Tips for helping small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic

Many small businesses are trying to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, some forced to lay off workers, shutter their doors, with no luck getting federal assistance. But financial experts say there are some ways to keep the cash coming in even if you’re not getting a lifeline from the government. 

"I’ve never worked this hard in my entire career in terms of being innovative," said Amanda Browning, general manager of Beach & Beverly.

The doors may be closed to the Hermosa Beach Boutique, but it’s more open than ever to new ideas to stay afloat. The trendy women’s boutique is not giving in or giving up on business during this pandemic.

"I’m thinking of something new every day to keep customers engaged whether it’s a sale, or a special, new arrivals," said Browning.

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And it’s working. The cozy store used to lure customers in with wine and cheese happy hours but now they're enticing buyers through social media.

"Our biggest tool right now is our Insta(gram) stories, I think even more than posts. People — they’re online and watching our stories," she said.

The store has also gone mobile, delivering direct to customers  — bringing clothing right to their doorsteps.

"I personally curate a trunk for you and deliver it straight to your door... keep what you want, return the rest. It’s been our biggest moneymaker right now," said Browning.

And this new type of hustle is paying off.

"We really did not skip a beat in March was really exciting," Browning said. 

Financial experts say the store is an example of one doing everything right.

"This is a really important time for businesses to get creative, adapt and even pivot. Prioritize the essentials, manage your cash flow and keep money coming in — if you can," said Mark LoCastro, SmartAsset director of public relations.

Limiting expenses and communicating with customers is key.

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"Using web presence and social media presence is more important than ever to remain in contact with customers and many are offering deals and steep discounts to generate positive cash’s flow in," LoCastro said.

And worst-case scenario, financial experts say, don’t be too proud to ask for help to ride out this pandemic.

"Sometimes you have to ask for a loan from family or friends, or worst-case scenario, you have to take out a second mortgage to get your business through the tough time... there are things you can do, but it depends on the level of risk you're willing to take," he added.