Keeping our small business afloat during Covid

Although many small businesses can thrive during these times, most are simply surviving this Covid pandemic.

I spend less time processing orders … and more time applying for grants. And while I definitely have more time to complete those “hard days” jobs … it seems my ambition to do them faded along with the ability to shake hands.

Like everything else, the year 2020 did not adhere to our typical sales cycle with seasonal highs and lows and anticipated holidays. Fifteen years of sales reports could not help us decipher what was happening or prepare us for what was about to happen.

At first we were hopeful because we didn’t see anything unusual. In fact, we may have seen a slight increase in striped ribbon sales … probably due to people being home and bored.

But unfortunately, where sales would have continued through the summer, they slowed … a lot … probably because so many people were out of work and had less discretionary income.

As fall approached, we were happy to see a slight uptick in custom rear window decals and truck wrap orders … likely due to the removal of certain restrictions and companies needing a cost effective way advertising.

Again, hoping the holidays were coming, we quickly received a reality check, as sales were about half of our normal Christmas sales … probably due to parents giving up gifts in order to pay them for your children.

We have experienced ups and downs. Unfortunately, we are familiar with them. In 2012, when we were located on the south shore of Long Island, New York, we experienced Superstorm Sandy firsthand. Our business came face to face with 5 feet of water … and was lost. We lost tragically. From $ 25k + in equipment, to $ 10k + in inventory, Sandy showed no mercy.

But in the end we triumph. We built backups, bought new equipment, outsourced our sales until we were back in business (literally).

And that’s our post-Covid plan. To rebuild our sales, find new clients and establish new relationships. Lawn signs are going up along the roads and if we’re honest, fingers are crossed.

If your business has been affected by Covid, we understand. All the grants in the world cannot squash the mental anguish this pandemic has caused … the emotional uncertainty … and the incredible sadness of lives lost.

But I can’t help but remember some of these same feelings after Hurricane Sandy … and yet here we are. Take comfort in that while I try to do the same.

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