As the coronavirus escalates a worldwide health emergency, it creates an even bigger challenge for the global economy. With tech giants like Apple expressing fears of a drop in company revenues in 2020, it is no wonder that small or medium-sized businesses find themselves in hot waters. If you find yourself in such testing circumstances, there are steps you can take to fight this seemingly uphill battle.

Link back to your customers

One of the first things you want to do is to re-establish your connection with your customers. You have to keep your social distance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected with them. Reach out to them, especially in the case of B2B businesses. Even if it is just 10 minutes of their time, you need to stay in touch.

What you want to aim for is to find out what they require from you during this time, and how you can help them out. Remember, businesses center around solving customers’ problems.

See what you can do to reset your business around providing solutions for those problems through your products, services or supply. In doing so, you can also assure that your revenue from those customers is not adversely affected.

Reach out with external communication

Just like you should connect with your customers, you also need to reach out to your external stakeholders, would-be customers, suppliers, and social media followers. To do this, you can either create a post or press release on your social media or website.

Address the issue directly. Inform them on what your company is doing about the coronavirus, how you are responding to it, and what measures you are taking to mitigate the risks.

Establish a strong connection with your team

While your customers may be your main channel for revenue creation, it is your team who’s going to navigate through these difficult waters by your side.

As a business leader, the first thing you want to do is to calm them down. Be crystal clear with your team about what the pandemic means for your business and how you plan to maneuver through this. Manage expectations and fears through conversation.

With the onset of the virus, many countries have advised or mandated their citizens to practice social distancing and remain in quarantine until further notice. This has led many companies to adopt the work-from-home model.

For many people, this is a new way of working and collaborating. Just remember to find ways to encourage your team members to stay engaged with each other. Schedule conference calls, invite suggestions on how to improve processes, and, most importantly, remain empathetic.

If you are continuing to work on-site, be firm in enforcing the right habits of handwashing and sanitization. Make sure to maintain a clean environment. You can also consider allowing flexible work hours for your employees to help them adjust.

Review your business contracts

In times of dire economic need, your primary focus should be conserving cash. Apart from wisely using your finances and saving money, this entails taking a good look at your current and signed contracts. What you want to check is to see if your contracts include a clause for force majeure.

Many small businesses do not have this included in their terms. And this can be testing, now more so than ever. If that’s you, you might want to enter such a clause in your contracts that helps you get yourself out in the face of a calamity. So, review your contracts before you proceed.

Also, while you are at it, you should actively try and collect all that your customers owe you. Remember, the next few months are going to be financially taxing. So, make sure you collect what you are owed in a timely fashion.

Clear your path to credit

Governments around the world are taking measures and introducing fiscal programs to help out small businesses. But these fiscal programs are going to take time to enter the economy.

While you await a sturdy and clear economic program, you need to realize that you are pretty much on your own until that happens. So, make sure you get yourself an adequate line of credit.

Get in touch with your bank and consider opting for short-term lending facility programs or overdrafts. Basically, something to buoy you in this tide and help you steer the future of your business.

Keep learning

If you are part of the gig economy, this time may open up many new opportunities to upscale and expand your work. But whether or not you are part of it, you and your team can use this time to work — on yourselves. Aim to learn something new and redefine yourself. Encourage your team to do the same.

This virus is like a forest fire; it is going to spread and burn, but it can also allow new growth. Once the world recovers and enters into a post-COVID-19 era, you will have already mastered the techniques and skills which you can put to good use.

The pandemic doesn’t look like it will be dissipating anytime soon. And in creating challenges for health, it has also stacked up challenges for small and medium-sized businesses. But like every challenge, you can rise to meet this one with just the right amount of grit and timely planning. Stay safe and keep on going!