As COVID-19 pervades every feature of life right now, it’s a business imperative to support workers during this time when there’re several unknowns. As small business owners know all, the challenges facing their business are the same as those experienced by big organizations.
However, they’ve to manage them with limited resources. This’s no different for responding to coronavirus.
All businesses are implementing a series of plans to maintain a healthy work environment and reassure our employer customers. There’re some problems that small businesses may encounter.
Small Businesses Are Facing an Uncertain Future
There is no doubt that small businesses are feeling the effect of COVID-19. According to a survey of Facebook, 31 percent of small and medium-sized businesses have shut down in the last three months. But the situation is especially bad for personal business (52 percent of which report shutting down), cafes, hotels, and restaurants (43 percent) and services such as wellness, fitness, grooming, and other professional services (41 percent).
Among the reasons cited by business owners as to what caused them to close, a majority said it was important to comply with orders by governments and health authorities, while a smaller share claimed it was because of financial challenges (9 percent) or a lack of consumer demand (7%).
But even when businesses stay open, they yet face essential challenges, including access to capital and customers. That is why it is so important to support small businesses right now.
And fortunately, there’re plenty of ways to do it. Whether it is purchasing gift cards, shopping online, and tuning into virtual classes. According to a report from Cox Business, to support small businesses during the social distancing have included ordering takeout or delivery from local restaurants, raising the amount tipped, and shopping online with native retailers. Even tech giants such as Instagram are jumping on the buy-local trend.
Access to Capital
Some of the big challenges among open businesses are accessing the capital they want to stay afloat, keeping their supply lines open, making sure their workers can work remotely, and balancing increased family demands. According to a survey of Facebook, while 2-3rd of closed businesses expect to re-open in the future, (including a slightly high percentage of women than men), among the 1-3rd who did not.
34% stated it will be since they cannot pay their bills or their rent. Overall, 3/5 businesses surveyed (60%) state that they are struggling with their company’s finances. As far as access to finance and capital goes, the biggest concerns were paying their workers’ salaries and wages (29 percent), and paying their bills (28%).
For restaurants, hotels, and cafes (basically, any business in the hospitality sector), those numbers rose to 44 percent and 54 percent, respectively. In order to alleviate these financial stresses, many businesses are turning to institutions for help.
Small Businesses Are Turning to Internet Tools
One of the big trends to emerge during the coronavirus pandemic is small businesses going online. Mark Zuckerberg said during a recent Facebook Live session, where he disclosed Facebook Shops, a new e-commerce feature will let small businesses to build online stores on both Facebook or Instagram.
We are seeing many businesses that never had online presences get online for the 1st time, and we are seeing small businesses that had an online presence now make them their initial way of doing business. For various small businesses, the internet is a lifeline, helping them to be afloat during the pandemic.
Balancing Running a Business and Caring for Their Households
One of the big challenges for small business owners is balancing work with home life. According to data of Facebook, 10 percent of owners and managers of open businesses reported taking care of household members (kids, elderly, dependent adults, and so on) as their chief worry.
Nearly half (47 percent) of those reported feeling burned out trying to take care of business and household at the same time.
And 29 percent were concerned around bringing coronavirus home.
These results highlight the close links between personal obligations or business operations and how the demands of house life can affect business owners, particularly during a worldwide pandemic.
A Facebook report states, the needs of businesses are deeply intertwined with the obligations of the people who run them.
In light of the recent collapse of divisions between work and house life, it is so essential to keep in mind how these stresses are impacting the mental health of people.
Employees are Facing Difficult Economic Circumstances
Even when businesses remain open, workers are experiencing financial cuts from lost employment or some hours worked. It is essential to remember that any time a business closes or has to lay off employees, it affects whole communities of people who rely on income from jobs to support themselves, and in turn, support other local businesses and organizations.
Remaining Optimistic & Resilient
While the report of Facebook is focused on the many challenges that SMBs face during the coronavirus pandemic, there is certainly a silver lining. Many businesses are yet optimistic about the future. Actually, the majority of small businesses (57%) report that they are optimistic or very optimistic about the future of their businesses despite the COVID-19 crisis.
This positive outlook is incredible when you consider that 31 percent of small businesses said, they closed operations as of April 2020. But as per Facebook, the people who manage, and work for small businesses are resilient.
They are finding new ways to reach their clients online, they are making adjustments to how and when they do business, and they are working hard to meet their family responsibilities at the same time.
Emotional Health and Self Care
Companies can support workers’ emotional well-being by encouraging healthy ways to stay informed and identifying appropriate resources to consume.
Managers can work on being transparent and open around mental health so that workers feel comfortable discussing the topic at work.
Company leaders should encourage employees to take care of themselves.
Few self-care tips that are simple to implement while working from the house are taking breaks to walk about the home or outside, getting appropriate sleep, and eating well.
All these things help build a healthy immune system which, in turn, keeps workers healthy and able to fight disease and be productive when working.
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