DJ Johnson of New Orleans, Louisiana invested much of his savings to open NOLA Art Bar, a craft cocktail lounge with live music and an art gallery that showcases the work of local artists. The place would typically be buzzing with activity on most days before the COVID-19 pandemic, but in mid-March of 2020, NOLA Art Bar was ordered to close, along with all other bars in the city. DJ eventually began selling New Orleans staples like boiled shrimp and oysters for takeout just so NOLA Art Bar could stay open, but he wasn’t making enough money to cover costs.
In London, Jane Howe owns an independent bookstore called Broadway Bookshop, popular among locals for its personalized service and impressive collection of poetry, philosophy, travel, art, fashion, music, and children’s books. In mid-June, Jane began selling books online for the first time. However, the book-lover says it isn’t quite the same. Aside from not being able to provide the personalized service Broadway Bookshop’s physical store is known for, the website only made 28 percent of what the physical store did before the pandemic.
Similar scenes are playing out around the world. From New Orleans to London to Tokyo, small businesses are fighting for their survival amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the future seems bleak, there is hope for business owners who do manage to get through this global health crisis relatively unscathed.
Better access to the best talent
With many highly-skilled and hardworking people currently out of work, businesses now have access to a larger pool of amazing talent. What’s more, business owners can also hire new people at a much lower cost as wages tend to go down when there are more unemployed people than there are job openings.
Don’t be constrained by geography
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to more companies allowing their employees to work remotely, and this practice is likely to continue for some time. Companies capable of operating with remote positions are no longer limited to choosing from applicants within a commuting radius – they can now hire the best talent, regardless of their location.
Businesses that wholeheartedly embrace e-commerce and other innovations like digital payment options have better chances of success. Even if stores do reopen after easing lockdown restrictions, it will likely take a while before consumers feel safe enough to set foot in a brick-and-mortar store for non-essential browsing again.
Many small businesses, especially those that rely on in-person customers, may struggle to survive this pandemic. For business owners who are resilient enough to ride out this crisis, having less competition means that now is the perfect opportunity to make some changes in order to take your business to new heights in a post-pandemic world.