7 Ways to Keep Your Business Afloat

A significant number of businesses across the world closed as a result of lockdown, and a vast amount is now on the brink of shutting entirely.

To get your business through this challenging time, and cope with the pandemics disruption to the economy, below we've compiled seven ways to keep your business alive, while the economy gradually begins to power back up again, which include tactics for cutting expenses, sourcing support, and altering some of your existing work processes.
The new winning is [breaking] even or at least not bleeding your life savings. - Nick Powills, Publisher, Franchise Magazine 1851


Slicing back every business expense you have is not advised, but adjusting some of your payments and outgoings certainly is. Each business is unique in their own way, but what most have in common is they all have a banking system of some kind which displays their outgoings.

And so, take time to work through each of your direct debits and outgoings to find what you can swap for an alternative cheaper option. While also sourcing payments that you may be able to request your service provider to suspend, such as car insurance on company vehicles that are no longer in use.

Other bills you can adjust to cheaper deals include energy providers, internet service and mobile phone bills. For example, if you're nearing the end of year mobile phone contract, as opposed to upgrading your existing phone, you could consider purchasing a sim, on a rolling contract. The benefits of rolling contract sims are, for instance, SMARTY doesn't credit your credit, and a certain amount of data unused shall be rolled over to the following months' data allowance. The most significant advantage is that buying a new sim is a lot cheaper than purchasing a new phone contract. 

Other adjustments to consider are, suspending business subscriptions to, for example, an entrepreneurial magazine you have delivered each week. 

Each expense you work to reduce when totalled together will present a significant reduction in outgoings. Fewer outgoings equate to less stress trying to scramble together money to afford your monthly business bills. Plus, if your business is still operating, fewer outgoings gives you a bigger chance to make a healthy profit. 
If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.– Edmund Burke


Lockdown has given many businesses a real insight into work-life at home, for themselves and their employees. Some companies have even decided to suspend the lease on their office lease or retail premises, in favor of remote working, to move to the cloud and in turn save costs on utilities, business insurance, and taxes.

If remote working isn't an option for your business, you may want to consider negotiating the cost of your existing lease. For those committed to a contract, it's still worth explaining your circumstances to your landlord, mainly if you can't afford to make the agreed payments right now, to see if there's an alternative arrangement you can reach. Whether a reduced rental fee or a shorter lease, you never know until you ask. 

However, it's essential, while negotiating to be mindful of your landlords' circumstances too. The pandemic has affected all business owners, and so showing some understanding will prevent you from pushing any boundaries while bartering a better deal for your work premises.

Contracts for commercial space which are coming to an end give business owners an excellent opportunity to look elsewhere for a cheaper workplace. Cast your net to other locations away from your current place of work to see what other opportunities are out there. Often, office and industrial spaces situated further away from the city are more affordable.

Consider the basics you'll require for your work environment, to give you a better idea of what's essential when looking for a new workspace. Additionally, create an affordable budget that won't break your business's bank.


While companies think about their most significant outgoings that need adjusting, payments to staff often arise. This is a tricky subject for business owners to get right. Firstly there's the unwritten moral obligation to help your employees keep their jobs and income, and avoid causing mass job cuts that could dramatically impact people's lives.

On the other hand, if businesses don't consider adjusting and changing one of their business's most significant outgoings, they risk the business going under entirely, and everybody losing their jobs. 
7 Ways to Keep Your Business Afloat
Before deciding whether to let people go, to help keep your business afloat, consider this quote; "penny wise and pound foolish". This saying is about companies who immediately fire hardworking, experienced staff, in favour of hiring cheap, sometimes inexperienced, labour to reduce their businesses' outgoings.

In doing so, businesses risk a reduction in productivity, potential medical costs as a result of workers getting injured from doing their jobs incorrectly, and needing to pay out for additional training to get cheaper staff up to an expected standard.

If you're adamant about cutting your workforce, focusing on keeping the jobs and employees, your business can't do without. Alternatively, you might want to think about hiring freelancers or contract workers to fill much-needed positions. In doing so, you can save a substantial amount of money on tax, healthcare, sick days and holiday payments which you are obligated to pay for employees.

Trade Products For Services

Money isn't your only valuable resource. You offer a product or service that people and businesses want and need. Equally, other companies provide services and products that you might want and need to. To keep your business afloat, consider trading one of your services for another. As an example, you may have an urgent plumbing problem in your office.

Still, you're currently financially unable to fix the problem. But you could offer your web designing, marketing [insert skill set here] to a local plumber instead in exchange for them fixing the leak. If you do agree on a trade with another business person, it helps to write down the terms of your agreement, and sign and date it, preferably with a witness present, to ensure the deal goes through, and you both stick to your end of the bargain.

Using a traditional means of trading will help tie your business over through slower periods, particularly when you don't have the money to spend on much-needed services. Not to mention, it's a good source of networking too.


Struggling to weather the current storm and keep your business afloat alone is not advised. From business mentors to employees, from family to friends, each person is inundated with education, experiences and support that could assist in helping to keep your company going during this time.

Whether your other half offers to volunteer and complete a few tasks for you, a family member might propose to promote your business for free or tell you they have a batch of products they'll sell to you for a discount. Or your employees, who are aware of the inner workings of your business, may see opportunities for you to save money and adapt the company to suit the times. 

If your business is struggling and you're concerned about its livelihood, share your worries with other people you trust. Talking to people can help you to work through the difficulties you're experiencing and provide you with some much-needed support.


Giving multiple customers back a refund for services that have not been fulfilled because of COVID-19, piles a lot of pressure on business finances.

In response, as an alternative, many companies, both large and small, are offering customers vouchers. Some companies are incentivizing customers with an additional amount added onto the coupon for the customer to use once their business is back up and running.
If your business can facilitate the use of coupons opposed to refunds, it's certainly worth trying. In doing so, you can better maintain your current cash flow until your business begins to pick up again.

Increase Recognition

At a time when bonuses and expensive incentives are hard to fulfil to keep your employee's motivation and morale high, there are other alternative solutions which are simple, incredibly effective and free. 

Recognition, for example, is often not utilized by companies, but it's so important in giving employees praise and approval to let them know what a great job they're doing. Points of recognition include appreciating a strong work ethic, excellent attendance and exceeding KPIs (key performance indicators). Now, more than ever, you need your staff to give you the most productive and quality work they can, to keep your business going.

A certificate and a one-on-one meeting with an employee, with some kind, well-deserved and inspiring words, shall further encourage the employee performance your business needs to remain afloat.

As history reveals, some businesses have made it through tough economic times and gone on to prosper.

Whether you make it through to the other side is mostly dependent on your willingness to change aspects of your business, and your plan of action. As discussed above, it's not solely about cutting costs. Business owners must be methodical about the decisions they make, to ensure they don't jeopardize the quality of their products or service.