If we place the overt fears of a second spike in coronavirus infections, the global spread of Covid-19 appears to be dwindling. However, this is causing many to count the mounting socio-economic costs of the global pandemic, with both developed and developing nations throughout the world facing an uncertain future.
The small businesses of the world have been amongst the hardest hit, of course, while these entities are also established as key drivers of economic growth.
In the US, for example, small and local firms employ an estimated 58.9 million people, while they also contributed a staggering $5.9 trillion to the economy in 2014. In the UK, small and medium-sized businesses account for a whopping 99.3% of the total commercial population, with an estimated 5.82 million trading in 2019.
With this in mind, it’s crucial that businesses take practical steps to surviving in the wake of Covid-19, while also understanding how resilience can prove just as important as financial solvency.
Start with the Basics – Securing Investment and Liquidity
In the interim, it’s important that businesses secure their near-term futures and those of their employees. In fairness, most governments across the globe have enabled this, by providing huge financial packages consisting of grants, small business loans and a raft of innovative schemes.
This included the so-called ‘furlough’ scheme in the UK, which was rolled out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as a way of helping companies to cover their payroll and keep individuals in employments.
Under the terms of the scheme, furloughed staff have been able to stay at home while receiving 80% of their salary, and while the percentage will decline incrementally over time, the scheme has been extended until the end of October.
By securing short-term finance and direct assistance in meeting payroll, firms in the UK (and similarly proactive nations) have been afforded breathing space to both survive and build towards a more prosperous future.
In simple terms, the main challenge for businesses during times of socio-economic crisis is having access to cash. At its core, running a small business is an inherently risky endeavour, and there’s no doubt that firms are more vulnerable than ever in the current climate.
So, by being able to access immediate liquidity in such circumstances, companies can address the most pressing goal of remaining solvent and retain a core workforce that can resume full-time hours once the crisis has been averted.
Liquidity can take numerous forms, of course, but the most important thing is that companies remain afloat and in a position to grow incrementally in the medium and longer-term.
What Role Can Business Resilience Play in Securing Futures?
While cash loans and liquidity can help firms to cope as they recover from the coronavirus outbreak, the long-term health of businesses also relies on resilience and the enduring ability to adapt in the wake of unexpected disruptions.
While ‘business resilience’ may have become a common piece of jargon in the contemporary commercial world, it’s also a relatively simple concept that relies heavily on planning and creating a proactive sense of preparedness that pre-empts disruption.
Although this may not address specific challenges, it creates guidance during times of austerity and socio-economic disruption, while also ensuring that companies have the best possible chance to respond positively and restore normal service as quickly as possible.
Of course, the precise definition of business resilience will vary from one venture to another, particularly when applied to their everyday operations.
In this respect, the key is to prioritise key areas of your business’s operations, before creating proactive plans that address these directly in the event of significant disruption.
This may also involve forgoing certain aspects of your service and operation in some instances, but undertaking this as a pre-planned endeavour creates opportunities to make informed decisions and potentially redeploy employees.
Communicating such strategies and ensuring that employees are on-board with the measures is also central to the resilience of individual staff members. After all, employees are at the heart of your venture and will remain even more important during times of crisis, particularly when looking to drive business growth once the issues in question have been overcome. Ultimately, small businesses are inherently volatile and face incredible challenges at the best of times, despite their importance to the global economy. However, a sense of preparedness and resilience can help to distinguish successful ventures during times of crisis, particularly when supported by access to liquidity.