As America deals with various stages of economic hardship, social shutdown, and the beginning of the regular work week, there are many obstacles that businesses now face. While some of these obstacles will stem from the mass number of employees not being acclimated to a normal work routine, there are many other challenges to consider on the financial side. The business world has changed since the beginning of COVID-19, and a certain amount of adaptation needs to happen whether we like it or not. One of the apparent categories of issue that many businesses face, are the financial and fraudulent barriers that have been heightened or have arisen during this period.
1. Educate yourself on fraud vulnerabilities in your industry.
During the better part of this last year, new trends in fraud and online scams have threatened many industries. The surviving businesses in America have at the very least adapted to a new normal or in some cases are hanging by a thread, and any unneeded financial stress or hardship could be detrimental to a business. One factor becoming more evident and worth paying attention to is the number of employees reaching all-time financial lows. This may lead to a more prevalent number of actions taken out of desperation, such as employee theft or tampering with financial statements for personal gain. It is extremely important that during this period of adaptation and rebuilding, your business is well-equipped, well-aware, and able to fight off threats with a plan for future success and resilience.
2. Analyze business expenses to maximize cost savings.
If your business has resumed or will soon commence business in the new normal, it is important that you prepare and develop a crisis management plan for the possibility of another economic
shutdown. One of the most apparent reasons for the fluctuation in business success during this period has been a business’s ability to sustain itself for an extended period without a steady stream of revenue. Surviving month-to-month is the reality for the vast majority of the US population and the average small business. The resulting effect is businesses and families depleting their savings to pay bills, and in turn, resulting in a much slower return to economic normal than we have seen in prior financial crisis. Therefore, it is extremely important that during this period of adaptation, we analyze our expenses, cut costs where we are able, and create a plan for future success and resilience. We cannot control the virus, the government, or our economy as a whole, but we can most definitely control our spending.
3. Evaluate your process and adapt to the new normal
The financial and social impact of COVID-19 is something that we have never quite seen before, which has resulted in changes to life and business as normal. Business financial plans are being reevaluated, supply chains have been disrupted and transformed, and employee education has become even more critical. The newly added financial stress of the pandemic has not only created desperation in the lives of many individuals but has unfortunately caused businesses of all types to reevaluate their business models and in-turn the price of their product or service. While you analyze your business and make difficult decisions, it is important to understand that your vendors are doing the same. The products or services you have used for years, may no longer be the best options for your business moving forward. The vast majority of us put a certain price on loyalty, but at what point does loyalty cross with securing the “biggest bang for your buck”? There is no right answer, but a vendor that may have made sense for your business in the past may be exactly that, a thing of the past.
4. Learn from the past, plan for the future.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as, “…doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” As the vast majority of us have heard this quote many times in our lives, it deserves even more adequate attention. While the economic impact of COVID-19 clearly wasn’t the result of small business decisions, we should at least agree that we can all do better at something. Take this as encouragement to evaluate your goals, to develop a new business plan, to educate your employees, and to develop a full understanding of your expenses and the impact they have on your business. We need to address the impact of COVID-19 head on without any hesitation. Get back to the drawing board and fall in love with your NEW business all over again.