6 Ways to Protect Your Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, protecting your businesses means having a plan. To keep your company and customers healthy during the coronavirus outbreak and position well for success when it’s over, take advantage of these 6 contingency and business planning tips.

  1. Put health and safety first
Limit your and employees’ travel and maximize home office communication and collaboration tools. Keep employees informed of travel restrictions, government announcements, and offer them work from home options. If that’s not feasible and your business is considered essential, take steps to minimize virus transmission risk at your place of work by disinfecting and cleaning the place thoroughly. This also includes social distancing, splitting shifts, and mask-wearing. You also have to establish procedures for staff to report if they are feeling unwell, are absent, or if they suspect exposure to the coronavirus or infection.

  1. Assess the impact on operations
What will happen to your business during this crisis? To help answer that question, run best-case and worst-case scenarios, and develop contingency plans for each. Include timeframes in your assessment that consider the impacts of the pandemic if it becomes a three-month, six-month, or one-year problem for your business. For example, if critical personnel became sick or had to look after family members, how will your business accommodate these changes? Try to identify others who can step in and learn key tasks such as retirees, family members, or independent contractors and freelancers. If your customers close operations for a few weeks or months, what impact will that have on your revenue forecast and sales cycle? Likewise, if government authorities require that you cease or adjust operations, what adjustments could you make to protect employees, revenues, and continue to serve customers? Telework has skyrocketed during this crisis and should be accounted for in your plan. Implement work from home policies and technologies that support collaborative and secure at-home work (home networks and devices are susceptible to security vulnerabilities).

  1. Reach out
Develop a communication plan to reach out to your clients, partners, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders. Keep them abreast of your business policies at this time, any changes to operations, or new ways you can serve or collaborate with them.
  1. Be ready to adapt

COVID-19 is changing our lives in ways and at a scale we could never have imagined. The business plan you had 90-days ago isn’t what it is today. You need a plan to adapt and reconfigure your business for each stage of this crisis. If it’s a short-term problem, then cutting costs and other variable spending like new hires, and travel may help you through.

If your business has seen immediate impacts, look for ways to support your client needs or diversify your products and services during this time. For example, dog walking companies are keeping revenue flowing in creative ways. Some are helping clients in vulnerable age and health groups by doing their grocery run. Others are finding new clients among at-risk groups or families with home-schooled kids who are suddenly in need of a dog walker. At Fikes, we are doing thorough disinfection for the apartment complexes, retail, healthcare, offices, restaurants and others – we’ve been doing disinfection for over 25 years.

It’s hard to look and plan too far ahead. However, if the pandemic and lockdowns continue for many more months, then you need another contingency plan which will depend on your situation.

  1. Stay on top of the fast-changing compliance landscape

You have to keep an eye on shifting developments at the government level that directly affect your work such as filing documents and turnaround times. Many Secretary of State offices have eliminated expedited services, while others have removed or greatly restricted counter service.

Having a remote workforce can also introduce new state compliance requirements that must be considered such as state payroll and income tax filing, or the need to register to do business in a new state. Also, state and local governments are constantly issuing updates on the Coronavirus situation. Do your best to keep up with those and adjust your strategy.

  1. Be prepared for emergencies, and disinfect!

With your employees and customers safe and healthy at risk, make sure you do your best to disinfect and sanitize all the surfaces, including the high-touch ones. It is imperative to contact the right company that can quickly and professionally disinfect your business if you had a COVID-19 case. Moreover, the use of special disinfectants or commercial disinfection services daily or weekly is great for the overall well-being of your customers, employees and helps you enhance your image! Do not forget to use only EPA-approved disinfectants from List N, and make sure that you hire (if you will) a licensed, professional company to do you service.

After it is all gone and your operational and financial impacts mitigated as best you can; take stock and think about how you’ll successfully restore operations when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. This is likely to be a life-changing event that could bring a wealth of new opportunities for startups and small business owners.

Find ways to introduce greater efficiencies into your business, such as reducing your physical footprint by making permanent your work from home policies. And consider your financial situation. Are there measures you can take to ensure you have healthy cash flow and a safety net going forward?

None of us knows what’s coming next or if we’ll face a pandemic like this again in our lifetimes. But it pays to have a plan to bring your business through emergencies like COVID-19 and ensure it’s in a strong position for recovery once it has passed.


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