A concise guide to help business owners on the journey back to normalcy.
Just a few weeks ago, the thought of “reopening the economy” would have been considered a pipe dream. Our country was hit by a health and economic crisis that has also brought the entire world to its knees. Luckily, many of us could keep on working from home throughout the toughest parts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, this lucky streak was not, unfortunately, something that many business owners could benefit from. This is especially the case for those that were are managing businesses that were deemed as non-essential. These companies and brands had to rethink their entire business model overnight. In a matter of days (or even less) practices that were thriving for years were suddenly useless.
As we step into the second half of 2020, the picture has changed. Thanks to the collective contribution in this battle, what once was a full-on lockdown is now slowly easing into a new normal. After a long dark night, families and friends can reunite. This also means that if social distancing and health guidelines are adhered to, most businesses can consider reopening their doors.
But where do we go from here? How can companies reinvent themselves and thrive in a post-coronavirus world? We put together a concise guide to help business owners on the journey back to normalcy.
In a Sinking Ship With No Lifebuoy
Savvy business owners always plan for crises. That is one of the most basic practices in the trade. But even if you’ve had an inkling about a global pandemic at the beginning of 2020, there simply was not enough time to prepare your company for what felt like the end of times in March: empty streets, a lockdown and a general sense of bleakness that swept across Ireland and the entire planet.
For many companies, even if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the business year may effectively be lost. That is especially true for many small businesses, that do not have the capital backing to hold their own against a faceless enemy. Multinational corporations like McDonald’s can sustain itself throughout a shutdown, but the local chipper might not have that privilege.
Layoffs and even closures were inevitable within this new paradigm. The ones that manage to keep business sailing during this past storm are winners definitely, but in all fairness that might be more a case of luck than anything else.
Gathering Any Help We Can
This bleak scenario that we’ve described up to this point is the reality in many cases. At the peak of the pandemic, over 80% of Irish businesses reported that they had either scaled down or closed. Even in instances of complete closure, overheads in Ireland typically float between 2000€ to 5000€ per week. This level of financial commitment can still create an aftershock crisis that could harm even the companies that opted to close down to safeguard their employees’ well-being.
However, there is hope. State Aid could be a massive help for those struggling to plan ahead. All owners could use a boost in the form of grants and funds to keep operations afloat and ready for storms that might hit again.
The best known governmental initiative in this regard is the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy. This scheme allowed employers to pay their employees during the pandemic. However, overheads and scale downs are not covered by this scheme.
There are currently countless support schemes, grants, and courses aimed at helping small businesses and owners. We suggest taking a look at this presentation by the Local Enterprise Office for more information.
Thinking Ahead – A Digital-Only Approach?
This pandemic will surely change how we look at our interpersonal relationships, that is a given. Families and friends have learned to bridge distances, the demand for online courses has flourished and deliveries are now more important than ever.
The online approach is an effective and reliable way in which to keep your enterprise thriving during these troubled times. As a result, the number of requests for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme skyrocketed over the past months. With a rise of over 300% in comparison to 2019, the program has recently been expanded to help businesses adapt quickly to a digital-only approach. This is a lifeline for smaller companies that are struggling with closures and diminished returns.
Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and limited online presence can benefit from two grants of up to €2,500. You can use the grant to develop an app, establish e-commerce capabilities, and target a bigger audience.
Building Your Ark With a Little Help From Webbiz
The coronavirus-stirred storm will be in our minds long after its effects are no longer visible in Ireland. As much as any local company in Dundrum, Webbiz was also balancing a consistent business flow without compromising the safety of our team – which is still working from home.
The near future still holds many questions regarding how and when a sense of normality will be reached, and even if it will be possible at all. Nonetheless, every storm does indeed has a silver lining. We are strong believers in that ray of sunshine that shines through the clouds no matter if or when the next crisis hit our island. We are now prepared more than ever and we will get through it together, as we always did.
So, drop us a line if you are a business owner or if you’re about to sail the entrepreneurial high seas for the very first time. Be it for guidance about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme or if you’d like the help of an experienced team, we are here. No one should have to go through a storm alone.