COVID-19 has emerged as a pandemic globally that made the world to have not only the social crisis but also the economic crisis. The pandemic originated from China in December 2019 and spread in other countries by March 2020. India declared the first lockdown in entire nation from 25th March-14th April 2020 as a preventive measure for this pandemic. Locking down the entire nation, initially helped to put a halt on daily increase of COVID-19 cases comparatively to other countries but that didn’t help out for a long time. The cases were increasing exponentially after the first lockdown ended and the government of India (GOI) didn’t find any other option except to keep the country in lockdown again. Since then its been almost three months, the country is in lockdown and it became darkest before the dawn for small businesses.
Small businesses are dependent on their day-to-day sale and purchase and most of those deals in cash rather than using digital transactions. This pandemic has put not only the national economy at its worst but also has given a major setback to small scale businesses. The GOI had provided economic package of whooping 2 million crores but that also didn’t help much to these businesses.
The GOI has started unlocking the country based on COVID-19 situation in the states and their cities. Meerut, which is getting tens of cases daily, has also been unlocked and the small-scale businesses are now trying to be on track. The shops in a market are being opened on alternate days in a week i.e. one side of shops will open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday while the other side will open on remaining days observing Monday as a lockdown in the city.
The COVID-19 cases haven’t stopped and the small businesses have to take care a lot while transacting with the customers. The local authorities and the state government has issued some guidelines that these businesses must have to take care of but apart from those they need to take care of following as well to support their business, their employees and their-selves as well:
More Sanitization: Its been said “prevention is better than cure”. Everyone is aware that there is no medication for COVID-19 as of now and the medical facilities are also not up to the mark in the city. The quarantine time span is also more than 2 weeks which can also put halt on business. So, its better to take more precautions and do proper sanitization while transacting.
Social Media for customers: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and other social media platforms have given a new way to businesses. People are using these social media platforms to promote their products, to sell their products that too to their targeted audience, and to purchase as well. The businesses in Meerut can also use the same approach to increase their sale and keep their business on. Their employees can provide the door-to-door delivery while keep their selves sanitized.
Digital Transaction: This is the right time to put your business more into digital transactions. The more you transact in cash, there is more chance of getting infected from this pandemic as the virus can travel on monetary bills as well. Most of the business owners have a habit to count the money by their bare hands and sometimes using their spit while counting. The digital transactions not only keep you safe but also helps you in having the digital records of payments.
More Take outs and deliveries: The restaurants and hotels are facing more crisis as the people are afraid of getting infected to have outside food. These kinds of business can use this strategy while ensuring that they are following all the COVID-19 guidelines. Rather to have sitting arrangements, they can focus more on take-outs and deliveries at home to keep their business on.
Stick to your principles: While being in a business, there have always been competition with others. In this pandemic, everyone is going through tough phase, so it would be better to not use any kind of bad tactics to ruin someone else’s business. The businesses need to understand the situation and its kind of their moral duty to support each other. Also, to help their customers and to keep them connected to you, don’t take this situation for granted by selling things more than their reasonable prices, as you know whatever you do comes back to you.
Necessity leads to invention: We all know about the guideline issued by GOI and state government in this pandemic which is leading to less man power, delay in getting the resources coming from other states/cities, and creating chaos in day-to-day customer needs. This is the right time for businesses to find alternate solutions or developing those resources in their own city e.g. creating touchless sanitization equipment, mask and hand gloves, organic farming, etc. This kind of ideas not only make profits for them but also will help the others to be independent on other states/cities.
Support to employees: Small businesses aren’t doing good as of now, although it’s a difficult decision but they are not getting other option rather than cutting-off the number of employees they have. It’s a hard time for everyone and firing employees will lead to unemployment and may also lead to crimes, suicide and other calamities. The businesses need to find an alternate way to keep their cost cutting as well as keeping their employees on job. One of the alternate strategies they can use by keeping their employees on daily wages and asking them to be on alternate days. This way the employees will have their jobs and also the business will get the required manpower support. And once everything gets settle down, they can do their business as they used to.
The small business industry needs financial support as well which can be provided by GOI and state government. They need more money in flow to keep their business alive, to pay the EMIs, salaries, etc. The banks are providing moratorium, GOI has increased the credit limits for businesses but they need to reduce taxes to give more support to them, and its customer’s duty as well to increase their purchase from local businesses only because these businesses have fulfilled their needs when lockdown was there and they didn’t get their necessities from their favorite e-commerce channel.
BE SAFE, BE PROTECTIVE.