Critical communication strategies for small businesses facing COVID-19
March 27, 2021
As a business owner, you face challenges on every level. You are in a situation that you have never had to manage before. The Business Advising Team at FE Small Business Finance ( FESBF) wants to help. We created a “Top Tips and Resources Guide” for small business owners navigating the shock of coronavirus on their businesses – from their cash flow to communication plans.
We update the guide regularly, so please bookmark this tool. Here we focus on one set of tips – communication strategies you can implement immediately.
We know small business owners always “need to be prepared (and) be agile,” as one of our Senior Business Advisers, Ray Hivoral, said. Stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic, though, have presented owners with an unprecedented challenge. We’re committed to helping them navigate it.
Small business owners must monitor a number of areas – employee relations, cash flow, supply chains, quality, pricing, marketing, sales and more.
The list includes communications – in house and with customers and suppliers. There are key steps that you can take to best manage communications right now. This list is designed to help you focus on key tasks that are essential to implement over the coming days and weeks:
- It’s critical to communicate openly. Share with your customers the status of your operations, your ability to provide services, deliver goods and perform work.
- Include the proactive protective measures you’ve implemented. Explain how they (as customers) will be assured when they visit your business or you visit them.
- Make sure to reference cleanliness and the training of your employees.
- Utilize your email marketing and social media outlets, ASAP and with regular updates. As you serve your customers on social platforms, thank them for their business. Mention how you appreciate referrals and/or positive social media posts so that others will know your business is up and running.
EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATION AND INVOLVEMENT
- Communicate daily with your employees about your immediate plans, for the first 30 days, and then for the next 60 days. Set up a distribution list, conference call, etc.
- Prioritize the health and wellness of co-workers and customers. Make sure they know not to come in if sick or have symptoms – the same goes for owners/management.
- Get co-workers involved. Have virtual meetings or conference calls to seek ideas for sales, efficiency and customer service. Find out who wants to work, has to work and who shouldn’t work due to various concerns (exposure, family, etc.)
- Strongly encourage co-workers to notify you as soon as possible if they have symptoms, been exposed or can’t work for other reasons (children, home, transportation, etc.)
- Explain any temporary measures you put in place.
SUPPLY CHAIN COMMUNICATION
- Communicate with suppliers. Understand any supply-chain limitations.
- Ensure you have sufficient inventory and find alternate suppliers if necessary.
- If possible, set up your business for take-out orders and deliveries. The options include Instacart, Post-mates, Door Dash, GrubHub and Uber Eats.
- Negotiate extended payment terms.
- Contact the FE and/or your bank if you are unable to meet your loan commitments.
STAY CONNECTED AND UP TO DATE
We are closely monitoring best practices and resources to help you manage your business and will frequently share the latest information. Here are the ways to get the latest details:
- Subscribe to our blog (below). We’ll continue to offer weekly highlights on FESBF’s blog.
- Bookmark the “Tips and Resource Guide.” It has important links to SBA Disaster Loan applications, emergency grant/loan programs, tips on managing cash flow and more.
- Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter, Source. You’ll get the latest news and guidance from trusted outlets like Small Biz Daily, Entrepreneur, Inc. and more.
Click for Top Tips for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
In case you missed it:
FE Small Business Finance offers several loan options for entrepreneurs and business owners. Contact our loan experts and they’ll work to match you with a financing plan that best suits your needs. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 243-8667.