Here are some ways to help boost your business during COVID-19. From starting a crowdfunding page to adjusting your business strategy to boost revenue, there are many actions to take to help your small business cope with any financial strain.
Learn everything you need to know about keeping your business safe. Find out where to apply for credits, how to set-up an online store, how to create a crowdfunding page, and more.
Be Prepared to Adapt
Changes are happening multiple times a day, so it is important that your small business remains agile and adapts to ongoing situations. Many small business owners are finding they are no longer in the industry they started in. Being adaptable will help you wade through recent events, and help you prepare for anything in the future. With new demand comes new opportunity – here are some ways that other businesses are adapting to meet the needs of the changing business landscape.
- Distilleries are producing hand sanitizer
- Shoe companies, like New Balance, are manufacturing face masks
- Restaurants are offering make your own pizza kits, while bakeries are offering cupcake decorating kits
- Car manufacturers, like Ford and GM, are making ventilators for hospitals
- Dance and fitness instructors are offering live feeds for participants to follow-along at home
- Essential services like grocery stores and hardware stores are offering curbside pick-up for their customers
Ask for Help
As a small business owner asking for help is an inherent part of success. During these challenging times, it is important to ask your community or fellow small business owners for advice or support. Look for support online in the form of a social media group or email small business owners in your industry for partner opportunities during this time.
For example, OpenTable has teamed up with grocery stores to provide reservations for grocery shopping in order to promote social distancing as recommended by health officials.
Remember to make use of the COVID-19 Credits that have been made available by the government of Canada. Small business owners can benefit from the following credits:
- Eligible businesses will receive a 75% wage subsidy (which will be backdated from March 15, 2020), for the next 90 days.
- Guarantee bank loans up to $40,000 for small businesses, which will be interest free for 1 year
- The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is available through BDC and EDC, and will provide more than $10 billion in additional support to help small businesses remain resilient
- The OSFI is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25%
- The Bank of Canada will adjust its market liquidity operations and will broaden eligible collateral to include the full range of collateral eligible under the Standing Liquidity Facility
- Work-Share program is being extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks
- Farm Credit Canada will be providing an addition $5 million in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors
Reach Out for Help to Your Customers & Community
Remember to stay connected with your community and customers throughout the pandemic. When reaching out to your customers be sure to keep your messaging real and direct. You can make dynamic emails through free services like MailChimp and Sendinblue. Services like Canva, are user friendly and will help you create social media posts that will stand out on your customer’s social media feeds. Remember to use hashtags to reach a wider audience.
Look for inspiration from other small business owners or join a community forum to understand the needs of your customers.
Get Creative. Go Digital
If your small business is not online, now is the perfect time to do so. Register your business with Google Business Listing for free so your customers can find you online. Take your online presence one step further by creating a website or online store for your business. There are many options for free website hosting like WIX, SquareSpace, or WordPress. Here a couple of web design tips to keep in mind:
- A clean design with lots of whitespace around images and text
- Captivating web content and copy
- Easy navigation
Another option for providing a digital store is partnering with e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Etsy, or Amazon. Restaurants and bars can offer delivery through UBEREats, JustEats, DoorDash and other local delivery partners.
There are many ways to close the gap between revenue and expenses. Even after shifting your business strategy, there will be some losses. It is important to consider other ways to save money during these uncertain times. Here are some things you can do to cut costs:
- Offer gift cards for your customers to redeem at a later date
- Take advantage of government assistance, like the payroll subsidy
- Speak to your suppliers about returning unsold inventory
- Reduce your opening hours to help reduce payroll costs
- Offer discounts on unsold inventory
- Negotiate payment delays
Use GoFund Me
Join a small business relief initiative or use crowdfunding websites, like GoFund Me, to help raise funds for your small business. These are great means to reach-out to your community and raise awareness about your business.
How to Set Up a GoFund Me Page
- Sign-Up using your name and business email address
- Enter a goal and name of your fundraiser
- Select “Business & Entrepreneurs” from the drop down and publish
Here are some tips to help you optimize your Go Fund Me page:
- Find your story and tell it in a meaningful way
- Add photos of your business, you in the community, or even a video to your page
- Offer different types of rewards for people who donate – like a free gift card- to help motivate your movement
- Raise a little bit of money before you go public – this will entice people to donate
- Send a press release to your email list, friends, and family, or post your crowdfunding page on social media to raise more awareness of your fundraising efforts.
Learn what QuickBooks is doing to help the Canadian workforce during COVID-19.