COVID-19 Blog 5: Ingenious Ways to Upkeep and Elevate Your Business During the Pandemic

Minority-owned small businesses are being particularly hard hit by the COVID-19

From time to time, I post guest-written blogs, and my 5th Covid-19 pandemic blog is provided by previous 3-time blog contributor Marissa Perez. Marissa Perez, co-founder and head marketing writer at Business Pop, has spent the last 10 years honing her marketing skills, and now is sharing her small business / entrepreneurial expertise through this third guest blog she is providing.

This blog is quite relevant to my consulting area of diversity in that (1) Covid-19 is disproportionately hitting minority communities health wise and (2) small businesses impacted by the accompanying economic crisis are disproportionately owned by minorities or have minority employees. This “double impact” is truly having the most adverse effect on minority-owned businesses.

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If you’ve recently started a new business, you’ve probably noticed that life looks and feels different since the March declaration of the coronavirus pandemic. But just because things have changed does not mean that you should give up on your dreams. Keep reading for a few ideas to help you build and grow your livelihood while the world adjusts to a new normal.

Adapt Your Business Plan

You have a plan, and your plan was to stick with it. Unfortunately, the global situation changes from day to day, and it’s almost impossible to predict how this will affect your business. You need a contingency. Think ahead to many different scenarios to predict how they might influence the way you operate. ZenBusiness has a list of resources to help you do just that and also provides info on how to run things virtually and manage income streams and expenses.

Give Yourself Extra Space

While you may already have a room in your home that works as an office, as you continue to grow, it might make more sense to add an extra building to your property. A separate building will not only house your home-based business, but it will also help you keep it separate from your personal life. If you’re on a tight budget, a prefabricated metal building is a smart choice and one that will allow you to expedite construction so that you will experience few, if any, interruptions. Ask your building supplier about different layout options and pay close attention to style and design so that you don’t clash with the appearance of your neighborhood.

Dip Into Dropshipping

Dropshipping has been called, “one of the easiest ways to make money online in 2020.” But it is much more than that. A dropshipping business model can help you grow a current business. There are many benefits, but pertinent to today is that dropshipping eliminates the middleman. In other words, it reduces the number of hands that physically touch your customers’ orders. This can help lessen the chances of contamination, which, fortunately, according to Hackensack Meridian Health, are already low. It is possible, as the virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours.

Hire Remotely

Remote work used to be a novelty. That’s not the case today, and work-at-home opportunities have been popping up out of both necessity and convenience in light of the coronavirus pandemic. As a business owner, taking your company to a virtual workspace means that you have an unlimited pool of talent. But, you have to make sure that your communication is on point. Unitonomy stresses the importance of effective collaboration (using tools like Slack) and notes that to be successful, the people in your business have to feel connected to one another. Give each team access to shared information that’s specific to each project. You can also keep your teams on the same page by providing regular updates via a newsletter or recurrent blog.

There is little doubt that the coronavirus will continue to have a negative effect on small businesses across America. If you want to get ahead and continue to enjoy success, you have to get creative. This might mean looking for new revenue streams or adding extra space where you can run your business effectively and without distraction. One positive aspect of the pandemic is that remote work has become more available, and you should have no problem finding people who are ready, willing, and more than able to help you grow.

COVID 19 Blog 2 – This is How to House Your Home-Based Business (with the Perfect Office Space)

Photo via Pixabay

From time to time, I post guest-written blogs that are pertinent to my consulting areas of diversity and career development. Now that I am creating a series that is connected with living in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, this guest blog provided by Marissa Perez is very relevant since many more of us are now working from home.  In fact, a recent news article further asserts that in the post virus world, we will likely see more people working at home permanently.

Marissa Perez, co-founder and head marketing writer at Business Pop, has spent the last 10 years honing her marketing skills, and now is sharing her small business / entrepreneurial expertise through this third guest blog she has provided.

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Working and living in the same space can be very complicated. A dedicated workspace is vital for business success, but making room for your wares often presents unique challenges. From stocking products to making room for your computer to handling packing and shipping, here’s how to best house your home-based business.

1) Evaluate Existing Office Space (or Potential)

You may already have an unused space in your home that would be perfect for a home-based business. However, if you’re stocking products as you begin a Fulfillment by Amazon business, for example, it could take some innovation to make things work. You’ll need both a place to work at your desk and an area for managing stock, so it’s time to get creative.

Go Up and Over to Make Things Fit: Even for smaller products, you need adequate space for storage. One way to remedy limited square footage is by building up and over. Consider installing shelving units, wall hooks, and other vertical storage to make the most of a narrow floor plan.

Other space-saving options include fold-down workstations, loft desks that can hold the product above and your computer below, or even a full-blown loft space. Make sure your storage area is convenient to access so you can rotate inventory and process orders.

Build Out to Make Room: Another option is to build an addition to fit your office. Whether it’s adding to — or converting — a garage or installing a modular space, you’ll need to check your city’s local building code for guidelines. Each project will require permission from your local municipality.

Building onto your house can also get expensive. According to HomeGuide, the national average cost of building a home addition is $48,000.  However, you could also consider a “bump-out” or smaller addition to an existing room to increase your square footage for a lower cost. Per the Spruce, an addition can cost as little as $17,000 for 20 square feet of space.

Consider Moving Your Home and Business

If your existing home is too cramped for work, you might think about moving. But buying a new home to make room for your business involves some important steps.

Follow Steps for a Smart Home Search: When you decide to buy a home, you’ll need to establish a realistic budget and get pre-approval from your lender. Pre-approval means you’re ready to submit paperwork to make an offer once you find the perfect property. But you also need a reliable real estate agent to show you homes in your desired neighborhood or city.

Investing in a home office may make tax deductions available.

Take Note of Potential Tax Breaks: Whether you’re buying property or staying put, note that when you have a home business, you may qualify for a handful of valuable tax breaks. Tax deductions are available for home offices, home-based business expenses, and even travel expenses, according to Bench.

Potential tax breaks might not influence your buying decision overall. But it’s worth noting that your home office must be a separate space that’s used exclusively for your work—so installing your desk in the corner of the living room won’t qualify you for deductions.

Decorate for Maximum Productivity

Whatever type of home-based business you run, your office space should be inviting and functional. Staying organized is key for getting work done, so clear out cluttered drawers, toss trash, and scan must-keep documents to help boost productivity.

Of course, you shouldn’t discount the impact of your surroundings when it comes to how energized or focused you feel. Lighting and furniture can make a difference whether you’re working five hours or 50, so choose pieces that are bright and ergonomic, respectively.

Whether you and your home business stay put or move shop, designing an organized and productive home office is crucial for your success. Fortunately, thoughtful planning (and purchasing) can make all the difference.