CHICAGO, April 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Local restaurants, beauty salons, cafes, fitness clubs—these are the staples of daily life—and support our economy. Small businesses are encountering the same conundrum: what they are able to do and what they want to do amidst the daily changing implications of COVID-19. While the scenario varies, owners need to be preparing themselves with knowledge and strategies to ensure the stability of their enterprise.
Dr. Ann Ownby Hicks, North Park University's Dean of School of Business and Nonprofit Management (SBNM) and Professor of Accounting, says small businesses can take immediate action to:
- Do Social Good Now
- Meet a Need
- Be Flexible
- Conserve Resources
"No doubt, small businesses are in a tight spot because they operate on a shoe-string budget with minimum flexibility to reduce costs," said Dr. Hicks. "There's a trade-off between conserving relationships with employees and vendors and conserving cash flow," added Dr. Hicks.
Seek inspiration from local businesses that have simultaneously pivoted from their mainstay business to providing social good, encourages Dr. Hicks. KOVAL, a local Chicago distillery, is now producing alcohol-based hand sanitizer in bulk and distributing to the medical community, retirement homes, and those on the front lines—leveraging its existing manufacturing capabilities and filling supply in a high demand space.
"This public health crisis is forcing us to dramatically shift our business, and our lives, in order to protect one another," said KOVAL co-founder and president, Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart.
"Small businesses should evaluate what they can do and what they want to," said Dr. Hicks. For KOVAL, social good is the driver. "We have seen our business shift completely which means everyone must do their part. It was not even a question for us - this is a necessity," said Dr. Birnecker Hart.
"Be open, transparent, and work together," said Dr. Hicks. When there's uncertainty, fairness needs to be the overriding consideration. "On the supply side, it's easy to gauge but owners and vendors need to recognize we're in this together," added Dr. Hicks.
While acknowledging the unknowns is important, small businesses should also keep in mind ways to meet a need and be flexible. Conserve resources in any way that make sense, advises Dr. Hicks.
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SOURCE North Park University