As a Small Business Owner, Are You Prepared for Another Shutdown?


Published: September 27, 2021

Why a second Covid-19 shutdown might be …

cnn.com

An interesting article was written in Bankrate by Rebecca Lake on the possibilities of another business shutdown; the question is, would your business be able to stand and survive another one? The first governmental shutdown took us all by surprise, and there was a devastating effect on all businesses, especially small businesses. The restaurant and travel industries were some of the most brutal hits, and many never survived. The SBA estimated that some 31 million small businesses were in operation in some form in 2019. And approximately a 30% closure or a 9.3 million closure rate in 2020.

So did entrepreneurs learn anything from the first shut down, enough to survive a second? Then you shifted from working at office complexes to the work-at-home environment, but the rent still had to be paid on the office complexes around the country. And this brought up new challenges for entrepreneurs and the development of a new playbook that was not prevalent a year before. New business models developed on how to survive covid-19 and the mitigation of the cost of office rents. Some went to subletting to other small businesses, while others went to shared office facilities to survive the empty office complexities.

Entrepreneurs are challenged now in how to stay in business and turn a profit. At the same time, the government had a shutdown mandate throughout the country. Clever workarounds were initiated, such as curbside pickups, delivery services due to limits on how many people could congregate at establishments. Being nimble was the new survival process, for there was no playbook for this pandemic, so organizations had to make it up on the fly.

Will There be Another Shut Down?

So what can a small business do now to plan for another shutdown? One of the main things to recognize is that sales have changed during the pandemic. The traditional way of doing business, such as face-to-face presentations, handshaking, is not applicable in covid-19. Transitioning into digital transiting and marketing is.

Ryan Gavin did an article in McKinsey & Company on the changing of sales, and it could apply to B2C and B2B alike. Thus, recognizing the devastating effect covid-19 has had on businesses and employment has prompted some to look at their careers differently. The Company also must take a different look at how they are currently doing business and make changes to deal with a new mindset of customers who want to purchase their goods and services without contact. This kind of attitude has elevated the transition into digitalization and digital marketing.

Digitalization and digital marketing are not a new phenomenon; the pandemic merely brought it to the fore as a way of dealing with a public who does not what contact as pre-pandemic. Shifting to digital and away from traditional business methodologies has increased twice digital methods since the pandemic. McKinsey & Company’s research has shown a significant increase in customers adjustment in the digital enablement of sales interactions from 2019-2021. Buyers are migrating to a strong preference for self-service to the digital environment of the present pandemic purchasing ecosystem.

McKinsey & Company research showed that firms that digitized and provided an outstanding customer experience were more than two times as likely to be chosen as a supplier over those who served mediocre customer experiences; this was a survey done in 2019.

Remote Selling

People were not feeling comfortable being with others due to the highly contagious effect that the virus had on others forcing lockdowns, and shelter-in-place orders forced people to work from home. Specific fields worked extraordinarily quickly to change how they marketed their goods and services to videoconferencing or phones rather than face-to-face interactions. Research showed B2B transitioned to the virtual sales model during the covid-19 saga. Research from McKinsey & Company showed that the lockdown and the shelter-place and guaranteeing had forced people in their homes. B2B organizations have reacted to a 90% working via videoconferencing or telephone, and this shift is not only in the US; this is a global shift in this new methodology in marketing.

Entrepreneurs must either find or develop new work models to market their goods and services or develop new skillsets to attract and maintain the customers and service them. The utilization of technology is familiar to the younger generation; however, more challenging to older entrepreneurs above 50-years. Developing a new business playbook in all industries should be created if the organization wishes to prosper in the pandemic era.

Ecommerce US Forecast for 2021

Suzy Davidkharian wrote an article on Emarketer.com on. The forecast of the US projections of the usage of e-commerce in businesses in the US. This work was an executive summary of a larger edition for sale of the research on the increase in this economic phenomenon. Thus, her view through analysis of this financial payment method and the projections on how it would benefit merchants for 2021.

What she found, e-commerce sales will continue to flourish at a tremendous growth rate. US buyers will spend $933.30 billion on purchasing goods and services through e-commerce in 2021, up 17.9 from the previous year 2020 and reaching 23.6 by 2025, versus 11.0 in 2019. So merchants who use this payment method for their customers, clients alike thus will proper, and those who do not will suffer the consequences of lesser sales and profit to their bottom-line.

Moreover, it would serve entrepreneurs to (1) digitize their operations, add a website, and enable e-commerce to accept payments online. (2) use a CRM system in their business that will track interaction between merchant and his prospects for the marketing campaigns, and keeping up with current conversation and followups in the future, this interaction is vital when it comes to data accumulation and analysis study.

Conclusion

The pandemic, covid-19, has come to be the business disrupter of the 21st-century to date. From working out of offices to working at home, businesses are finding new ways to develop commerce. The death toll keeps rising due to this virus, and now that we have a vaccination, about half of the American public, due to political values, refuse to get vaccinated and alleviate this health crisis. New workarounds on how business is done are paramount if small businesses survive this crisis, unlike their larger counterparts, who have larger budgets to combat this issue because of a larger workforce.

There is no playbook for entrepreneurs to rely on to reference what to do in this pandemic, however digitizing small businesses, developing websites, and having them e-commerce enabled, along with tracking customers and new business proposals and acquisitions with a customer relations management (CRM) system is a great way to acquire data and analyze for strategic execution and planning.  So have we learned enough the first time around to be more innovative if we had to shut down again? What about the strategies used in commerce the utilization of technology in the operation of global enterprise? Post-Pandemic will go back to life before the pandemic, or will we continue remote working, marketing, selling, and business operations as a whole?

I would like to know what you feel about this topic. Please leave comments on this blog, and let’s start a dialogue on the challenges, strategies of covid-19 and dealing with a post-covid-19 era. And let us know how you are faring with covid-19 in your business and what ideas you can share with others on how to survive a pandemic.

About the author:

Dr. Donald E. Mitchell holds a doctorate in Entrepreneurship and Business Management works as a Small Business Consultant specializing in alternative financing, digital transformation, digital marketing, e-commerce, website development, and management software. He has offices in Southfield, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois. His primary focus is on small business organizations.

Methodology

 Based on several articles that have been published and cited through this article by the author. The author’s beliefs are personal and reflect his worldview and experience in the issues and practices mentioned. The author used some portions of the business plan were from his doctoral dissertation, Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century the business plan.

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