The coronavirus has affected businesses around the world. While the outbreak has presented multiple challenges, it has been especially difficult for retail startups because of social isolation and the forced closures of many stores. However, there are steps you can take to survive this difficult time.
Evaluate Your Business Model
It is impossible to make changes if you do not know where you are starting from and what you have to adjust. In order to survive a global pandemic, you must start by evaluating your current business model. Then, determine the areas that need the most attention and begin the process of figuring out the necessary changes. You can use online tools to make a new business model to structure the process.
First, figure out your key partners and activities. How will they need to change considering the coronavirus outbreak? Second, look at your value proposition. What can you give customers right now? Third, examine your customer relationships, customer segments, key resources, distribution, costs and revenue.
When there is a crisis, communication becomes vital for retail stores. It is even more important for multi-store operations that have a large number of employees in different locations. But how can you keep track of everything and make sure everyone stays informed?
One option is to use retail communication software to streamline communication and get everyone on the same page. You can coordinate different efforts, update employees about changes and keep track of all the moving pieces in one place. When you cannot be together in the same physical location, using software that lives in the cloud is a good solution. Both you and your employees will be able to access it on any device at any time of the day.
Explore Online Options
If you are a retail startup used to using physical locations, consider exploring online options to sell. Can you switch to selling your inventory online, and what will it take? It is possible to transition a brick-and-mortar store to the internet, but it takes effort and the right strategy.
From collecting sales taxes on a website to international shipping regulations, there are many elements to learn before you can make the switch to an online store. So the first step is to educate yourself and the rest of the startup on the requirements.
If you do not already have one, you will need an e-commerce website where you can sell inventory and collect payments. You may also need to hire additional IT support and customer service help to manage the website. You may need to update shipping, return and exchange policies to sell online.
Retail startups that rely on investors may need to make some changes. Your investors could also be in trouble during this pandemic, so this may affect funding. It is important to realize that your startup may no longer be their priority.
The first step is to communicate with your investors and to be transparent. There is the potential to lose funding, so it is crucial that you not ignore any problems. Consider searching for alternative ways to bring in money during these difficult times.
Check Out Loans or Grants
Although you want to avoid debt, it may be necessary to take out loans to keep your retail startup going. Another option is to look at grants that you qualify for based on your industry and other aspects. The key is to search for funding from multiple sources and apply as soon as you can since money can run out.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering several ways to help companies during the coronavirus crisis. The options include SBA Disaster Assistance Loans, Paycheck Protection Program Loans and emergency grants.
The SBA Disaster Assistance Loans go up to $2 million and have low interest rates. The Paycheck Protection Program Loans can be converted into grants, and the amounts vary because they come from private lenders. The emergency grants can be up to $10,000. In addition, there are other resources that may help you.
The coronavirus outbreak has affected retailers in many countries as they face uncertainty and closed businesses. Retail startups have the additional concerns of being newer in the market and dealing with funding from investors. It is important not to lose sight of your goals during a crisis, but you must be flexible and make changes to survive.
Retail startups can start the process by looking at their business models and making adjustments. It is also important to streamline communication, look at selling online and figure out funding. If your investors are pulling out, look at SBA loans and grants. There may also be other options that can help you stay afloat and keep going. When the crisis is over, you will be able to flourish.