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A Small Business Survival Plan for Dealing With the Coronavirus

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Although entrepreneurs have already been experiencing these challenges for months now, there has been little conversation about possible solutions. Here, we will tackle some of the most common issues faced by entrepreneurs and points of action that could help your business stay afloat through these trying times.

Managing Your Cash Flow

A primary concern of small business owners is how they will manage their operations costs, considering the drop in revenue. The unpredictability on when the crisis will end adds to the difficulty of planning your cash flow. Here are some actions to consider for you to be on top of your finances:

  • List your fixed costs and variable costs. From there, you will be able to determine which ones are the highest priority that you will need to settle to keep the business operational. If possible, indicate the due dates so that you can schedule your expenses appropriately.
  • Cut down on unnecessary expenses for items that are not profitable 
  • Consider serving furloughs to your employees, especially if you won’t be requiring them to go to the office or can reduce their work schedule. If this won’t suffice, the worst-case scenario is to do layoffs or terminations.
  • Come up with new products or services that could drive revenue
  • Explore business loans and other resources

Transitioning to Online Sales and Marketing

Keeping your customers is key to be able to successfully endure the crisis. A lot of small businesses have now learned to maximize social media platforms to communicate and engage with their loyal customers.

This is a great way of maintaining relationships with the people who patronize your brand. You can also start doing e-mail newsletters if you haven’t yet. It will keep them informed of your latest products, services, and important announcements. 

Online platforms can also help you expand your reach to new markets. Get creative and explore new ways of communicating and selling! By being active online, more people will become aware that your business is highly accessible and may consider trying out your products or services if they haven’t yet.

Lastly, you may want to consider arranging product deliveries or curb pick-ups. This could answer to concerns on physical distancing. Both your employees and customers would appreciate the efforts you put in place to keep them safe.

Business Operations from Home

Currently, almost all small businesses require their employees to work from home for the first time. This could mean that you won’t be able to monitor your team as closely as you used to.

The first step is to establish guidelines for everyone in terms of productivity, work schedule, and the technology they need to function. You may need to come up with new templates to keep track of their output or utilize office apps that will help you manage better. 

There may be tasks that they need to do physically, on-site, or in the office. It is best to determine which ones can be accomplished remotely and which ones cannot. This will allow you to take into consideration who among your employees will be able to be on-location should the need arise.

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How the Pandemic Is Killing Small Businesses with False Hopes of Reopening

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With the ongoing pandemic, many businesses—both big and small—are severely affected by declining demand from consumers. With everyone currently living amidst the virus, small businesses are slowly reopening. Here is why some small businesses do not thrive in this type of market.

It can be expected that an economic downturn will happen with the ongoing pandemic. The question is, until how long? With the threat of the virus still looming above everyone’s head, small businesses are forced to reopen because of near-empty financial gains. With the current market, however, financial games are more difficult to attain more than ever. First, people are more cautious than ever to leave their residences because of health and safety concerns. Even if small business establishments have reassured people that they have enough social distancing protocols, people are hesitant because of the virus’s ongoing threat. Second, because businesses and companies are starting to shut down because of low financial gains, many people are unemployed. They prefer to invest their money in purchasing essentials instead of wasting it on entertainment and other non-essential items.

Let us look at some small businesses and how the pandemic has slowly killed their economy.

How Small Businesses Are Losing the Financial Battle with the Pandemic

Small Businesses Losing Steam

One of the main attractions of Chicago is Navy Pier. It is a perfect way for people to relax and unwind with its many attractions that boast of various food establishments, entertainment areas, shopping districts, and rides! The Pier closed during the March quarantine lockdown and reopened in June 2020. However, even with many safety and social distancing protocols, the Pier only garnered 15% attendance compared to the previous year. Because of low profit, it shut down again during Labor Day and plans to reopen in 2021 when things are (hopefully) in a more stable condition. 

One of the reasons why the reopening businesses cannot save the economy is that even if these amenities are open, the demand for them to stay open clearly isn’t there with most people wanting to stay indoors or that they cannot simply afford these types of luxuries.

Small Businesses Flourishing

AltCap is a financing and loaning agency that has supported numerous businesses amidst the pandemic. According to AltCap CEO Ruben Alonso III, the pandemic’s effects have affected businesses across the board – with other small businesses permanently shutting down while others are flourishing. For example, a cotton candy business that was thriving well before the pandemic. When the pandemic hit, and the cotton candy business was affected, it evolved into something new! The dessert business was converted into a dessert tricycle that popped at local restaurants and coffee shops, serving sweet treats. With this fast and innovative way to still sell sweet treats, the business flourished and had enough money to set up a storefront space. 

It pretty much boils down to small businesses adaptability, innovation, and flexibility to transform according to the consumers’ needs and demands.

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Apartment Rates Are Plunging Quickly in World’s Richest Cities—Time to Negotiate!

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If you live in an upstate part of a rich city such as Sydney, New York, Vancouver, and Tokyo, it is time for you to sit down with your landlord and negotiate the rate for your apartment. Read on why you need to do this NOW with the current market.

With the ongoing pandemic, bed and breakfast, Airbnb’s, and transient houses have minimal to no revenue as travel opportunities ceased with government travel regulation and social distancing protocols. With all this happening, the market for apartment rates is spiraling downwards. Aside from this, the main demand for upscale apartments is international students who are now stuck at home due to the quarantine. Hence the demand for chic apartments in rich cities is much lower as compared to previous years. Also, millennial renters who are also stuck at home no longer have the motivation to pay additional for cool spaces when the city’s usual hustles and bustles, which ordinarily attracted them in the first place, is non-existent because of the pandemic. 

If you live in an upscale apartment in some of the world’s richest cities such as Sydney, New York, and San Francisco, it is time to act now and initiate a conversation with your landlord about rent rates, especially with the ongoing pandemic.

Apartment Market Trends in World’s Richest Cities

Sydney, Australia

One of the renters who took advantage of the current market value and trend of plunging apartment rates is Christine Chung from Sydney, Australia. She negotiated a 9% drop in her current space at the classy Enmore (10km away from the city) that she shares with three other tenants in Sydney, one of the world’s most expensive cities. She recounts that the process is not easy – she had to track down and wear down the landlord for five weeks of avoided phone calls until the landlord agreed to reduce the rent from AUD895 to AUD810 every week. 

Manhattan, New York

Manhattan is considered one of the prime destinations for apartment real estate. However, with the ongoing pandemic, Manhattan apartments had sunk to the rate back in 2013! Listings for available Manhattan apartments and studios have tripled during the pandemic with a lack of tenants or renters due to closed entertainment establishments. Another lure of tourists and tenants to be in Manhattan is its rich Broadway culture. However, with Broadway cinemas closed until May of 2021, the market to support this culture is also surging fast.

San Francisco, California

In the past, San Francisco was considered as one of the bustling metropolitan areas for millennials who want a taste of San Francisco energy. San Francisco faced a housing issue not too long ago, where Silicon Valley workers had to rent RVs to work in the city! With companies encouraging employees to work from home next year (and maybe permanently), rent prices are splurging downwards. The median rent for San Francisco had a 31% decline, as compared to a .5% decline across the US.

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How Traders are Capitalizing on Virtual Reality Goggles

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Bank trading is getting a tech twist. UBS is giving its London traders an opportunity to test out trading rooms by employing VR goggles from Microsoft.

Since the pandemic started, it goes without saying that corporations were not prepared, which in turn reduced the number of people reporting for work, and coming to banks. While the lockdowns have been lifted and some businesses are slowly opening, the risk of the COVID-19 cases spiking is not a threat to be taken likely, which is why banks like UBS have been looking into other ways to simulate a regular day in the bank.

Beatriz Martin, the chief executive of the UBS UK branch was the first to consider this idea and has suggested starting working groups to work on reimagining the trading floor and also set up screens on the trader’s desks alongside their coworkers to encourage collaboration. 

Some banks such as JPMorgan have attempted to bring their workers back to the office but have had to send some workers home after one of them tested positive for the coronavirus disease. 

Meanwhile, other banks such as Deutsche Bank have made returning to the office as voluntary to avoid the risk of spreading the virus around and that most workers can return to the office in the middle of 2021 when the virus has been contained. 

BlackRock’s chief executive Larry Fink does not expect 100% of the workers to return to the office with the current situation, which is why virtual reality tools would be helpful to aid productivity from the safety of their homes. 

How VR changes the system:

With COVID-19 as a threat, it’s only natural that people are warier about coming back to work in an office, which is why it’s convenient to incorporate virtual reality so that you can simulate a normal workday without risking your health, and the health of others. 

The good thing is that there are multiple companies that specialize in virtual reality, which means you have options to choose from, which works for you. Microsoft launched HoloLens in 2015, and while it was initially perceived to be a gaming device, with their headphones at a price of $3000 upwards, it has since been considered by companies to be a tool for communication.

The first bank to consider using HoloLens for their trading business was Citigroup, in 2016, they developed the Citi system which combined financial data with 3D holograms. While they were looking into making the graphics in a way where clients could interact with the data, Citigroup decided against using the headphones because they felt it was too limited in terms of battery life, display size, and processing function.

Banks are an essential business, and staying afloat is one of the most important things they should focus on when it comes to the pandemic, which is why implementing virtual reality is a good move to replicate trading rooms for bank traders and their current investor clients. 

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