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Photographs: iStock

Text: Laura Wintemute

Thursday, March 11th felt like doomsday for me. My phone rang off the hook, and then suddenly, every appointment I had in my calendar for the next two months had been cancelled. We were prepared to lose a few cases, but not all of them. Reality hit hard at that point. We weren't going to earn any income for the next foreseeable future. As this is an unprecedented situation for many of us, the consequences of what would happen when a country closes its borders was not a thought that had ever crossed my mind. As my business depends on a large part of internationals moving to our country, this is devastating. Homestead's sole purpose is to assist those moving here to settle in and feel at home. With the borders closed, and expats leaving to go home, we are left without a purpose. In addition to our settling-in services, I also earn a living through keynote speaking engagements. Unfortunately, this has also come to a dead halt.

"Denmark has taken dramatic action to keep its economy going through the coronavirus pandemic, making an extra 200 billion danish kroner available for banks to lend to companies."

A nation that stands together (not too close together)

Danes are handling this situation seriously, and with swift, extreme measures. Denmark was one of the first countries to roll out financial relief measures and programs to support small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Denmark's finance ministry has announced plans to spend up to 40 billion Danish kroner (USD 6 billion) to help companies hit by the coronavirus crisis to cover their fixed costs until cash flow resumes. The self-employed and firms with up to ten people who see their revenues fall more than 30% will also be offered government compensation worth 75% of their regular monthly income up to a maximum of 23,000 danish kroner per month. Denmark also took dramatic action to keep its economy going through the coronavirus pandemic, making an extra 200 billion danish kroner (USD 30 billion) available for banks to lend to companies. The country has proved its genuine compassion for its people (befolkning). The government is there for its people in a time of need, supporting each other, pulling together and helping the less fortunate. It's times like this where I am grateful to live in Denmark.

Prioritize and plan

It's safe to say that this current crisis is like none other faced by small business owners in the recent past, and it's undoubtedly tricky trying to tackle a multitude of unique issues it presents.

The top concerns for most business owners are: #1 How am I going to pay my employees? #2 How am I going to pay my bills? #3 How long will this last?

If you didn't make a strategic plan for this year, it's certainly time to make one now. Don't plan too far out and remember things are often changing. Be willing to adapt and revise those plans. Create a list of priorities and tackle those projects you have been putting off. Take full advantage of this unplanned break from work. Work hard at not wasting hours on Netflix or getting sucked into the never-ending news coverage. Instead, utilize this time a chance to check off all of those "to-do" lists. Be creative and find new opportunities to market and sell. Given the current conditions, what is something that resonates with customers that you can provide? As always, focus on your existing customers, provide excellent service, make sure you nurture and retain all the invaluable relationships and customers you currently have. More than ever, we need to stay positive. Be the calm voice in this panic-driven time. Be kind, be helpful, and be thankful for what we have, who we have and where we live.

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