How can I prepare my business for the potential impact of the Covid-19 virus?
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This question is posted on behalf of the MicroMentor community.
It depends on the nature of the business. Here in Europe, the businesses that have been impacted the most are the ones in the hospitality sector. Events have been cancelled and people avoid travelling by plane and trains. People also avoid being in places like bars and restaurants as they are crowded. If you are a supplier of such a business you will also be affected directly. An online business is not affected by the Covid-19 virus. However, I am not sure how a physical business can get prepared to reduce the potential impact of the Covid-19 virus. I have seen many small businesses posting prevention instructions for incoming clients and offering hand sanitizers.
Protect your self and your working environment by increase the awarness about the virus and the disease. Then share this knowledge for your clients.
Preparing your business for any type of potential hazard can be complicated. The following are a few things that I would suggest for any business. Some may not apply to e-commerce businesses.
1 - Do not panic! - You must maintain focus and may need to reassess your business goals but you must continue to move forward. 2 - Train, reassure, support your employees on what is happening in your area and how it is affecting your business. 3 - Practice common sense when making decisions and answering questions from both employees, clients and prospects. 4 - Practice good hygiene at your place of business.
If anyone would like to discuss this further, feel free to contact me.
Focus on the fundamentals. You need to revisit the assumptions in your business plan. Or, do a quick business model canvas to revisit your key drivers, partners, market segments, etc... Leverage your strengths and aggressively address any weaknesses that don't fit the current model. (Note: Previous strengths may now be weaknesses and previous weaknesses may turn out to be strengths.) Preserve capital and people so you have the resources to grow once the way forward is clear.
It is clear the speed at which Coronavirus has impacted the economy is nothing short of a nightmare.
Preparing for something as fast moving as coronavirus is difficult, so take these 4 actions now to help your business get out in front of these uncertain economic times.
Start looking for red flags It could be the tightening of credit lines/limits, or upstream or downstream issues with your customers, suppliers, and competitors. Then act with a sense of urgency.
Monitor your cash flow Start monitoring AR with a focus on collecting beyond "net 30". On the flip side, make sure your AP is current and invoiced. Look to secure or increase your line of credit.
Dust off that budget Revisit the potential revenue impact this could have in Q2/3. Look to reduce product costs for increased margin. Re-negotiate vendor contracts to more favorable pricing or flexible terms.
Prep an emergency plan by asking “What if?” What if we go into a national quarantine? Our largest customer goes out of business? "What if" can be scary but better than asking these questions after the fact.
Most importantly-act now!
It all depends on what you do and where you are. Some countries are yet to experience the virus at full scale-i am talking of African countries now that ain't seriously experiencing it yet. So the question is what do we do.
A. Who are my major customers and how can I reach to them than they reach to me. If they are restricted from physical movements at most, how can I serve them without them really coming to your sale points to buy
B. How can I add Empathy to my services. Let them know you care about their well-being not just their money. Your customers will need it. Reduction in price will be encouraged. Tips on health and words of encouragement can make them see the human in you.
So in preparing for the outbreak
Stock your office with Business Material which you can't run your business without. You know them, they will go along way to help
Go for alternatives... Instead of Genaratora, go for Solar, Emails instead of printing letters, online classes and meetings, Online shops and more. Testrun these alternatives immediately put them to super functions. If your office is far, start setting up home offices. From the confort of your homes
Your Financial ce platforms is good to. Make them work. Banks may physically close and 70%of business will be online so, follow the trend. Make sure you strengthen your cash flow without interruptions not minding the location
Connect with your business partners and stand as a network. If your string partner isn't thinking as you do, you will close down. So sit with your partners, that includes those who help your business grow, those who also offer services that boost your services. Prepare with them and grow together.....
Let me stop here
I am very Optimistic that it won't get to a worst state but you must prepare for the worst. We all must. Man is dynamic and can adapt to anything.
Live without fear, we can overcome this....
Is Your Business Ready for the Coronavirus?
The coronavirus is here. Unlike the SARS, MERS, and H1N1 swine flu outbreaks over the past 20 years, the coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on business. Countries are closing borders and restricting travel, schools have closed, and people are told to stay home. The global economic growth has already been impacted, and recent stock market declines highlight the fear. The question is: “Is your company ready for the impacts Coronavirus could have on your business?” Do you have a business continuation plan outlining how you will continue to conduct business when/if the outbreak impacts your employees, supply chain, distribution, and/or customers?
If you don’t have a plan now, fear not. These are uncharted waters. Below are some suggested actions:
Provided accurate and up-to-date information on the virus, including ways to avoid catching it. Your employees will appreciate your interest in their welfare. The best source of information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has the latest information on the disease, prevention, what to do if you are sick, and how to keep community areas (e.g. businesses) safe. https://www.cdc.gov/
Develop a plan explaining how you will continue to conduct business in a pandemic paradigm. To develop a plan:
o Identify key personnel > Select at least one person as the point of contact (or contact team) Select back-up personnel in case someone is unable to perform their duties > Establish clear roles and responsibilities
o Develop an employee communication plan > Anticipate various scenarios (e.g. school closings, quarantined areas, employee infection, etc.) and possible responses > Plan how activation will be communicated – and ended > Track employee status – work and health status
o Develop/augment remote capabilities > Do you have remote capabilities today? If so, can you conduct the full range of your business remotely? Fix any deficiencies.
o Test and secure remote access for work-at-home situations > Ensure key employees have access to the tools and files needed to do their jobs remotely. Fix any deficiencies. • Have employees take their computers home each night • Have employees test their remote access and verify if they can do their job remotely > Ensure employees can remotely access required work tools and files. Fix any deficiencies.
o Coordinate with key vendors and outside parties > Create an open communication and coordination plan with key vendors > Consider alternate vendors
o Employee training > Conduct training for the entire organization to ensure everyone knows how to perform their job under the business continuation plan
A well-thought-out and executed plan can help build stronger employee relationships, stronger customer relationships, and avoid potential negative impacts on your business.
It depends on the nature of business and their maturity with business continuity planning. Response to short term, focus on recovery, restore and redevelop a business model from the learning. Every crisis creates an opportunity. Flattening the curve and reduce the impact. Below are some of the suggestions and it needs to be more on Business Impact and Scenario analysis needs to be performed. Communication is key in crisis situation and it is important to be transparent.
Impact on Staff • Communication • Policy Changes • Salaries on Time • Benefits and Health coverage • Additional PTO Impact on Supply Chain • Transparent communication to Suppliers • Identify critical raw materials that are needed for next 60 days • Capacity & Demand impacts • Find alternate vendors or materials that can substitute with minimal impact to business process Impact on Delivery to Customers • Transparent communication to customers – Increase the frequency • Identify core business process that can be provided to Third party due to unavailability of staff • Shared value - Bundle delivery within the community by sharing resources and cost • Establish a plan for handling backlog Impact on Technology & other Infrastructure • Assess Remote Infrastructure capacity • Acquire or setup additional services from Cloud Providers or service providers Impact on Financial • Difficulties with working capital availability. • Increase liquidity and financial credit (backup funds).
From our consulting experience, a strongly developed crisis response capability needs to be in place to ensure the efficient management of incidents in order to minimise associated negative impacts, meet local government priorities and to ensure the continued delivery of critical national infrastructure. We have to put these in action for the workplace and supply chain deliveries. It is important to review crisis and business continuity plans on weekly basis , develop different scenarios and put them to the test. My action suggestion Put appropriate plans in place, mentally prepare ourselves operational disruption, ensure continuity of supply, consider different ways to be in touch with customers. During these difficult times we as the company wish everyone the best of health in this difficult time.
Let’s relook at the question: “How can I prepare my business for the potential impact of the Covid-19 virus?”
All the advice that has been given has been great. It should help everyone from all walks of life from a practical and technical stance. But I would like to remind every entrepreneur/business owner why you are in your current position.
An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money, or one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business. Note the common keywords “business and risk”. If there’s no real business or risk, you are not an entrepreneur.
Do not under estimate your strengths. Most if not all entrepreneurs/business owners are self-motivated. Therefore, look at this challenge as an opportunity. Open your eyes and mind and be creative on how you can develop new revenue streams. If you must close your doors, temporarily, use this time to plan, forecast and put together an execution plan for when you reopen. This is not a vacation.
Understand what you have to offer. Talk with your employees, talk with your clients, your suppliers. See how you can adapt. Only you know your product or service the best. But, possibly you need to step outside of your comfort zone and look at your business from a different perspective. Possibly you will find a new way to market what you offer.
As I said earlier you are a person willing to take risks. Yes, you need to be very prudent with your spending because most likely your revenue streams will have slowed down. But this does not mean you stop marketing your business. Think about it this way, would a salesman work for thirty days to set up sales appointments. And when he goes out on his sales calls stop making sales calls for new appointments? Of course not, you need to continue to have the flow of leads, prospects and or customers coming in. If not, when you re-open it is going to take you weeks in not months to restart your business.
One step that I am sure you are doing, but is so important at this time is networking. Reach out to other businesses within your circle. What possibilities are available to do joint marketing, sharing staff or barter supplies.
Basic money management I don’t need to review, but remember this storm end eventually. So, you need to keep your eye on your goals. And remember the “big picture”.
Be flexible, each day is going to be different. Each day you will face a new challenge. Think of it as a thunder storm. If you don’t like thunderstorms, just realize that it will pass.
Finally, you are in the position that you are because you have passion. A passion that many will never have for a career. And if I can leave you with one point to remember, that would be this. When you make it through this, which will be one of the most challenging business events in decades, you will be stronger, smarter and wiser. And will be prepared to handle anything that you meet in the future.
Stay Positive, Stay Strong, Stay Safe!
This COVID -19 virus has impacted most of the businesses badly world wide especially in China, Europe and USA now, No body know how this threat will be taking shape in coming days. It is important for the business people to understand they must do some thing about it. What a small business or an entrepreneur should do in the corona hit situation may be as follows
Please stop being in panic, take precautions and take all measures so that you stay healthy and corona free.
Try and do your operations and business activities online as far as possible, although some of the services are not possible online, but most of the business activities are.
Banks are giving loans for virtually no interests as economic activities of most of the virus hit countries are on all time low, hence you can take business loans now if you need to build your online facilities like website, networking, internet and assets.
Use of social media for marketing and advertisement
You can think of giving discounts to stay competitive in your business domain
Cost cutting by various means and use saved money for online activities / services
As stock market have been declining all the small business men / women may take some risk of putting some money in buying stocks which are most likely to recover and come back on high once the corona things subsides
switching your line of business, if possible, but that needs proper financial and technical plans, please ensure that while taking help with an expert in the field you want to switch, for example most affected area has been tourism, so you may shift to more common LOB medicine or hygienic products - This step is bit risk taking !!
Firstly do not panic (at least not yet). No one could have been prepared for a pandemic on this scale. We are learning as we go. Depending on the size of the business, put together a communication plan for your employees and customers. Keep them informed on what's happening and what you as a business is doing with the outbreak. This is a great opportunity to humanise your brand so be genuine and transparent.
A lot of people around the world and in your community will be spending lots of time at home so its a good time to create valuable content for them. Humor always work well.
People in your organisation might be going through anxiety so try to find support for them. Working from home can be difficult and isolating so ensure proper help is available.
In an event of lay-offs, be open and don't keep people in the dark. This is unfortunate but its bound to happen with economies everywhere taking a hit. Do it with integrity in-tact.
Finally do some scenario planning, for example, if you experience a loss of revenue by 20% what will happen and how you will response as a business (always include your employees in the plan).
Hope that helps.
Do not panic but do take actions now. First, reach out to your customers as best you can, whether they are one-time customers or repeat customers, to learn what they are thinking and if they can project how much or how often they might again buy from you. Reach out to your suppliers to get their input and perspective too and
Based on that and the best information you can get from local trade associations and your local government about the likely negative affects of the virus in your area (local or national depending on your business), cut expenses right now. If you have a loan, ask for an extension on making payments, even if the interest must be added to your principal.
If you are paying rent, work out with your landlord how to avoid paying rent or at least reduced rent for the near future of weeks or months. Likewise contact your utility providers to ask for reduced or delayed payments for weeks or months. THE GOAL IS TO maintain cash for as long as possible when sales and incoming cash are almost certain to decline.
Then labor. If you have employees, you may need to lay off one or more based on your projections of sales for the coming future. Do it quickly and as fairly as you can, with everyone sharing in the pain and not just your lowest paid workers. The idea is to reduce expenses so be sure to cut at least partially the wages paid to your highest paid workers. Including yourself.
Lastly, communicate to everyone, employees, suppliers and customers along with creditors, etc., about what you are doing, why you are doing it and continue to communicate to them over time.
If the virus is as bad where you are as it is becoming here in Los Angeles and America, your goal is to be able to still be in business when the virus problems are reduced. Everyone benefits if you stay in business and can return to some sense of normal, even if that normal does not return for months. But when you can restart your business, there may be pent up demand so be prepared for that too. This will end at some time. Being ready may allow you to make up some of your losses then - so long as you are still in business.
All the best to you. Ben
One of the ways to prepare for the potential impact of the covid-19 virus is to access your business potential and nature. The simple truth is if your business clients ain't demanding, you should shut down partially say 75% while you re-evaluate the trends and how your business can stay competitive when the epidemic is over. For those who their businesses has to with medical supplies or food supplies, you can also explore selling your products online and equally work with minimal production if you are a small local producer.
Small businesses have to prepare for this in three major ways. One they have to understand how they could function in the eCommerce world to have revenue still come in. Two they have to be socially responsible and be a pillar for the community, meaning find a way to help. This would increase your brand and show the community that you are present for them. Finally take care of your people, make sure you create a business plan that helps you function in these times. Perhaps cutting wages instead of letting go of your staff, find out how you can help each other before you think profit first instead of longevity. Wish you the best and hope this helps in anyway possible.
Preparation in a crisis is a misnomer take each day as it comes, and live by 2 simple statements. 1 - Must do and Can do, make a list of what must be done and what can be done and do them 2 - Do not loose focus chase outstanding money, email prospective clients do as much each day as possible to stay in the game after all everyone is in the same boat.
1.) Take action to provide a clear vision to your employees. In these times, it seems there is more uncertainty than certainty. Ensure your employees know the direction you are planning to go, and the tools/programs they have to support them through this period. Communicate, don't panic, communicate, communicate. 2.) Research, partner, and invest in remote work options. Technology has to be an important part of your strategy to continue to connect your employees with your customers. Please be careful not to lose the human element that makes your business (brand) unique, but invest in ways to stay in contact with your existing customer base, while understanding how this virus is impacting your business vertical. With proper deployment you can keep your base and grow your business as you implement new ways to reach out. Virtual-ize what is possible. 3.) Know your competition. "We are all in this together," is a already a tired saying if you ask me, but it is important to understand what they are doing to keep their business going. Through collaboration, you can find ways to cut costs and service customers together. 4.) Capitalization. Borrowing money is extremely affordable at this time. If infrastructure/technology upgrades are needed now may be a good time to seek a loan. Please understand the risk, here as you do not want to leverage yourself in to a situation that you cannot afford, but money is important and as long as you have a plan for what to do with the cash, as well as how you plan to repay (suggest longest term possible) an investment in your business now can pay off long-term. 5.) Use social media to communicate your brand. A lot of consumers are looking for a brand that is strong and sending the a strong message during uncertainty. They will remember your messages and how you treated both internal and external customers in this uncertain times. Control the brand message by being active in social media. Being proactive now will ensure you have the best opportunity to help your business, your employees, and your customers navigate this uncertain times. My only other advice is take ACTION. "The only way we fail is if we fail to learn."