Small business owners have always faced big challenges, but they pale in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • A survey found nearly 7.5 million small businesses may be in danger of closing permanently over the next five months, and 3.5 million are at risk of closure in the next two months
  • 80% of small employers report slower sales

With most organizations working remotely to encourage “social distancing” and limit the spread of coronavirus,  you may be asking yourself, “What do I do now?”

Keeping your business moving forward will require new thinking, new tools and new opportunities. We’ve got you covered on all fronts.

How Social Distancing Changed Everything 

Governments around the world have imposed social distancing guidelines to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

We’ve seen school closures, 10-person limits on gatherings, and people wearing face masks when they go out in public. 

The effect on businesses has been devastating. In fact, MIT Technology Review reported, “this will be hugely damaging to businesses that rely on people coming together in large numbers: restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, gyms, hotels, theaters, cinemas, art galleries, shopping malls, craft fairs, museums, musicians and other performers, sporting venues (and sports teams), conference venues (and conference producers), cruise lines, airlines, public transportation, private schools, day-care centers.”

This isn’t something that’s going to go away anytime soon. New research from Harvard University indicates we may have to maintain some kind of social distancing in the US into 2022. 

Poll: Small Business Owners Uncertain About Future

This is a time of disruption and uncertainty.

Unfortunately, many companies are hurting because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • 24% of small businesses report having already temporarily shut down. Among those who haven’t shut down yet, 40% report it is likely they will shut temporarily within the next two weeks. 
  • 43% believe they have less than six months until a permanent shutdown is unavoidable. 46% of small businesses believe it will take the U.S. economy six months to a year to return to normal.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report on how the pandemic has affected U.S. small businesses. They found more than 8 in 10 small businesses are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their business. 58% are very concerned.

It’s only natural small business owners are looking for guidance on how to keep their customers and employees safe, how to respond to the crisis, and how to understand the outbreak.

7 Actionable Tips: Surviving (and Thriving) During Social Distancing

This is not the time for small business owners to stop marketing. On the contrary, to survive it’s crucial to get creative and take advantage of available opportunities.

  1. Optimize your online presence

    According to Forbes, only 51% of small businesses have a website yet 97% of consumers are searching for products and services online. If you’ve been neglecting your online footprint, now is the time to improve your website and social media accounts

  2. Deliver virtual events and classes

    This is an opportunity to create virtual events to address the challenges your audience is facing. Many businesses are pivoting in response to social distancing and offering events through Facebook, Zoom, and Instagram.

  3. Use social media to stay connected & for social commerce

    More than 40% of consumers use social networks to research new brands or products. Most people check their social media accounts at least once per day. Some people check social multiple times per day. Take advantage of this by placing ads on Facebook and Instagram where your customers can buy from you with a couple of clicks. 

  4. Get your tax refund on time

     Tax Day is being delayed from April 15 to July 15, giving taxpayers and businesses extra time to file their taxes without interest or penalties. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Effective record-keeping can… improve your chances of getting reimbursed punctually for business insurance claims and receiving assistance from the federal government or your local small business administration.” Neat makes it easy to manage documents, categorize expenses, and quickly reconcile accounts for easy tax filing.

  5. Maximize cash inflow

     Offer customers and clients who pay more quickly a discount. A 1-2% discount is typical for paying within 10 days instead of the normal 30 days. You can also get cash in hand by offering gift cards. They not only provide you with an immediate infusion of cash, they also guarantee that customers will shop with your business in the future. 

  6. Use email to communicate with your customers

    Even though things have changed, you can use email to nurture leads and make sure you have a strong pipeline when the economic landscape shifts. Keep sending helpful content to your customers. You can use email marketing to amplify your traffic across other organic channels.

  7. Create a customer loyalty program

    Loyalty programs are a great way to increase sales and keep customers. Research shows that a 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase the average profit per customer by 25% – 100%. Need more proof? 58% of respondents buy from stores and brands whose loyalty programs they belong to at least once a month. And 69% of consumers say their choice of retailer is influenced by where they can earn customer rewards program points.

We Can Help You Simplify Your Business

Did you know most small business owners spend more than 41 hours on tax preparation every year? And the same study found 40% of small business owners say bookkeeping and taxes are the worst part of owning a business.

If you hate bookkeeping, we’d like to show you a world where keeping books is simple, frictionless, instant, automated… and neat.

We provide all the tools you need to scan, upload, or email receipts, invoices, bills, and statements with 99% accuracy. You can manage your transactions and reconcile your books – all in one screen.

Want to see how it works? Try Neat free for 15 days. Explore all Neat has to offer. Cancel anytime.