Brock Flagstad Explains What Small Businesses Can do to Manage Revenues During COVID-19

Coronavirus, the dreaded word of 2020. From January until early March, it was business as usual as customers freely walked around their city’s shopping districts and made a point to support small, local businesses. By mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world and forced all non-essential businesses to temporarily close their brick-and-mortar shops and move to purely online sales. The loss of offline sales has posed a significant challenge to many businesses, particularly those that are independent.

So, what can small businesses do to navigate this challenge? According to Brock Flagstad, a Chicago-based business professional and majority partner of a company that supports small businesses, there are a few short-term revenue strategies that small businesses can do to effectively navigate COVID-19 and remain financially healthy by the end of it.

Promote Gift Cards

While some people might enjoy the ease and accessibility of online shopping, others are deterred the moment they see the shipping cost. They might also lose interest the moment they see the shipping time, which can range from a few days to several weeks in some cases. Currently, in this age of COVID-19, shipping delays are more common as businesses are experiencing an influx in online sales and postal companies are trying to keep up with the demand.

So instead of relying on online sales, Brock Flagstad recommends that small businesses promote the purchase of gift cards. Along with providing the business with immediate revenue, it will ensure that the customer returns in the future.

Businesses can promote the gift cards by adding a discount to them or creating a collaborative gift card program with other small businesses. As well, to further reduce human contact during COVID-19 and to eliminate shipping costs, businesses can create a digital gift card program to include in social media and email marketing campaigns.

Discount Old Stock

As non-essential businesses will likely see a decline in demand, they can be vulnerable to oversupply. To counteract this, Brock Flagstad advises these business owners to create an inventory of any ‘deadstock’ (older, low-value items) and to consider discounting/bundling these items for consumers or even selling them to liquidation retailers. It will provide much-needed cash flow and leave-room for stick that moves.

Cut Shipping Costs

As shopping costs can eat away at your margins, Brock Flagstad advises businesses to do one or more of the following:

1. Manually fulfill orders

2. Skip fancy packaging: you can get free packaging from major couriers in the United States — USPS, DHL Express, and UPS.

3. Use Shopify Shopping: you can print your own labels and schedule pickups with UPS, DHL Express or USPS.

4. Set up local shipping: if customers are close to your business, offer a ‘local delivery option’ in the checkout.

Final Thoughts from Brock Flagstad

COVID-19 has undeniably caused financial uncertainty for both individuals and businesses alike. With states slowly beginning to emerge from lockdown and stay-at-home orders, says Brock Flagstad, hopefully we will be on the other side of this crisis sooner rather than later. Until then, small businesses should do what they can to ensure their doors can reopen once it is safe to do so.

Entrepreneur located in Chicago, IL. Alumnus of Miami University — majored in finance and minored in international marketing.