How to Keep Your Business on Top During Lockdown

Every screenprint business owner knows that the success of the organization depends on employees and customers to keep it functioning well. Don’t let the pandemic lockdown control your future.


by Bill Hood, ASDPT

19 Mar 2020 – Governments around the world have issued a Stay-At-Home policy. As a senior, I imposed a self-quarantine and have not left my house here in Mexico since February 20. It wasn’t until 28 February, that Mexico confirmed its first three cases. While the lockdown will likely roll out slowly, it appears that the lockdown will likely affect the entire world. The question of how this will affect business operations is still unknown. It is likely that many screenprinting businesses will be classified as essential and be allowed to continue operations, but that could change rapidly.

The question that business owners should be asking is, “How will we remain sustainable during the pandemic?”

Hopefully, you planned for this in advance and have enough capital to last for at least six months and up to one year. See the article “Emergency Funding.” If not, you may find yourself in a tough situation, but there are some things you can do to help weather the pandemic.

If you do have an emergency fund, you will be in a better position. But that depends on how long the Stay-At-Home order lasts and how much funding you have set aside.

Contingency Plan in Place

Every business should have a contingency plan in place should the business be shut down and unable to function properly. The plan should cover any emergency, from a power outage to natural disasters like flooding.

Call a meeting with your management staff to discuss ideas about how best to get through the pandemic. Listen to your staff, as they will help you come up with ideas that you might not have considered. And, remember that there may be multiple suggestions that can be implemented to keep the business functioning. Having been through many crises over my decades in business, I have used several ideas that came from my staff members that were actually better than the ideas that I came up with.

Keeping Employees

While the future of the business is obviously number one on a business owner’s mind, aside from his family and lifestyle, number two should be the employees. Without employees, the business cannot operate. If you lay off employees during the pandemic, there is no guarantee that they will return. Without a paycheck, they will have a hard time covering their expenses and may have to borrow money for rent or mortgages, car payment, utilities, and more. If they do return, they are going to be saddled with debt and will require an increase in salary to continue working. If you cannot meet their expectations, they will go elsewhere.

You will not want to start up after the pandemic passes with new staff members that will require training.

That is why it is important to keep paying the employees during the Stay-At-Home order. They are your livelihood and need your support during the crises. This is your opportunity to step up and be the leader that they will look up to.

Work From Home

Every business has customers and this is the time to reach out to all of them. This includes anyone who has placed an order with your business in the last few years. As there is an average of 261 workdays in a year, a shop that prints just 4 jobs a day, will have printed 1,044 jobs per year. In just a few years the shop will have printed thousands of jobs and have a long list of customer emails and phone numbers.

Have your employees work from home contacting these customers to ask about their health and wellness. Ask if there is anything you can do as a company for them. If you have 10 employees and divide a list of 5,000 customers among them, each employee will have a list of 500 customers to contact. Over a 5-hour day, they might be able to have four 15-minute calls per hour or 20 calls a day. It would take 5 weeks for each employee to get through their list of 500 customers.

See Related Article: Adding Value

No Contingency Plan

Make no mistake about it, without a contingency plan, the small shops with no emergency fund to draw from may be forced to shut down. They may not be able to continue to pay the overhead, however much it is reduced, with no income. This will create a huge burden on the employees, who must then look for work elsewhere.

If you are a smaller shop without emergency funding and want to save your business, you are going to have to take extreme measures. This will likely include borrowing money to meet your overhead. Don’t waste any time! Get your profit and loss statements together and immediately go to your banker. The banks are going to be inundated with loan requests and you want to be the first in line. The available money will dry up quickly so act now!

How Much Funding is Needed?

No one can state with any certainty how long the pandemic will last. You should be prepared for at least two months and possibly up to six months. Remember that when the Stay-At-Home order is rescinded, it will take some time to get the shop back to 100% capacity. Depending on your area, that could take up to six months. I will go out on a limb and say if your overhead is $10,000 a month, you will need a $40,000 loan at the minimum. That will cover 100% of the first two months, and then a decreasing amount for each of the following four months.

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
10,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000

Remember this is just an estimate and you should borrow more than you need. Also, remember the old adage, “It is better to have it and not need it – than to need it and not have it!”

Don’t be complacent about having the loan. It will require paying it back and you and your staff are going to have work harder than before to make ends meet during the next several months.

See Related Article: Emergency Funding

Education

I felt an obligation to help in some way during the pandemic and as a way of giving back to the industries that have supported me all these years.

Now is the perfect time to spend your time on self-improvement. You should be working on your screenprinting process skills. To that end, I am offering all books, articles and all else on the Screenprint Books website for just $1 each during the Stay-At-Home 0rder. That is a 97% discount on many of the items. In fact, there is an option to make a single purchase and download that includes everything – a $3000 value – for just $50.

Likewise, I have reduced the subscription to Solutions Journal Magazine to just $1.



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