Business Owners to Business Owners: COVID-19 Ideas & Advice from Fivestars Local Businesses

At Fivestars, our company’s mission is to help local businesses and communities thrive. It’s those same businesses and communities that are now struggling with the economic downturn the Coronavirus has created. 

To better understand COVID-19’s impact, we surveyed the 15,000 small business owners within our Fivestars network. As you might guess, our surveys and internal network data confirmed everything you’ve been hearing and seeing on the news: local businesses are getting crushed

But there’s still an amazing amount of hope out there. Small business owners are resilient, creative, and courageous – and this was seen within our survey results as well! Below, you’ll find some of their advice, small business owners to small business owners, to help you brainstorm ways to make it through this crisis. 

Adapt Your Business to Fit the Coronavirus Era

“Keep your chin up! You’re smarter, more creative and more tenacious than you know. Try everything you can. Keep the faith. Plan your work and work your plan. Ask for help. Call your landlord, utilities, vendors, anyone you owe money to every month and ask them what they can do to help you. An unasked question never gets an answer. Conserve cash and keep finding a way. You’re not alone – ever!”

Communicate with customers, employees, vendors, and service providers. Go out of your shell and not into it!”

“Adapt to change. Listen to local officials on restrictions and make sure customers are aware of changes. Ensure customers that their and your health are a priority. Take all necessary measures to ensure your business can stay open as long as possible.”

“Think outside the box, offer free shipping and curbside pick up. Even if you’re closed, offer pick up times.”

“Ask for extended dating and a discount on goods that you have received during this time. Get creative and look at new ways to conduct business.”

“Create another revenue stream.”

“Talk about the issues. Do not hide from problems or act like they don’t exist. Owners sometimes feel that they are in it alone but they need to realize the employees are part of a team and it takes everyone working together to be successful. Of course, tough decisions must be made in tough times but taking an honest approach with employees and customers is always the best approach.”

“Use this time to plan marketing and developing an online business.”

“Stay healthy! Offer free delivery within a comfort zone. Assist customers on the phone or online making selections of products for the entire family.”

Get Control of Your Finances

“Take any bills that are on auto-pay off auto-pay so you have strict control over cash flow.”

“Get ‘lean’ with all areas of operations. Only stay open during your peak hours.”

“Utilize the services you can still offer and use the increase in activity on social media to continue pushing as much business as possible to increase cash flow. Take donations, accept the support and put your pride aside for the sake of your business.”

“Inventory needs to be at its minimum – don’t overbuy – it’s better to have fewer items than have too much product that goes bad. Also, push your top 3 items, make those part of your specials.”

“Cut back all that you can. Do online classes or curbside pickup if that’s an option.”

“Try to get your bills and rent waived for a couple of months.”

Do What You Can to Help Your Employees Through

“Talk with your staff. Help them as much as possible, even if you can’t pay time off, letting them know you care and even helping them cover food and other needs. Listen to them, they have ideas and some are invaluable.”

“Hold on to your cash as much as you can, outside of taking care of your employees.”

“Due to most states lifting unemployment restrictions, if you don’t have the money, lay them off sooner and help them get their benefits.”

Post More Frequently on Social Media

“Stay current on social media and marketing, no matter how low sales are. Stay relevant!”

“Be very vocal that you are still open (and how you are able to be open) and ready to provide services and how you are working to keep employees and customers safe.”

“On social media, with the current situation, the public tells you what it wants. Help kids, help healthcare workers. Keep it clean and accommodate all of the needs we need to provide, like no contact and reassure your customers that you are doing all you can to keep them safe.”

You’ve got this!

“Be prudent, follow health authority guidelines, keep going!”

“It’s SO important to practice self-care as a business owner during this time. That means your mental, physical, and financial health needs to be a priority. You can’t take care of your employees or customers if you aren’t taking care of yourself. That’s why they tell you on airplanes to put your oxygen mask on first before helping your kid put on theirs – you can’t help anyone if you’re down for the count.”

“Stay positive, work to your strengths. Be proactive.”

“Be strong, communicate with your team, seek financial aid, and pray to god.”


“Go until they drag you out kicking and screaming! This is your family’s livelihood.”

“One day at a time, get ready, this is not over yet.”

“Do the best you can.”

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