Small Business Owners Share Their Top Advice On Crisis Management
COVID-19 Resources

17 Small Business Owners Share Their Top Advice On Navigating the Coronavirus Outbreak

Apr 02, 2020

This article is part of Raydiant’s Coronavirus Small Business Resource Center which aims to provide actionable insights, ideas, and resources to business owners struggling due to the current Coronavirus outbreak. 

We’ve collaborated with different executives, business owners, and thought leaders to crowdsource insights and expertise that will ensure this content is as actionable, timely, and helpful as possible. 

If you are a business owner looking for a specific question to be answered or if you an expert and would like to have your insights included, please email Emilia@Raydiant.com

What’s the number 1 piece of advice you have for other business owners?

Shaun Savage, Founder and CEO of GoShare

Shaun SavageIn some ways, business mirrors biology. As Darwin surmised, those who survive “are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptable to change.” As we face this unprecedented crisis, it is critical for us to be able to adapt our businesses to survive.

For offices, this may mean learning to work remotely. At GoShare, our corporate employees have transitioned to remote work with the support of strong digital communication platforms, structured meetings, and collaboration tools.

For retailers, it could mean offering delivery services for the first time. Service providers may need to learn how to schedule online sessions with their clients. For every business, the adaptation will be unique. But, those that can adapt their business models and get creative will not only survive this period but forge stronger relationships with the customers they continued to serve.

Nick Flint, Owner and CEO, Pure Cut Supplements

Nick FlintFocus on what you can control, instead of what you can’t.

I can’t control when gyms will open back up, or when my retailers will be able to open their stores again.

So I’m focusing on creating content, interacting with customers, and fine-tuning operations.

Danny Sims, Managing Director of DJS Research Ltd

Danny SimsGet an understanding of the situation you are in. We have asked all of our team directors to provide a detailed assessment of projects which are suspended, cancelled or are going on as normal or with a changed approach, and the impact of that on margins / costs etc.

This has given us a really good base with which to move forward and plan the next two or three months, and also means we can communicate to staff with confidence.

Faizi Kamil, Co-Owner, Challenge Coins 4 U, An Odyssey Marketing Group Company

Faizi KamilThe best piece of advice that I could offer to a fellow business owner is to move functions and operations to be online as soon as possible.

We are an e-commerce business so we conduct all of our business online, but in these times with the coronavirus we have had to shift supply lines to be in different countries (in case one was affected, we could supply customers with products from another country). Even a coffee shop can engage with customers online, such as offering coffee and other in-store products online. 

Jeff Moriarty, Marketing Manager, Moriarty’s Gem Art

Jeff MoriartyNo matter if you have an online business or brick and mortar store, if you are still able to ship products to your customer base and/or new consumers, you need to make it as easy as possible.

Free shipping and free returns.

 

Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs

Calloway CookReduce your own salary if you have the reserve capital to sustain doing so.

This is the easiest cost to cut down on without negatively impacting your business at all.

 

 

Luka Arezina, Co-founder of DataProt

Luka ArezinaMy number one advice is to give up unnecessary facilities, tools or any other additional services that you’re normally using, but don’t need at the moment.

This can include office space, a variety of subscriptions, online tools and platforms and many more.

This is a hard step, but it may be necessary for keeping the business from shutting down completely.

Arden McLaughlin, Owner of Definita

Arden McLaughlinCatch your breath and create a plan before you talk to employees and social media. You are the person in charge.

Everyone has an opinion as to what should be done, but you have to make a plan and be ready to implement it.

You DO NOT have to respond right away. In fact, responding immediately can most likely create more harm than good.

Dan Salganik, Managing Partner at VisualFizz

Dan SalganikKeep your team busy. If you have the opportunity to stay afloat during this time, the number one thing that I recommend is to keep everyone busy and reinvest that time into building the business.

Over the past years, people were busy with other work, but now it’s time to reinvest back into the company.

Celeste Huffman, Marketing Team, Rogers and Hollands

Celeste HuffmanOur recommendation is to make sure to communicate the status of your business with your current customers and potential new ones.

This can be done through emails, onsite messaging and through advertising.

You want to let them know if your doors are closed, if there are delays, or if you are still running and shipping out products.

Kevin Miller, Founder and CEO of The Word Counter

Kevin MillerMy best advice for other business owners is to do everything you can to ensure that your employees are taken care of. Your employees are the lifeblood of your business, and you simply can’t operate without them. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, all of our employees are currently working from home. Cleaning supplies are being sent to each employee’s home to help them disinfect. This is paid for by the company. In addition, a bonus stipend in the amount of $1000 is being sent to all employees to help during this difficult time.

Larry Aucoin, CTO and Managing Partner of Optimal IdM

Larry AucoinIf you have a team working from home, here are some tips for managers that could help:

Set up a ‘Dash Board Report’ for each job/employee that monitors both quality of work and productivity. Some managers may be surprised to learn that for conscientious employees, both could actually increase!

Keep your eye on the department’s big picture. Get input from employees and develop a set of ‘transition’ goals that are measurable, focused on maintaining departmental productivity and that tie-in to the department’s mission statement and overall objectives.

Keep employees focused on the big picture. Everyone is already stressed; demanding adherence to strict office schedules, such as workday hours, break times and lunch hours could turn this temporary journey into even more of a nightmare.

Caz Wilson, Founder of Social Kitchen Media

Caz Wilson HeadDon’t shrink during this time.

You need to go all-in on your efforts and build your audience via social media and email generation tactics.

 

 

Kelly Speers, Owner of Your IT Results Inc

Kelly SpeersWe have a bit of an advantage in this situation as we routinely work remotely. There are almost no jobs that were once office jobs that cannot be done remotely with technology today. Is your company small and in today’s time very cost conscious? Remote meetings and webinars can be done through free versions of Zoom or GoToMeeting. If you want a full featured one time payment tool EyesOn through AppSumo.com is now available for lifetime use for a one-time fee of $69.

Liz Brown, Founder of Sleeping Lucid

Liz BrownThe number one piece of advice I’d give to my fellow entrepreneurs and business owners especially during the coronavirus outbreak is to show concern and take care of their workforce. If it’s impossible for you to give them paid leave and other benefits, then at least let them work at home or offer lesser and more flexible work schedules. Your employees determine your business’ success and in order for your business ventures to expand, you need to take better care of them.

It’s also not best to take advantage of their work-from-home status and force them to work overtime. You need to offer them ample time to work on their health and boost their immune systems to make sure that they stay safe and healthy. Instead of using hour-based assignments, you can choose to give them milestone-based assignments instead, This way, they can be more flexible with their time and work at their best pace which can even make them more productive.

Briana Riley, Founder and CEO of Tanzek Media

Briana MarieRetain and attract customers by keeping them engaged during this time. Use this downtime as an opportunity to try out new digital marketing strategies. Offer fun giveaways, do some trivia on your social accounts, write up some useful blog posts for people to read while they’re at home, create a fun challenge via email. All of these strategies can help keep your customers’ and prospects’ eyes on your brand.

As a small business owner, I recommend others to form a kind of community within their respective areas and support each other by using each other’s services. On the same lines, encourage the residents of the region to support the community through enhanced commerce, which, if not now, can be fulfilled later. For e.g., buying of perishable food stuff by paying now, but procuring later.

Jo Trizila, Founder and CEO of TrizCom Public Relations

Jo TrizilaThe one common theme of any crisis is brands who don’t stop communicating and those who demonstrate consistent leadership come out after the crisis has ended. The best advice I can offer other business owners is to remember public relations is critical during a crisis when it is imperative to communicate clearly and consistently. Your stakeholders will be turning to you to be the voice of reason. Your customers will be looking at your social posts more closely than ever. Remember, public relations strategies target a much wider audience than just a brand’s customers. This usually includes, but is not limited to, board members, investors, employees and other market analysts in the industry as well as anyone who has a stake in how various audience groups perceive the company. If you waver, even in the slightest, it could have repercussions for years. It is very easy to just focus on right now. Brands must think forward and weigh the pros and cons of everything.

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