UPCOMING EVENTS

Business planning for post COVID-19

By John Doyle, SCORE Mentor

Putting together a written plan will make the reinvigorating process smoother and more effective. There are four areas that will need to be addressed in your rejuvenation plan: Finances, Operations, Market Research, and Marketing to Your Clients.

Finances

You’ll have to understand how much cash you should need to run the business. Try using an Excel worksheet to delineate your fixed expenses in order to understand what your monthly expenses total. How much cash do you have on hand? Do a projection to see how much you’ll need to restart and run the business until your sales reach prior levels and you start generating positive cash flow.

Will you bring all of your employees back immediately, or will you gradually bring them back as needed as your sales grow? This should be factored into your financial forecast.

Have you taken advantage of all of the government sponsored financial assistance that’s available? If you’ve thought about it but have not acted as yet, visit https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources for information about loans both for operating expenses and payroll.

Stay in touch with your landlords, suppliers, and others as silence always creates concerns.

Operations

While your business is closed or operating at reduced levels, this is a good time to evaluate all of your processes and procedures. Perhaps there are things that you can change to make your business more efficient.

If your business has inventory, have you looked at which products sell more quickly than others? Make certain that you have an adequate supply for when you restart your business. Slower moving merchandise can be discounted to clear it out and generate cash to purchase inventory that will sell faster.

Market Research

How has the crisis changed your customers’ behavior? Are they more or less likely to shop

online and shop and spend time in your store? What new or old products or services can be emphasized to capitalize on these changes?

Take this time to study industry trends and changes that are happening on local and national levels that will affect the future of your business. Look to trade organizations and larger competitors to see what will likely change.

Keep an eye on your competitors. Will they be around to compete for your customers, or will they fail? There may be less competition when things start to improve. Be ready for new customers, and make sure to treat them right, as this crisis may change their old ways of buying and change how you will meet their needs.

Marketing to Your Clients

Use your website to keep clients informed of critical information, such as how they can still purchase goods or services from you. Engage with your followers on social media, even if they aren’t buying right now. Update your directory listings, like Google My Business, to communicate critical information like offering curbside pickup, even if your business is closed.

Use e-mail marketing to keep your customers updated on the latest changes to your business due to COVID-19. Take advantage of other marketing channels for brick and mortar locations, like print marketing and signage, so customers can quickly and easily understand how to engage with your business.

When you reopen fully, how about having a sale using all of your marketing platforms to reconnect with your customers?

SCORE Mentors are available for free mentoring services to assist you in reviewing your plan. Visit https://losangeles.score.org, and click on “Find a Mentor” for help.

Tags:

busniess planrejuvenationemployeesconcernsoperationsmarket researchclientsCOVID-19

May 2020

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