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SMB Survival Guide: Dealing with Crisis

SMB Survival Guide: 6 Tactics for Dealing with Crisis

SMB Survival Guide: 6 Tactics for Dealing with Crisis

The economic impact of the Spanish flu was uniform across all industries. Fast-forward a century, the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be more brutal to some industries than others. The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we operate as a society. While this pandemic calls for some radical changes, this will make your business more robust and scalable in the long run.

Hardest-hit small businesses

If your small business is designed to bring people to your physical locations, you might be taking some heat at the moment. Even though your customer base is eager to help you, your doors might be shuttered by sweeping nationwide bans. Also, many consumers are focused on savings because of looming uncertainty and unemployment, drying up your cash flow.

Bottom line, your small business might be highly impacted if your business:

  • Involves in-person interactions
  • Is non-essential
  • Has a causal connection with gatherings

Here are some examples of affected small businesses:


One place that can easily violate CDC social-distancing guidelines is a gym. It’s virtually impossible to keep the virus from spreading, unless people are working out in hazmat suits. Although sweat may not be capable of transmitting the virus, a contaminated piece of equipment is.

What you should do:

  • Create exercise tutorials: Your customers will love a video tutorial that reminds them of their favorite gym. Get innovative and add the sparkle of community-based gestures in each video. You can sell these tutorials directly to your customers or utilize a monetizing engine.
  • Remote personal trainer: Many people prefer going to a local gym because they want personalized fitness plans. If you can provide this on their couches, they may not miss the real gym experience. A ready-to-go online platform can quickly get you up to speed without the worries of costly infrastructure.

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Salons and spas

If correct disinfection procedures are in place, salons and spas may be operated safely. However, most of these businesses are voluntarily avoided by the consumers, if not banned by the government altogether. Fear can stop people from coming in, but it can’t deter them from endorsing your new offerings.

What you should do:

  • Sell beauty products online: If you aren’t already selling your name-brand beauty products, this is the perfect time to jump in. Not only will this $532 billion global industry make you profitable, but you will also get broader market exposure.
  • Create makeup tutorials: You can get creative and start leveraging your staff to produce valuable content. While there are millions of such tutorial videos on the web, there is a lack of professional quality content.

Movie theaters

Theaters aren’t designed to adapt to social-distancing guidelines. Even if you’re able to overcome all the hurdles and sit your customers 6 feet apart, you won’t be able to stay profitable. Your best bet to survive this pandemic is by stretching to uncharted territories.

What you should do:

  • Start streaming: Although a majority of theater owners will be reluctant to adopt this path, streaming may be a lifesaver in these testing times. Especially when there is no definitive end to the COVID-19 restrictions, this may be the only way for your theater to remain profitable.
  • Sell memorabilia: Some people like Star Wars and others worship Darth Vader. It is a good idea to start pitching collectibles on your website to a targeted audience. This venture can potentially become your gateway to a multibillion memorabilia market.

Boosted small businesses

You’re in luck if your business is on the brighter side of the spectrum and uniquely positioned to serve society. One of the following could be true:

  • Your business was born online
  • You are solving a critical problem
  • You’re the backbone of an essential business

The following are a few positively impacted businesses:

Videoconferencing providers

While the telephone has existed forever, it has never replaced an in-person meeting. By filling in the missing pieces—facial expressions and eye contact—your videoconferencing software blows life into a remote meeting. The spike in demand is natural because of the current travel restrictions. As you focus on serving your customers, you should also think about taking your business to the next level.

What you should do:

  • Double down on security: More online meetings means more chances of security breaches. When people put their trust in your videoconferencing software, it’s your responsibility to protect their data. If you can ensure better security than your competitors, you will set yourself up for long-term success.
  • Add more offerings to your line up: Get creative with bold ideas and come up with new ways to generate revenue. For example, you can offer cross-platform integration to record meetings on clients’ preferred cloud providers. You have the perfect opportunity to do A/B testing of new products with an increased number of customers.

Grocery stores

Pandemic or not, the grocery industry has seen steady growth in the last 5 years. The increased eat-at-home demand has only added to this trend. While the growth is nice to have, the way groceries are dispensed now has posed some challenges.

What you should do:

  • Revamp the supply chain: One of the benefits of healthy competition is that it keeps you motivated. E-commerce giants have already forced traditional businesses to rebuild their warehousing, storage, and distribution. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to revamp your supply chain and avoid bottlenecks at the end of the chain.
  • Build new relationships: Regardless of your existing delivery infrastructure, you should have a fallback plan to meet the current demand. Although the steep commissions of third-party providers are frustrating, they let you tap their giant customer base.


As an MSP, you are the backbone of your clients’ businesses. The COVID-19 crisis has only made your service more essential. This uniquely positions you to assume greater responsibilities and help your clients survive this pandemic. You must take this opportunity to optimally fulfill your duties, and simultaneously work on growing your business.

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  • Hire talent: Undoubtedly, this pandemic will end one day. But, by the time it does go away, it will have altered consumer habits forever. If you take the time to recruit talent now, you will be prepping up for the long haul. There are lessons to be learned from the hiring practices of the big tech companies that are ramping up hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further reading Hiring New Employees for MSPs

  • Focus on the right clients: It is okay to pick a client here and there when the market is constant. As soon as the demand spikes, MSPs can benefit from niching down. Picking the right kind of MSP clients now will help you serve better, and potentially expand your profits.
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Takeaways for all small businesses

Whether your business falls in the affected categories or not, you should make the most of the nationwide lockdown. Here is some food for thought for you as a small business owner:

  • Improve productivity: You can use your downtime to learn new skills or grab a certification. Maybe you had a marketing class on the back burner, or you wanted to fix the broken pages on your website. There won’t be any better time blocks for such projects.

Further reading Top 20 Free SMB Productivity Tools For Your MSP Clients

  • Win over employees: A better leader is one that cares for his or her employees. While you’ve always wanted to be a caring employer, you’ve never had the time to show it. This virus won’t last forever but a simple gesture of kindness will.
  • Develop foresight: Nobody could have predicted a disaster like this, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for a future one. Find ways to create different revenue channels or alternate ways to run your small business.
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