The spread of COVID-19 globally has left lasting financial damages, especially to SMEs. While surviving the epidemic has become the top priority, continuing operations after the crisis may be the next hurdle to come. Once public health measures begin to relax, your business may find that what worked for the crisis may not work then.
Having the right strategies in place in time for the ‘new normal’ will help your business hit the ground running. It also presents a better way to facilitate the recovery of losses due to the change in operations. If you are not sure what an exit plan should include, these tips can guide you to getting your business back on track.
1. Assess the business and financial status
Before everything else, your first step should be to assess the situation. It is critical to update your financial records–everything from cash flow to profits and losses–to get a clearer picture of how your business has been affected. These numbers play an important role in your exit plan and depending on the situation, you may need to address the losses with additional funding.
Another important factor to consider is your business status. If there were any changes in staffing, customer base, supply chains, and advertising, they should be noted down for consideration.
2. Review your business plan
Your business plan may have stayed the same throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, or it may have seen some adjustments considering the crisis. While this plan was able to weather the worst of the storm for operations, adapting to the post-crisis world will need a different approach.
Strategically consider the ways your business can pivot to adjust to the ‘new normal’. Pay close attention to your competitors and your industry overall, as trends and new opportunities can emerge. From there, consider your business’ strengths and weaknesses and how valuable they are to these changes.
Finally, make sure to review and adjust your business goals accordingly. Given the circumstances, you may need to scale back to address any losses or lack of sales.
3. Consider additional funding
Jumpstarting your cash flow may be necessary in order to rebuild your small business post-crisis. If your on-hand cash is limited, additional funding can come from other institutions such as banks and private lenders. Other alternatives include business credit cards, accounts receivable financing, and the like.
These methods of financing each have their own advantages and disadvantages, so these factors should also be considered when moving forward. It is crucial to take both short-term and long-term effects into account to minimize business risks whenever possible.
4. Update your new budget
Business expenses are unavoidable, even in a time where you should be focusing on rebuilding and recovering. Hiring or rehiring employees, purchasing inventory, or even revitalizing marketing efforts are all necessary to get your business off the ground. The key is to narrow down what expenses need to be budgeted for to maximize the revenue coming in.
By eliminating any unnecessary expenses and keeping operating budget low, your business can save capital for investing in growth once the opportunity presents itself. You can try outsourcing for cost efficiency. Other possible opportunities to reduce expenses include reduced hours and pay cuts.
5. Create a rebuilding timeline
Part of what makes a business plan successful is organization. Giving your business a timeline for rebuilding not only clarifies the steps necessary to jumpstart your sales, but also allows you to pace your progress accordingly.
Examine your business plan so far and determine the order of priority for your company’s needs. Once the timeline has been established, it is a matter of working to achieve it and to adapt to any changes or needs.
Initially, you may need to monitor and track any progress closely. This allows you to make the necessary adjustments in a timely manner without derailing any progress. Once the situation has stabilized, you can return to a more regular and relaxed reviewing schedule.
6. Put a new contingency plan in place
While it may be easy to write of the current epidemic as a fluke or once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, the point still stands that emergencies can easily disrupt your business. Having lived through this experience, now is the time to apply the learnings your business has gained from it.
Some of the things you can incorporate into your contingency plan include adding safeguards to your company cash flow, as well as keeping or fully implementing systems that allow for remote work or digital transactions.
As the world continues to change and heal from this public health crisis, your business will need to keep up to survive. Taking these steps to rebuild your business give it even larger odds of not only staying afloat, but eventually growing and thriving.