as possible. As a freelancer, you can also do the same. In fact, you can take this time to reach out to all of your former clients and let them know that your services are available should they be needing it.
Understand Your Value
It never really feels right to capitalize on such unfortunate situations, but it also feels even more wrong not to do your employees nor yourself or your family and their families right by letting opportunities slip by. You can take the current events as a wake-up call for you to reevaluate how you conduct business and if it is sustainable right now, as well as in the foreseeable future. You can never fully predict how your customers will behave in the future. However, you can forecast. Ask yourself, how will customer behavior change? What kind of products and/or services will start mattering more to them? What kind of new customers will emerge after this, and how can you market better for them? As for what you can do right now, you can start looking at taking your business online, as well as by finding other ways to remain afloat during the pandemic. For example, as mentioned earlier, even though your physical store is closed, you can look at offering your products and/or services online. You might even want to take this time to work on your social media presence and find new ways to connect with your regular patrons, as well as potential customers.
Show Up and Serve
Loyalty is a two-way street, and customers will appreciate your business the most during these situations simply because it is there when others aren’t. If, for example, your local government mandates that your type of business should be closed as part of their security measures, you can find ways to still show up and serve by taking initiative. Like, for example, how auto manufacturers like Ford and General Motors have retooled their factories to produce medical equipment to help address the shortage. While those are initiatives taken by larger companies, a small business or freelancer such as yourself can still do your part. Raising funds and providing relief, either in kind or in cash, to your local community, is one way your small business can help out.
Invest in Yourself
This isn’t a time to offload staff. Instead, this is a time to upskill your staff and train them to have additional skills. Because your staff now has more time to do other things, you can enroll them in online courses to make them more productive and efficient. This way, they’ll learn new skills, and be able to help each other out more. The same logic applies to freelancers. Losing clients is never a good thing. However, you can take your time self-isolating as a chance to improve and learn new skills. Use the internet to your advantage. Look for paid and free resources that match your business’ or freelancing needs the most, as well as that of your budget.
Continue to Grow
Tough times will always come, but they don’t always stay. This may be the toughest of times for freelancers and small businesses alike, but don’t let it get the best of you. Instead, use this time as an opportunity to reflect on your business and what kind of improvements you can make right now that can better prepare the business or your freelance career to survive situations like these. Remember, everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing -- it all depends on how you look at it. Be the former and continue growing.
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