Businesses are struggling financially as the response to COVID-19 has led to a reduction in consumer spending, some business closures, contract and payment delays. Business will eventually get back to normal, but what do you do in the meantime? We have compiled a list of suggestions for businesses to consider.
#1 Seek financial assistance
Now is the right time to seek financial assistance in the form of loans and grants. Even if you are unsure how much capital you will need, applying for it before the emergency is always wise. If you are in an emergency financial situation already, do not hesitate to apply immediately. Financial resources include Racine County’s Small Business Relief Loans and Union Grove’s Small Business Relief Program. Information on Federal, State, and local financial programs is changing rapidly. Consult RCEDC’s Covid-19 Resources regularly or reach out to Carolyn Engel, RCEDC’s Business Lending Partners.
#2 Support employees
Unemployment assistance is available for employees who are temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus. Help employees to get the financial support they need so that they are ready to come back to work once the virus is contained. Employers who do not need to lay off workers, but need to send them home to telecommute, should be prepared to support them with virtual meeting and project management tools. MRA is offering tools for businesses to help them navigate HR questions during this time.
Everyone has been impacted by the coronavirus on some level. Be proactive and negotiate with suppliers and even your landlord. They may be willing to delay payments. In the case of a landlord, ask if they can add the rent to the end of the lease or work out a separate repayment plan for when you can’t pay due to business disruptions caused by the virus. It is best to be proactive and work together, than to wait until you are in a bad spot financially.
#4 Be creative
See if there are creative ways to continue serving customers. Can services be provided virtually using email and video calls? Can deliveries be made without contact? Identify everything that you currently do for customers to see what can be moved to a virtual or non-contact delivery system in order to keep as much of your business running as possible. If you are still serving customers from your location, look for ways to incorporate social distancing such as setting appointments or using more areas of the building.
#5 Work with your insurance company
Your policy may include provisions for emergency situations such as this. Call your agent to discuss your benefits and use what’s available.
#6 Stay in communication
Communicate with everyone – your customers, employees, bank, vendors, and us! Keep everyone informed of how your business is being impacted and ask for help when needed. If your business is open, share with RCEDC and the community on the RCEDC Open for Business Tool. Our community is coming together and it is important to communicate, and then support each other.