While companies like Apple, Google, and Tesla see their stock prices rise, many small businesses still struggle to meet ends meet; COVID-19 is causing a public health crisis that most countries’ infrastructures are simply unprepared for. However, some small businesses are still able to find opportunity in adversity, as any good entrepreneur would say, and continue meeting their sales quotas. Though the pandemic may be nearly over, and most quarantine restriction may soon soften, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned from this almost Darwinistic undertaking that can be used again in the future.
Even under normal conditions, most business markets are fairly cutthroat; according to Forbes, less than half of all businesses survive past a five year mark while 20% end up failing within just the first year. Since the beginning of the quarantine, The Washington Post estimates the loss of small businesses as approaching the 100,000, with many projections expecting it to be surpassed. While all these statistics seem less than hopeful, there are plenty of examples of some companies adjusting better than others. Restaurants, for example, have struggled the most but, ironically, offer the best case study for how other businesses can successfully adapt. Some adaptations may uniquely fit the restaurant business, while others can be very cleverly applied anywhere.
Normally, service-based industries operate indoors where customers and other kinds of consumers can comfortably select any items available in said businesses’ stock, while also enjoying a comfortable indoor climate. To accommodate social distancing rules, restaurant staff enforce wearing a mask inside the establishment, while they also put a cap on the number of people allowed to enter. This, along with providing seating arrangements outdoors, does not negatively affect client engagement, so the same practices apply to goods-based industries. A common sight in Brooklyn, NY is of a clothing store can also move merchandise outside, weather permitting, which can also help a business save on energy costs.
The internet allows for customer experiences that do not require any interpersonal interaction. Many small businesses have simply scaled back physical operations altogether, allowing their customers to shop or select for items online. Staff can now be transitioned into delivery or IT roles which reduce the need for potential downsizing and can help keep the flow of the sales cycle going. Businesses that find success here may even begin to question whether they need a physical location at all.
Should these cost-cutting tactics not work, government-sponsored resources that can offer financial support can be found here.