6 Tips to Rebuild Your Small Business after COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has crippled the world’s economy. No one ever thought that a tiny virus could shut operations all over the world. Each country has been tackling this situation since December 2019 in the best interest of its citizens and businesses. One of the common solutions has been country-wide lockdowns.

COVID-19

Though implementing country-wide lockdowns was effective in saving millions of lives, it also wreaked financial havoc around the globe. The lockdown has negatively impacted many small and medium businesses in India as well.

Assess your financial damage from COVID-19

The first and foremost step of the recovery plan is to assess the quantum of the effect caused to your small business by the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are different layers involved in such financial assessment, starting with the hard numbers. It will be helpful to update your financial statements such as profit and loss accounts or cash flow statements. You can then compare them to last year’s figures to know how much your business has been affected.

Your business plan might need a second look

Your existing business plan might have worked for you in the pre-COVID era, but it might need some fine-tuning to grow in this new normal.

You may need to analyse how your business plan can be tweaked to adapt to the new normal and flourish. For example, if you were dependent on foot traffic for your sales, you may need to expand your business digitally and attract new customers who are shopping from home now.

Many organisations are trying to guide and provide requisite resources to small business owners looking to rebuild their business. We, at Razorpay, can provide you with a full payment solution for your business too. This will help you collect your payments digitally and maintain social distancing at the same time.

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Your business might need funds to recover after COVID-19

Unless a small business owner has a hidden treasure at home, it is very likely that the business will need some funding to restart its operations.

There are several financing options that you can consider for your business. The government has also recently announced relief measures for small and medium businesses in India.

Revisit your budgeted amount for spends

The early stages of recovery may lead to more spending than revenue. You should prioritise expenses to make most of the revenue coming in. The focus should be to eliminate the waste of money and prepare a lean operational budget for the business.

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Set up a timeline for revival

There are several action items to be completed to fully recover from COVID-19 outbreak, but doing everything at once might spoil the plan.

For a small business that was closed due to the pandemic, your immediate goal should be to secure funds for your business. Once this is figured out, you can consider rehiring employees and follow it by stocking up your inventory. The step-by-step approach will help you plan accordingly.

Be prepared for any next big crisis

We shall promise to not take anything for granted in future. While the pandemic may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the reality is that any unpredicted situation can disrupt your small business.

The COVID-19 outbreak has taught us to always have a contingency fund that can help you and your business sustain and move further. You can create this fund by trimming down your unnecessary operating expenses.

Tips for Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

Virtual Businesses of all sizes need administrative help, but having a full-time employee onsite can be cost-prohibitive. Enter virtual assistants (VAs), administrative professionals who offer a wide variety of services remotely, operating as their own small businesses.

Virtual

Through technology like cloud collaboration software, video conferences, project management apps and instant messaging, entrepreneurs who want to start a virtual assistant firm have all the tools they need to successfully work with business clients.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this lucrative business opportunity and becoming a VA, here’s some expert advice on how to make it work.

Operating as a VA on your own can feel like you are all by yourself, but in fact, there are professional groups, online forums and books to support you in your business dream. By reading and researching what services a VA can perform, you can narrow down your own offerings. And by networking with other VAs, you can benefit from subcontracting work or advice from more established VAs.

“Most VAs are more than happy to help out someone who is new to the field. And even if they don’t have any subcontracting work, they may be able to refer you to someone who does,” said Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, MBTI Certified, with All Things Admin.

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As with any business, you need to develop a business plan before launching a VA company. A business plan is an outline of your company and how you plan to operate. The business plan acts as a timeline for your company. Also, if you plan to seek out loans or investors for the VA business, lenders will request a copy of your business plan.

Structuring your business is a requirement before making your services public. There are multiple business structures available. According to the Small Business Administration, a sole proprietorship is ideal for low-risk business ventures or individuals who want to test the waters with their new company before formalizing plans. Additional structure options include corporations, LLC, and partnerships. All structures have tax advantages and disadvantages.

Before launch, check with your municipality about any licensing requirements you may need for your new business.

There’s a lot more to being a VA than helping with the tasks your client needs you to do. Having office experience will help you in your day-to-day duties, but as an independent business, you need to learn the ropes of how to run it.

“Working virtually means you must exercise great discipline,” said Tim Petree, senior vice president of BST Concierge. “You’re your own boss, (but) those corporate rules that once seemed to be a drag can save you from financial ruin when you’re the CEO or sole proprietor. If anything, you must now be conversant in all areas of business administration – sales, marketing, IT, customer service, project management, receivables, payables and compliance.”

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As with any type of virtual work, not being in the office for face-to-face interactions with your clients can present some difficulties if your or their communications are unclear. VAs perform many of the important day-to-day tasks that keep a business running, so knowing what’s required of you as a service provider is key to customer satisfaction.

Marketing is essential when developing a successful VA business. Keyword research will help you get started on a marketing plan for your company. Find out what keywords clients are using to find VA services. Tools like Moz are useful in researching keyword terms. Once you select your keywords, integrate them in all marketing materials for the VA business. Your marketing efforts should include a professional and user-friendly website. An optimized and well-designed website will attract new clients. Social media marketing should also be a part of your strategy for your VA venture.

As a VA and as a business owner, you’ll need to be able to deliver exactly what each client needs. It’s a good idea to determine the best structure for your service packages and pricing based on what your clients are looking for.

“A VA provides business owners with the opportunity to get exactly what they need, when they need it, like ordering from a menu,” Anastasio-Festi said. “Because most VAs offer a wide range of services to various industries, it becomes confusing as to who needs what most. [Our firm] is moving away from hourly retainers and more towards customizing individual monthly packages that are tailored to each client’s needs.”