Accept the situation
The most obvious, but also the most difficult point. You will not personally correct the adverse epidemiological situation. And do not repeal the laws and regulations that require your potential customers not to leave the house.
But you are quite capable of not wasting your energy and nerves on panic. Emotional decisions are the worst enemy of any business. It is better to immediately bypass the anger and other stages and move on to acceptance: it is still inevitable.
The situation will be a stress test for you, a powerful test of all business systems. And if now you decide to suspend work and wait out the storm, then you have to compete with those who are better equipped, knows how to learn from any situation and is not afraid of difficulties.
Think about what costs can be reduced
Because of the large-scale crisis, people will obviously spend less. This means that your profits will decline steadily if nothing is done.
Profit in the most simplified sense is the difference between income and expenditure. This means that everything you have managed not to spend will increase your capital. Think about what your business can refuse. These could be:
Paid software that has decent free counterparts; High-profile advertising campaigns; Tasks you outsource Working with distributors, not directly with suppliers Incentive payments for employees; team training. You don't need to give it up, you can just look for free courses, which are now a lot. For example, Netology and GeekBrains have such programs, and some mobile operators even zero traffic on them: you can watch an hour-long lecture from a smartphone and not pay for the Internet.
Keep those you work with safe
COVID-19, which the whole world rightly fears, is really dangerous. If you work with customers live, not online, it's your job to keep them and the team safe.
Let's say you have a small pet store (such outlets continue to operate along with pharmacies and grocery stores). Buyers, of course, have become many times less, but they still are. After all, not all online feed stores promise delivery on the day of order. Disinfection of surfaces and door handles, access to antiseptics, limiting the number of people in the room, wet cleaning, if possible exclusively non-cash payment - something that you need to do several times a day. And of course, there should be a total ban on employees coming to work with the slightest signs of a cold.
Move to a new format
Many companies transfer employees to remote work, and where it is not possible (in supermarkets, restaurants), to the maximum limit contact with visitors.
The new format can afford not only the media or IT business. There are options for other areas as well. For example, a number of restaurants in Moscow have already joined the courier services. And shoe or electronics stores, in addition to the possibility of home delivery, extend the shelf life of orders in the points of self-delivery. You can also offer customers special delivery conditions or reduce the purchase amount to transfer the parcel to the self-delivery point. So, many companies have switched to contactless delivery. The customer pays for the order in advance, and the courier leaves the purchase under the door and, having gone to a safe distance, waits until it is taken away. Move on to this format and be sure to let your customers know that you are doing the maximum for their safety.
Because of the pandemic, your business may need some specialists, while others will have nothing to do. It is a last resort to lay off staff. After all, there is hope that in a month or two everything will return to normal, and hiring new employees will cost more. Not to mention how mass cuts demotivate the team.
No matter how well-established your system of work is, it can be reconfigured. For example, one of the staff could communicate with customers on the phone on pre-created scripts, someone - to follow comments on your website and social networks. You can also motivate people by your example: stand behind the cash register, and deliver the order.
Create special offers
Crisis is a time to take risks, including in marketing. It is possible and necessary to experiment, the main thing is to maintain ethics and not to speculate on human fears. Think about what you can offer to increase sales but still not work yourself at a loss?
A good idea might be to subscribe to goods and services. One customer who makes an order every month during the year is more profitable than a dozen one-time customers.
You can offer this to your audience by making a good discount. Special conditions should be negotiated with those who will pay for the entire subscription at once.
Encourage those who stay with you during difficult times
A difficult period will pass, and your business will remain, if you do everything right and successfully add up circumstances. If possible, mark the contribution of each member of the team now. Stay in touch with partners, suppliers, contractors who help to withstand a difficult situation. And to keep your relationship going, think now what particularly pleasant terms of cooperation and bonuses you can offer them when it's over.