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Tips for Handling the Economic Hits from COVID-19

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April 2, 2020—There is not one person reading this who is not impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to close down businesses and create social distancing will change the economy for the foreseeable future. Small business owners are some of the most vulnerable to this. 

“Every business is going through this,” Dave Schedin, CEO of CompuTrek Automotive Solutions, a coaching company for the automotive industry specializing in cash flow, says. 

Although it may seem bleak at the moment, auto repair shops and auto maintenance may actually have an advantage. While many small businesses had to or continue to be shut down, auto repair shops and quick lubes have been deemed “essential businesses” by a number of states, allowing them to stay open. 

In order to come out of this in the best way possible—and learn a valuable lesson for the future—Schedin shares his tips on how you should go about handling your relationships with your staff, customers and vendors. 

 

How should you approach difficult conversations with your employees when they’re unsure about their—and the company’s—future?

No. 1, shop owners need to make sure their team feels safe. Not just from the coronavirus—safe in the longevity of their job. Speak hope into people. Leaders need to create a clear plan of what he or she is doing to handle the current situation and communicate what they’ve done in precaution already. Daily meetings are a great idea. Even more than one per day. Don’t let unspoken thoughts not be spoken. Check-in with your employees and let them know what’s going on. It’s important to let them know the financial stability of the company. If you don’t have cash reserves, it can be a challenge.

 

What should you do if you’re not financially stable?

You can still build hope—but you need help from everyone. Communicate the importance of banding together. Let your employees know that everyone is impacted by this, so if they’re thinking of going somewhere else, chances are that other places are not hiring. As a leader, you need to put a plan in place and the truth is, it’s going to be difficult. Many shops will have to cut wages—maybe 25–50 percent in some cases. Rotational schedules and reduced salaries and wages will help, in some cases, keep the doors of a shop open, so communicate that to your employees. We need to make sure everyone’s core livelihood is protected, even if that means dropping employees down to part time. Owners can’t be afraid to spell the truth out. If we band together, we have a better chance of surviving and coming out the other side. 

To learn more about how small businesses might be able to take advantage of recent stimulus legislation, check out this story and attached resources.

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