No doubt, times are difficult right now for many small businesses, which is why Always Answer has paused our normally-scheduled content campaigns and marketing strategies to bring practical and helpful articles related to current times to our clients.
This means that instead of talking about the summer season and our 24/7 live call services, we wanted to share some of our best researched and tested ways to save money. We hope that this will help your small business weather the COVID-19 storm and come through on the other side, ready to grow and prosper once more.
Prioritize Your Business Bills
Whether your business has been affected yet or not, we think this is a smart time to take a look at all of your business (and even personal) bills and prioritize which ones are absolutely necessary, and which ones you can cancel or get rid of.
A great way to understand which bills or expenses are most necessary is looking at everything that comes out each month, and looking at what items your business might be using, needing, or selling less of. Have your smoothie sales been halved? Then you could skip your next shipment of frozen fruit.
Additionally, check-in with your billers or service providers. Many are offering assistance or options to temporarily delay or skip payments. You may be able to get some grace, or even a discount, from many vendors – at only the price of a phone call and asking.
Reduce Your Bills
As we mentioned in the previous section, you should have already looked at all of your bills and cut out the ones you don’t need. But now you can also work to see what bills you can reduce.
Using the same example as earlier, if you are selling fewer smoothies, then make sure your future shipments of frozen fruit are for less product as well. Product waste is an area that can drastically hurt your business right now, so make sure you are being smart, and using trends in sales to determine what bills you can reduce.
Additionally, start reducing nonessential and discretionary spending for your business in case things get worse, or in case it takes longer for businesses to fully reopen. These expenses might include decor, certain food items, and other business nonessentials or ‘extras’.
These small savings add up and should be stored in a savings account as an emergency fund in the event your business loses income in the next few weeks or months.
Look to Cares Act Aid for Your Business
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some financial institutions have put in place payment deferral programs or have agreed to waive some fees. Many institutions also offer hardship programs or other debt management solutions and plans.
However, if your financial institution doesn’t have plans or programs that work for you (or even if they do) you should stay informed with the federal aid and packages that are being offered for small businesses that may be struggling right now.
Re-Evaluate Your Scheduling
Finally, look at your schedules and see what can be done to lessen the hours. Keep in mind that the PPP loans from the Cares Act will have to be paid back if you lay off any of your employees, however, reducing hours to match your reduced work, open times, or customer demand may help you to save money and keep your head above water longer until we can all go back to our normal working practices.
Talk with your employees and see what they need, what they recommend, and work together to find a solution that will keep your business running for the long haul, and keep your employees with income as well.
It does no one any good if you keep hours consistent and then have to close your doors. Instead, work at explaining to your employees that you may have to lessen hours in order to keep them employed. Communication is the key here.
We’re all in stressful times, so make sure you are being kind to yourself and to others, and keep looking to the future. If you need additional assistance keeping up with call volume or your current Always Answer billing, contact us today.