COVID-19: Strategies for Small Businesses

If you are self-employed or run a small business, follow these steps to manage the impact of COVID-19.

  1. Stop the Bleeding

    The most urgent step on your mind is survival. How can you stop bleeding cash that you know you are not making back in sales right now?

    Our checklist on managing cash flow will take you through all the right steps. Check it out here or by clicking it below.

  2. Get Your Numbers and Documents in Order

    While we know that financial support is coming from the government and other sources, we have no idea of amounts, qualifying criteria or timelines. While we wait for clarify, it’s a great time to get prepared.

    Create a spreadsheet that documents all of your expenses (fixed and variable), your insurance costs, any cancelled orders, any lease costs and all other costs you can think of that might support your case for a loan. When the time comes to apply for additional loans and other supports, you will be so glad you did!

  3. Support Your Employees

    If your business has employees, the strategy changes dramatically. Employees are an asset in your organization, and you want to make sure you can keep them if possible and help them through this health and economic crisis. If not, then you need to know the right legal and financial steps to take to protect your business.

    Make sure all of your policies are up to date and that you are correctly making the work environment safe during COVID-19. You need to consider:

    • Creating a safe work environment

    • Travel restrictions

    • Work from home provisions and policies

    • Symptom disclosure and health screening policies

    • Worker’s compensation (provincially regulated)

    • Human Rights Concerns

    What are the best options when it comes to layoffs?

    • Is a temporary layoff a good option?

    • What documentation is required?

    • Do you owe severance?

    • Can you still provide health benefits?


  4. Pivot to Survive

    Many businesses are forced to be creative right now, and when we are pushed up against a wall, we can come up with interesting new options. We have an excellent checklist on the steps you can take to navigate a pivot successfully.

    Click here to check it out.

  5. Business Continuity

    What happens when this crisis is over?

    The list of essential businesses is changing daily, and as our economy recovers, different businesses will open at different times. It’s best to try to plan for the different expected timelines and do your best to stay fluid.

    Click here for a resource. Remember this is changing so keep updated on the requirements.

    What will your return to work plan be?

    What costs and employees will be required? Think of return as an action plan that should be all set up and waiting for the go ahead to trigger action. Try to prepare as much as possible. Keep your clients, suppliers and other key stakeholders updated. They should know you are there, waiting and working hard to serve them. If possible, secure contracts and sales to execute upon your return.

    Click here for a guide on creating a business continuity plan, including operations, infrastructure, governance, sales, employee support,

    Do you have a contingency plan if things don’t go as you expect? What about emergency preparedness?

    BDC has a template here

    Network: During this time, nurture your networks, establish new partnerships, and support other businesses. Have plans for how to parlay these initiatives into new business when you return.

    Hiring: As much as we are focused on retaining employees, this crisis has caused some fantastic talents to become available. If you know of positions likely to need filling, begin to reach out and nurture these relationships.