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Will Businesses Ever Financially Recover From The Pandemic?

By Matt Casadona

COVID-19 hit businesses hard, many employees and industries took a big hit. The pandemic has come with new challenges for businesses as they attempt to recover now that restrictions have been lifted around the United States. Many businesses face less demand than before the pandemic, new customer expectations, and challenges in operations because of new restrictions.

Businesses can’t recover from the pandemic overnight, no matter how much capital they have. It could take business years to fully recover, and many small businesses will never open their doors again. This article will discuss the challenges and opportunities for businesses to recover from the pandemic.

Challenges for Businesses

While restrictions have been lifted, many businesses are still suffering from the impact of the pandemic and will need to make extreme changes to recover and survive.

Low Financial Resilience

Most small businesses didn’t save enough before the pandemic hit; now, their margins are slim. Small businesses operating at a loss or breaking even before the pandemic are not in debt or closed for good. Businesses have many monthly costs, including office space, that went unused during the pandemic. However, they had no way to negotiate leases even though their employees could no longer work from the office.

If a small business had slim margins before the pandemic, it has only worsened for them. Businesses that broke even are now in serious debt or unable to hire employees due to their lack of capital, making getting back on track even more difficult.

Inflation

Unfortunately for some businesses, raising prices isn’t an option at all. After all, depending on the community where you sell your goods and services, your customers won’t be able to afford them anyway.

Businesses reopening now face inflation, which means increasing prices on products and services for their customers. In 2021, wholesale prices jumped up to 10%, which means many retailers and service providers were forced to decide whether to reduce their profit margins or ask that their customers, who already couldn’t afford goods or services, pay higher prices. Neither option is a good choice for businesses. On the one hand, you never want to reduce your profit margins because you’ll make less money; on the other hand, you don’t want to ask your customers to pay more and risk losing them for good.

Businesses were forced to raise their prices over the last year, with some taking out loans and decreasing the number of staff members to manage higher costs due to inflation.

Supply Chain Problems

Small businesses are still facing supply chain disruptions that started at the beginning of the pandemic and haven’t been solved. As a result, businesses negatively impacted by supply chain disruptions have seen a decrease in revenue. Not only that, but suppliers may pay more attention to large businesses over small businesses to improve their bottom lines while they’re also trying to recover from the pandemic. After all, larger businesses have a larger number of orders, which a supplier will depend on to help their business recover.

Staffing Issues

During the pandemic, many employees were laid off because businesses closed down. Those employees were desperate and may have sought opportunities elsewhere, even amid the pandemic. Those who could not find other jobs immediately could have found jobs and decided not to return to their former employers.

Businesses in most industries find it difficult to recruit qualified candidates for open positions, making their businesses efficient and less productive. However, small businesses that can’t compete with large companies for top talent regarding benefits and wages are getting crafty and finding ways to attract and retain employees, such as offering unique employee benefits and ensuring protections by instituting vaccination mandates.

Businesses that cannot increase wages will have to be creative when looking for ways to attract talent. Instead, they should be resourceful and look for other things an employee might want, such as assurance they will be safe at work.

Opportunities for Businesses

Despite all of the challenges, many businesses are still optimistic about recovering from the pandemic. Here are a few opportunities they have realized.

Planning Ahead

Most businesses don’t want to break even; business owners want to make enough money to support themselves and give their employees respectable wages. Before the pandemic, many businesses didn’t have the foresight to plan and ensure they and their employees would still be covered if any disaster happened. Even if a business had to completely shut down during the pandemic, having a financial cushion would have made recovery easier. Businesses would have been able to pay their rents so they could reopen faster and with less strain once the restrictions had lifted.

Better Understanding of Employees

Let’s face it; many businesses don’t have a good relationship with their employees and treat them as hands that are there to get things done. However, all businesses must care about the health and safety of their employees, especially in the post-pandemic world. Understanding what employees need from them can help employers attract and retain top talent, even if they aren’t offering the highest salaries.

Improved Work/Life Balance

One of the main struggles for businesses throughout the pandemic has been staffing. Keeping employees requires not only for your business to be operating, but they need to be in an environment where they thrive. With many office workers taking their computers and paperwork home, employers have realized the benefits of working at home.

Many workplaces have even gone fully remote, and all of their employees work from home. While working from home is not a new concept, many employers were hesitant, but once they realized they could trust their employees, it became a way to save money and have a more productive business.

Recovery for Businesses

The truth is some businesses will never recover from the pandemic. Other types of businesses thrived during the pandemic, while most had trouble paying their bills and retaining employees. There is no one way to help a business recover from a pandemic; it depends on the type of business and what the owners are willing to do to keep the business’ doors open and employees and customers happy.

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