Certain types of small businesses have been very hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. In this article, we will be looking at five such businesses. We will also be highlighting some of the things that the said businesses can do, to survive the Coronavirus crisis. The enterprises in question include:
1. Cafes and restaurant businesses
In some places, cafes and restaurants have been ordered to stop serving sit-in customers. This means that they have only been left with the option of serving takeaway customers. Where cafes and restaurants have been allowed to continue serving sit-in customers, they have had to reduce their capacities. So you find that a café that had capacity to serve 100 customers is now only left with capacity for 40 only. That is due to social distancing requirements which require a lot of spacing between the tables. In any event, you find that people are wary of visiting restaurants, for fear of contracting Covid-19 there. Thus, even after reducing their capacities, cafes and restaurants are often unable to get enough customers to fill the few remaining seats! What can café and restaurant owners can do to cope with the Coronavirus crisis? A starting point would perhaps be to improve upon their takeaway services. This is about identifying the foods and drinks that are likely to sell a lot under takeaway system. Then you increase the production of such foods and services. Such businesses also need to get as many of their customers as possible to know that they are offering their products under the takeaway system. They can also offer reduced prices on the foods and drinks sold under the takeaway system, in order to attract more customers. Another strategy that can work very well is that of offering door-to-door delivery services. Under this arrangement, the customers just make their orders for the foods and drinks they need remotely. Then the café and restaurant owners make arrangements for those foods and drinks to be delivered to the customers’ homes or offices.
2. Alcohol selling businesses
These were among the very first businesses to be closed in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. The argument was that alcohol impairs people’s judgments. And that it is consequently impossible for people to observe social distancing rules while drunk… Consequently, in some places, alcohol selling businesses have been completely shut down. Where they have been allowed to continue operating, it has only been for takeaway services — with no sit-in customers. And in the very few places where alcohol-selling businesses have been allowed to continue serving sit-in customers, they have to contend with drastically reduced capacity [due to social distancing requirements]. What alcohol selling business owners can do, to cope with the Coronavirus crisis is to improve upon their takeaway services. They can also explore the option of offering door-to-door delivery services. This would be a system were customers who are interested in various alcoholic drinks just place orders remotely. Then the alcohol business owners make arrangements for the drinks to be delivered to the said customers.
3. Entertainment businesses
Just like the alcohol-selling businesses, entertainment businesses were among the very first enterprises to be closed due to the Coronavirus crisis. In most parts of the world, there are no signs of entertainment businesses being fully reopened any time soon. To make matters worse, entertainment businesses (unlike the cafes and the alcohol selling businesses) don’t have the option of selling their products under the takeaway system. This means that most of them have been left with absolutely no money coming in. Perhaps what the people who are in these businesses need to do is explore the possibility of offering their services online. They could also diversify, and venture into other lines of business that are viable during this trying period. Then once the Covid-19 crisis ends, they can get back to the entertainment business.
4. Fitness-related businesses
These include gyms and the businesses that sell fitness equipment. In most places, once the Covid-19 crisis arose, gyms were ordered to close immediately. The argument was to the effect that the chances of Coronavirus spreading within the gym setting are too high. In most parts of the world, gyms and other fitness related businesses remain closed. And even where they have been allowed to continue operating, they have seen the numbers of their clients falling. That is due to the fact many people are afraid of going to gyms lest they contract Coronavirus there. One way in which people in this particular line of business can adapt is perhaps by exploring ways of connecting with their clients online. There are some forms of fitness training that can be offered online – especially the ones that don’t involve the use of advanced gym equipment. The fitness trainers can focus on such exercises for now, as we await for the Covid-19 crisis to be resolved. What about the clients who can’t be connected with online? Well, there is perhaps the option of visiting such clients at home (and offering fitness training to such clients from home).
5. Education-related businesses
In most places, educational institutions have been completely shut down due to Covid-19 concerns. Where they have been allowed to continue operating, they have had to cope with operational limitations, due to social distancing requirements. In any event, Covid-19 has brought with it major financial disruptions. Those financial disruptions have caused the numbers of people seeking to enroll for educational services to fall. In some places, we find that even the few remaining students have also tended to have major difficulties paying the required fees… The way education-related businesses can cope with this crisis is by exploring the possibility of switching to e-learning. With e-learning, it is possible to connect with the students remotely. Nowadays, it is possible to offer almost all types of courses virtually. It is a cost-effective way of delivering education and training services. The whole thing is actually an opportunity for education-related business owners to understand the effectiveness of e-learning. Once they see how effective it is, they are likely to stick with it even after the Covid-19 crisis is resolved.