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The challenges for small businesses posed by the novel coronavirus seem endless. Small to medium-sized companies have their work cut out for them, from following lockdown orders to finding new ways to reach customers to dealing with revenue shortfalls. Meanwhile, businesses still must pay taxes, rent, staff, and other fixed costs.
This seems unfair, especially in countries like Canada and the United States, where small businesses are the beating hearts of the economy. They hire the most workers, pay the most taxes, innovate, and offer excellent value to local communities.
Here are some tips that can help small to medium-sized businesses survive and thrive:
1. Plan Your Comeback
The situation can seem bleak, especially if your locality is under shelter-in-place orders. However, the lockdown has to end in the near future, especially with vaccine rollouts helping communities progress towards herd immunity.
Meanwhile, you can plan to reopen your business to take advantage of the influx of clients when the lockdown ends.
2. Hire a Small Business Accountant
While it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes you need to spend money to make or save money. A professional business accountant who specializes in assisting small to medium-sized businesses can help you in multiple ways.
- Taxation: An expert small business accountant can pay for themselves by helping you reduce your tax burden with the best write-offs. In the middle of a crisis, it’s a good idea to let a professional manage your tax responsibilities. The last thing you want is a call from big brother. However, even if you do receive an inquiry, a qualified specialist can represent your business professionally.
- Business Accounting Services: An experienced professional can organize your financial statements, balance your books, and offer monthly, quarterly, and annual bookkeeping services. While they do the heavy lifting, you can concentrate on generating revenue and enhancing profitability.
- Payroll: Both you and your employees will be paid on time when a professional is assisting with payroll, T4&T4 summaries, WSIB, and more.
3. Take Advantage of Government Programs
In the midst of the pandemic, there may be many federal and provincial government financial support programs designed to help your small business pay salaries, rent, and other operational costs. An emergency loan can be the bridge funding your company needs to stay afloat until the economic climate improves.
Now is the time to adapt, improvise, and find efficiencies. Consider working from home to reduce expenses such as rent, energy bills, and transportation costs. You can also raise funds by selling unneeded office equipment, supplies, etc. Of course, it’s critical to maintain company morale while adopting remote working procedures. Running weekly meetings, empower staff, and send vouchers to hold remote lunch meetings.
While working remotely, find new ways to enhance your market reach by connecting with customers digitally through your website, apps, and social media pages. Develop secure online payment portals to help clients feel safe about business.
Part of the improvisation process includes having an exit strategy in case your business is unable to recover. There is no shame in admitting you need to go back to the drawing board, planning to sell your Amazon business for example, and coming up with a new business plan.
Although the challenges may seem overwhelming, your small company can maintain operations and find new ways to thrive with the right professional help, support, and practices.