It’s not an exaggeration to say the emergence and spread of the coronavirus has altered every American life. Schools are closed. Sports leagues and movie releases are on hold. In an increasing number of states, only businesses deemed “essential” are operating anywhere near normal. COVID-19 and the efforts to contain the damage it causes present an unprecedented challenge to our society. Business owners are feeling that challenge acutely, struggling to maintain operations in a way that will allow them to weather the storm. Being savvy and proactive could be the difference between surviving and not. The stakes are that high.
For years, businesses have talked about the need to be “agile.” Agile companies are supposed to be able to adapt to rapidly changing conditions faster than those with more traditional, established organizational structures and workflow patterns. The idea is that if you shapeshift fast enough, you can thrive even when the environment takes an unexpected turn. There’s never been an unexpected turn quite like this one, and there’s never been a more important time for businesses to be more agile. With that in mind, here are some tips to keep yourself as operationally sound as possible in a time when nothing is certain.
Leverage Cloud Technology
The promise of the cloud, the line touted by every cloud-based software company since time immemorial, is that you can work from anywhere, on any device. While that was once promoted as a benefit and advantage over competitors, today it’s a necessity. Services like Zoom, Slack, and other space-compressing functionalities are the only way a lot of people can collaborate right now, and every day you’re not using them is a day spent operating below peak efficiency. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say that you’d also benefit from cloud-based accounting software for small business right about now if your currently using a desktop version.
Identify Alternative Channels
If you’re in the retail business, you cannot rely on your physical storefront to generate sales over the coming months. If you already employ a multi-channel strategy, you’re going to have to depend on the channels that comply with social distancing policies. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Stores are doing phone orders, using videoconferencing to provide something akin to a regular shopping experience, and thinking up all manner of ways to generate a little revenue. In San Francisco, for example, restaurants are selling off wine and making to-go cocktails. Customers are eager to support small businesses right now, but it’s up to businesses to figure out how to make that a possibility.
Pause Extraneous Projects
Now is it not the time to focus on new initiatives or, to use a timely term, non-essential activities. Leanness matters right now, and as hard as it can be to either postpone or cancel a project, it’s the wisest thing you can do right now. You simply do not have the time, capital, or energy to devote to anything except the core of your business. A helpful mental activity is to start a very basic level—for example, we sell clothes—and work outward from there, listing the essential operations to make that possible. Anything outside that field of scope may not be actionable right now.
Don’t Assume Anything
Even now, when we’ve been living under coronavirus-influenced conditions for a while, nothing is certain. Policy, infection rates, the economy: they are all highly volatile right now. What you can do today, you may not be able to do tomorrow. What you couldn’t do for weeks or months may start happening again at a moment’s notice. That’s just the fact of life right now. All you can do is keep your ear to the ground, do whatever you can to function in the meantime, adapting your practices and accounting software for small business as necessary.
Finally, we’d like to say that we here at AccountingSuite are thinking of small businesses and their workers all across the country right now. Obviously, our software is built for you, and we want to let you know that we’re here for you during these tough times. Thank you for all you do to support us.