It has been a full year already…
The situation is no joke! Enduring the pandemic has not been easy for anyone.
Job loss, loss of revenue, and supply chain disruptions are the new normal.
In times of economic crisis such as this one, women-owned businesses will be among the hardest hit due to systemic disadvantages and gendered expectations.
Factors such as difficulty attaining funding and the smaller capital resulting from the gender pay gap can make the economic crisis even more challenging for female business owners.
Women-owned businesses already have a 31% smaller loan size, on average, than men-owned businesses. And the pandemic doesn’t do you any favors even with funding solutions like the Paycheck Protection Program because, in those programs, you still have to compete with bigger businesses with larger revenues and better funding opportunities.
Moreover, women tend to be the primary caregivers of children and elderly relatives. So, juggling these intense family needs while struggling to keep your business afloat will no doubt make the pandemic even harder.
Here are a few things you can do to survive an economic crisis like coronavirus.
1: Women-Owned Businesses Should Seek Specific Funding
Several companies and organizations have launched funding solutions specifically to help women-owned businesses impacted by the health crisis. With banks favoring existing clients for PPP funding, you might stand a better chance of getting financial aid through these options.
2: Look for Other Niche Funding Options
To further improve your chances of getting the funding you need, you could also narrow down on even more niche funding solutions. For example, there could be a special grant for women-owned businesses in your industry, or there could be funding offered for women-owned businesses in your state or city.
For example, the Beauty Changes Lives organization is providing COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants to licensed beauty professionals. The organization has awarded over $256,000 in grants since May 2020. And for mom-owned businesses, Moms as Entrepreneurs is offering micro-grants ranging from $500 to $1,000.
3: Switch to Online Approaches Where Possible
Although things are opening up around the country, restrictions and social distancing will no doubt continue to impact foot traffic and employee presence. Tackle this problem by switching to an online approach wherever possible and improving your existing digital strategy. This means improving your website and/or app to allow for more seamless transactions and customer service.
Plus, in the case of industries where employees don’t have to be physically present, you could switch to remote work. This would require using the right online tools to allow smooth collaboration and communication.
4: Get Support From Other Business Owners to Better Navigate the Crisis
One of the few good things about the pandemic is that it has brought forward more and more people who want to help. For example, you can find diverse and women-owned business owners providing valuable resources and support for other women-owned businesses. This includes virtual workshops, free consultations, discounted services, free courses, and complimentary guides to help navigate the crisis more effectively.
5: Consider Temporary Work-Share Programs for Employee Retention
Lower revenue will obviously create some problems with paying your employees. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should lay off all your employees due to a temporary setback. Once business picks up again, you might be unable to find new employees who have the same level of dedication, which could set your business back to a significant extent.
Instead, you could temporarily adopt work-share programs that allow you to reduce your employees’ hours and minimize unemployment. At the same time, approved work share programs will still allow your employees to qualify for a portion of unemployment benefits. So, although this doesn’t fully compensate for lost wages, it helps ease the strain for both parties during this crisis.
6: Stay Connected with Your Customers
Just because you can’t open your doors doesn’t mean you should allow your customers to forget about you. Make sure you use social media, email, and other digital communication channels to stay connected with your customers.
This is a time to invest in content marketing to keep your business top-of-mind and highlight the value of your solutions. Use compelling content published across your online channels to communicate your initiatives that keep your customers as well as your business and employees safe.
Regularly communicating with your customers will help you earn their loyalty and referrals, which means it’ll be easier to pick up where you left off once you resume regular operations.
7: Step Up Your Self-Care
While female business owners will do everything in their power to survive the economic crisis, systemic disadvantages could still hold them back. As such, the introduction of independent financing solutions offers significant relief, especially when it comes to cash-flow-related challenges. Aside from this, policy changes and systemic reforms could provide further relief on a larger scale.
Every business will face challenges, big and small, throughout its lifetime. By understanding the resources that are available to you as a woman-owned business owner gives you access to funding and other opportunities that help keep your doors open.
And, members of your community of business owners are facing similar issues. You can stay stronger when they work together. If you need support, remember to care for yourself and reach out, help is available.