Seven Things Business Owners are Doing in Response to Coronavirus

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Published on March 13, 2020

At the time of publishing this post, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. No one can predict the long-term impact of this health crisis — globally, or in our local areas. But the impact on businesses like ours is unmistakable, and it is evolving moment by moment. Just as we pivot and respond, another layer, another level unfolds. We are feeling it at every corner of our business, and know many of you are as well.

Last week, we shared the Five Biggest Potential Risks from Coronavirus Business Owners are Monitoring. We were grateful to see that hundreds of you took the time to read it. As a result, we hope you felt better prepared and understood that you’re not alone in trying to figure this out. This week, we’re sharing the seven actions business owners are taking in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

1. Staying informed and up-to-date: Your employees are looking up to you to make the right decisions for the business and for them. So, please make sure that you’re regularly accessing the appropriate sources versus social media channels like Facebook and  Instagram where it can be extremely difficult to tell what’s credible. The CDC and Johns Hopkins are the sources we monitor and recommend.

2. Planning for a business slowdown: Take the time to look 45 to 60 days ahead.

  • Do you have enough cash on hand if business is slow for the next one to two months?
  • What is the likely impact on your business as your customers become more cautious in their spending?
  • What adjustments do you need to make as people choose to stay home en masse?
  • What orders or payments are you expecting in the next few weeks, and what happens if those don’t come in?
  • What options do you have if you need access to additional cash flow in the near term?

Possible options include:

  • Access a short term loan through your bank or an online lender like Funding Circle
  • Use the interest-free period on your credit card to pay suppliers (you can use Plastiq if the suppliers don’t accept cards) which gets you 30+ days of extra time (when your credit card bill is due)
  • Explore invoice financing and lending options through sites like Fundera

In addition, in response to the pandemic, the U.S. government has promised to make it easier to get SBA loans.

3. Communicating with customers and suppliers/vendors: Increase communication with your customers and suppliers and ask them what they’re expecting, or worried about. If your suppliers’ supply chain is getting disrupted, you’ll likely see an impact too in the next few weeks. It’s important to remember that everyone is in it together and they’ll likely tell you if their business may be impacted.

4. Investing in a healthy workplace: This is very important and not an area worth saving money on. Ensure that your employees are disciplined about following the CDC’s guidance on how to avoid the spread of the virus. It’s critical that you make it easy for your employees. Providing hand sanitizer at all doorways, paying extra for a deep clean from your janitorial/cleaning crew, making surface wipes easily available, as well as face masks if appropriate, are a few of the bare minimums of our “new normal.”

5. Being explicit that employees can work from home, or making it mandatory: The important thing is to not leave people guessing. Also, don’t assume it’s easy for all of your employees to work from home. Many people don’t have a home environment where they can be effective in their work. Be thoughtful and inclusive in your recommendations and support.

6. Adapting their processes: If you’re a business that has all or part of your team working from home (WFH) as a result of the coronavirus, you are likely finding that your regular processes need to change — even simple things like implementing processes around how to know when team members are available, and getting regular status updates.

7. Minimizing or canceling all non-essential travel: It hurts, but it’s the right thing to do. If you have to cancel, try to get a credit versus eating the cost completely. Most airlines will likely give you a partial refund, or credit towards future use.

We hope this has helped, once again. Please keep yourself, your family, and your employees safe and supported, as best you can. And look out for more sharing from us as we traverse this uncharted territory together. We are here to help.

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