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I was talking with a dear friend the other day. He’s a business owner with several locations. The Covid crisis has severely impacted his business, with sales down 70-80% over the prior year. As I know many business owners have publicly stated…and he stated it too, “thank God for the SBA loans.”

As Covid restrictions are loosening, I tell everyone who will listen to me to use this time to re-think your business. Just because life might get “back to normal” soon doesn’t mean that normal is what normal looked like 2 months ago. So, do yourself a favor and please don’t ignore that fact.

You’ve got to think strategically about the longer-term implications of this crisis and how consumer spending WILL change. So, the big question is – how will you adapt?

My friend and I chatted about a host of issues (and solutions!), but I wanted to share 3 things that came out of our conversation. 

  1. If you operate a retail business, are you optimizing your physical space? In other words, have you wanted to downsize in the past because you’re selling more online and haven’t pulled that trigger? Are you making the most out of the space you occupy? Do you need multiple locations? Have you looked at your numbers over a period of time to determine if some locations are performing better than others? If so, why? If you have legitimate reasons (and the revenues to back it up) to have multiple locations, then great. If you consistently have locations that are underperforming, now’s the time to take a look at your next steps.

  2. Whatever type of business or organization you lead, maximize your people. Do you have employees who can wear more than one hat, so to speak? Can you cross train them on multiple functionalities? 

  3. Negotiate any contracts you may have out there. You never know about the “deals” your vendors may be offering…you just have to ask about it. Were you spending money on things pre-Covid that are now not necessary? Think about travel for meetings and conferences…what can be handled on zoom or online? What about your advertising budget…are you promoting your business efficiently and effectively?

I’m sure there’s a million other things you should be thinking about right now. But, let’s face it…this crisis has everyone emotionally drained and tired. 

Keep it simple and think about your top one or two next steps. Trimming the fat is never easy, but it’s a requirement if you plan to be in business a year from now.