We at the Raydiant team are keeping everyone on our minds and in our hearts, as we’re watching the immense impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on individuals, communities, and countries.
Thousands around the world are sick, many have died, and business owners and their hardworking teams have found themselves in a situation they could have never truly prepared for.
For most of us, the past few weeks have felt like something out of an apocalyptic movie, with travel bans being enacted, government orders to stay home, and city streets that are now empty, while just a few days ago they were bustling with life and filled with action.
Every restaurant, brick and mortar retail store, and, in many states, every non-essential business that once enjoyed a steady, predictable daily flow of customers has been forced to temporarily cease operations, cutting off their access to patrons and, most importantly, to revenue.
Running a business is difficult. Even though the media often paints a rosy picture of what being an entrepreneur is like, the reality is that starting a business is hard, but keeping the doors open is even harder.
Even in typical economic times, not many companies make it past their first few years in business. Now, in this even more challenging atmosphere, the number of failing businesses will escalate, and our entire economy will be at risk of slipping into another Great Recession or Depression.
Time is Running Out
A JP Morgan study of 597,000 US small businesses found that the average business has a cash buffer of just 27 days. We’ve only just entered our first week of lockdowns, with more restrictions being announced each day.
If these numbers are correct, we’re racing against the clock. If something is not done to help these local businesses, many will be faced with having to close their doors forever.
This is not only about the business owners themselves — it’s also about the workers they employ, who make up 48% of the US workforce. It’s the single mothers who work multiple jobs to put food on the table, the students working night shifts to pay for their education, and each individual that survives paycheck to paycheck.
What We Can Do
From a consumer perspective, now is the time to do everything we can to support local small businesses: Buy their gift cards, prepay for their services, order their products online that you’d normally buy from Amazon, and order delivery whenever possible. Or simply pick up the phone and call them to ask, How can I help?
Here are some platforms specifically designed to help connect consumers with local businesses’ gift cards during this outbreak:
Bay Area: Save Our Faves
New York City: Help Main Street
From a government perspective, local businesses and their workers need assistance now. We must remove politics from this conversation in order to start supporting the people who need it.
We’ve signed the Change.org petition to Save America’s restaurants and will continue to push to raise awareness around the challenges that not only restaurants but all small businesses are facing. We will also make as much noise as possible to encourage the government to take action, quickly.
From a business perspective, now is the time to get creative. Even if most of us could never have imagined a scenario like this, it’s the reality we are facing. We have to look for new ways to offer products and services in order to maintain sales. Take this as an opportunity to rethink your strategies: Reboot your business model to meet virtual demands, become a concierge business, or create virtual experiences. Reach out to your fellow business owners and competitors and talk about what’s working, what’s not, and what you can help each other with.
Here are some platforms that you can use to quickly create gift cards for your business:
Concerned about financing your business during this time? Here’s a resource that covers many of your lending options:
How Raydiant Will Help
First, if you are one of our customers and need someone to speak with about the challenges your business is facing, email me: Bobby@Raydiant.com. I am here for you. I know how hard this must be and while I can’t do everything, I can listen, offer advice, and provide any resources I can to help you during this tough time. If I can’t help you, someone on my team can.
Second, Raydiant is developing a Coronavirus Small Business Resource Center that will be launched next week. We will be working with experts across all areas of business — from legal to marketing and everything in between — to create content that will address your most pressing concerns, such as:
- How will the payroll tax break impact different size businesses in the US?
- What does proposed federal legislation mean for my employees?
- How do you keep your customers engaged in the Coronavirus era?
If you have business-related questions you’d like answered, please email Emilia@Raydiant.com. This is not just about digital signage or in-store marketing; this is about anything and everything that may be on your mind.
This outbreak and the changes to our daily lives may last a few weeks or a few months — we just don’t know. But whenever the world begins the long transition back to normal, it’s our responsibility to make sure that the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities are still there.
We owe it to them and their workers to step up and support them when they need it most. The time to step up is now.