As the world moves through the uncertainties, challenges, and ultimately the opportunities of the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses everywhere are having to adapt to evolving circumstances. One of the largest pieces of uncertainty is the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus sweeping through. Such a resurgence in infections could further affect the world of small businesses, perhaps in unforeseeable ways. With that possibility in mind, what are the odds of such a second wave, and what can you as a small business owner do to prepare?
A Second Wave is Likely
The unpleasant news is that, due to most experts on the subject, another wave of coronavirus/COVID-19 infections is likely. Much depends on how civic leaders and government officials respond to the next surge in infections, which will likely occur in the fall. With quick action, a second wave could potentially be avoided or at least mitigated. However, that is a difficult task and unlikely to be fully successful. We should all plan on a second wave, of whatever severity, and an appropriate response from the authorities.
Small Businesses are Still Feeling the Effects of the First Wave
A recent study from Thryve and the Small Business Development Center revealed the following about how businesses and business owners view the current situation:
- 82% of small businesses were concerned about the business environment during the pandemic
- 73% had already experienced a drop in demand as a result of the pandemic and the resulting restrictions
- 60% believe the decline in demand will continue
- 60% had already canceled plans for further loans, expansions, or growth in light of the pandemic and the ongoing drop in demand
- 74% of small businesses have decreased employee hours
The same study correlated these results to a coinciding drop in consumer confidence and demand due to the pandemic. While these trends are starting to correct as restrictions on movement and gathering fade and more states reopen for business, the second/third/fourth order effects will last for months or longer.
Preparing for the Second Wave
While there are challenges for small businesses, both ongoing and in the months ahead, there are also steps business owners can take to not only manage risk but seize the opportunities to come. Preparation will come in a variety of forms depending on personal circumstances and the nature of the business in question, but a couple of key processes should take center stage. First, as we’ve long advocated a cool head and clear, rational thinking goes a lot further than emotion-based decision making. There’s a time to feel your feelings; business planning isn’t it. Secondly, it’s vital we all learn what lessons we can from the events of the past few months. This may involve investing more in a home office or the information infrastructure which allows for remote working, continuing to refine your delivery model for clients, or ensuring you have sufficient stockpiles of critical supplies. Your business plan should always be evolving, based on the lessons you’ve learned personally and those you’ve garnered by observing other entrepreneurs and businesses. Focusing on that process and then implementing those lessons appropriately and effectively will be vital in the months ahead, particularly if a second wave emerges and further complicates the business landscape.
Stay calm, stay focused, and run your business. We can all get through this if we take the right steps. As always, OmniStar Financial is here to help illuminate the blind spots and shed light on the important questions no matter what changes lie ahead.