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We are certainly facing unprecedented times, where we are not simply dealing with economic catastrophe unlike the situation that occurred in 2008, we are dealing with survival. Biological survival. Friends, families and neighbors are scared and some are dying. However, in spite of all this, we still have to worry about our own personal individual economics.

How do we make money to pay for bills, to pay for rent, to live our lives, given that the necessities of economic life are still pressing matters. As a business owner there are additional costs that are present during these times and they’re not going away. 

The steps to keep it afloat during these unprecedented times are sobering. But, let’s tackle it anyway and hopefully come out at the other end with some solutions.

Decrease spending to only the essentials. 

Demand is down and will continue to go down while the pandemic runs its course. Given the way that we are tackling the situation, it’s only going to increase because we have a very confused approach to it. Consequently as a business these are uncertain times, and this requires adjusting expenditures in order to account for the uncertainty.

Because people are generally shopping less, continuing to spend the amount of money on advertising as before is not going to generate the same amount of results as before consequently it is important to adjust spending, lowering it accordingly.

Many of the areas of expenditure in business will require review. Looking over every line item and seeing if it is justified given the new landscape we are in. At this point it may be a good idea to pause on some spending and simply focus on the essentials to keep the business running.

Take advantage of the available government programs.

Even during a pandemic, we’ve learned that we still have the economy to try to maintain. Minimizing unemployment is an important factor and certain government programs are available on which businesses can draw to continue to pay their furloughed employees, pay rent, and maintain. Taking advantage of these government programs is a way to keep afloat during this pandemic. 

There’s not much that can be done in terms of growing business at this point, however as a community, we’ve all come together in the form of our government to make these loans and these special programs available, so take it advantage of it if you’re able to.

Understand that things are going to change.

The situation that we are all experiencing has spurred on perhaps faster than expected the transition to contactless engagement. So companies that are based on the internet, or that are able to meet their service and obligations through the Internet are continuing to run business unbothered. Understanding this change and taking the time available now to prepare for it and pivoting any operations towards contactless engagement is going to reap benefits today and into the future.

Change is inevitable, and when it comes, it can be sudden. Taking this time now to consider other approaches to engagement with customers will only result in a much improved business and fortify you against situation where contactless engagement becomes the new normal.

Accept defeat: Shut down the business…but. 

This might not seem like an advice to keep your business afloat but again it depends on your individual situation. It may be advisable to shut down the business at this juncture if you are approaching bankruptcy. And while the business is shut down, taking the steps to re-organize and shed obligations and ultimately refocus. This particular advice depends on the situation that is individual to you. Many businesses operate on the brink, that is precisely why large companies were given a $2 trillion bail out. 2 to 4 weeks of uncertainty or a drop in demand creates havoc on a system like ours. As a small business it’s not hard to assume that the situation is the same and far more dire 

Depending on your situation and if you’re not able to get access to government programs or other sustaining programs then there may not be a choice. As hard as it is to think about, it’s something to consider. It’s not your fault, this is an act of God, a biological destabilization. If you have to go this route remember, it’s not your fault, take the step necessary and make a plan.

Retreat and live to fight another day. Pause the business.

Pause the business, furlough employees, and wait it out. This advise depends on one’s individual situation. Because this step requires communicating with all parties you have an obligation to such as your lease owner, suppliers, employees, merchants, etc in order to communicate and ask for leniency, it is advisable to start the process as early as possible.

If you’re in a position where you’re able to pause operations, then this might be an ideal step. The decision to furlough employees and wait it out and is not an easy one to make. The amount of contradicting information regarding whether a business should stay open or not does not help the situation. But one key information that does help is the amount of demand and business income you’re able to generate. If the business is having difficulty meeting its obligation then review your options.

Sobering Decisions to be made.

The decisions to be made our sobering, these times are sobering, there are no good options and bad options instead there are bad options and worse options. Taking the approach that results in less damage is the best path forward. However assessing the option that results in less damage requires accounting for one’s individual situation.

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