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Covid-19 has done a lot of damage to many businesses and continues to do so. Likely, the worst times are still ahead. Some very smart people are saying that this recession will be a lot worse than the one we had back in 2008, and the one we had in 2008 was already devastating for many people. I won’t get into different forecasts and scenarios, as I have no idea what will actually happen and how bad this recession will be. All I know that as a business we have to prepare for the worst and adapt to this new reality, and we have to be very fast in doing so. Below, I am going to highlight some of the things every business has to do to survive.

Adapt

There’s no other choice. It’s a lot simpler to adapt and change for small companies than it is for big companies. Most of our clients, Estonian e-residency companies, are small and agile, and they have to take advantage of being small.

While it’s difficult to advise tour operators and travel agencies on how they should pivot and to what, there are opportunities in almost all industries. Tour operators or travel agencies may think about how they could deliver experiences to people without people leaving their homes – there are virtual tours, platforms, which they can partner up with.

Not saying it’s a formula to save the business, but it’s a lot better to be active and try to find something that works than to just give up. Perhaps it’s a good time to start blogging with lengthy reviews about different locations people can visit after this coronavirus thing is over. Maybe there are board games related to travel that you could sell online.

It’s also a likely possibility that you won’t have a good way to make money in this concrete industry for now, and you have to do something else completely. That doesn’t stop you from building your online presence, invest time to work on your website SEO, content, and social media ( all of these can be done for free), and once economy restarts, you’ll have a good position to reap the profits of the work you’ve done.

We still have many brick-and-mortar stores that don’t have a functional e-shop. Even without the crisis, e-shops should be built a long time ago. Online businesses are the ones that are affected the least. The crisis may force offline businesses to come online, and save the business in the long run.

Eliminate waste

There’s no better time than a crisis to eliminate inefficiencies from your business. You can’t afford to have weak performers on your team. You can’t afford to have people with a poor attitude and work ethics. Business is not a family, it’s a team, and in a team, every member has to perform for the team to win.

It’s tough if you have to fire winners, good team members who have been by your side and proved to be valuable partners. But don’t mix good people with good performers. A poor performer can still be a good person, but if that person hasn’t proved that they can add value, that they’re vital to the business and are irreplaceable, they have to go. You have to make choices, and company survival depends on it.

Willingness to work on things below your qualification

Another thing that good team members are willing to do is to work on things under their usual pay grade. For example, doing customer support, work on less intellectually stimulating projects, and of course, getting paid less than the value of the work might be.

You also have to be ready to do free work. Free consultation calls to get people in, provide more free bonuses, i.e go the extra mile to close the deals and provide value to your clients to build a good foundation for the business to grow once we get to a better place economically.

Recession is a value game. How much value can you provide compared to other, sometimes incomparable services or products, that people need? People have less money and will choose carefully where to spend that limited resource. Win the value game, and you’ll survive.

Marketing

Content, social media, content, social media, rinse and repeat. You have to build your online presence, your digital assets. Paid traffic is expensive, and depending on the business, it may not be a sustainable way to attract clients. I am not saying you shouldn’t do paid traffic at all, because you should, but you have to maximize your exposure and reach through free channels. Your blog, submitting articles to publications, social media channels, etc.

Efficient company administration & taxation

Some jurisdictions have more bureaucracy and make it more difficult to start and run a business. Operational efficiency and cost-efficiency are crucial, and you don’t want to spend too much time doing administrative works.

Online businesses using e-residency can manage their company online, remotely, and cost-effectively. Estonia is part of the European Union, there’s very little bureaucracy and 0% tax on company profits. In times like these, the effective management of the company is vital.

Haven’t started a business yet?

Maybe it’s a good time to do so, as you might be put in a place where you have no other option. I am not saying it’s a great time to do business, because it’s almost always easier to do business when times are good. I am saying that you might have thought about starting a business for a long time, but now you’re forced to do so.

And if you’re not ready to start a business, start blogging. If you’re a construction worker, do videos and show people how to fix and do stuff at home. Start building your online presence and persona. It can only do you good.

If you’re looking to start a new business and would like to understand more about Estonian e-Residency, click here to read the most popular questions e-residents usually ask.