Five Biggest Potential Risks from Coronavirus Business Owners are Monitoring

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Published on March 4, 2020

Like so many around the world, as we monitor the coronavirus news in real-time, we find ourselves increasingly concerned — as individuals and as small business owners.

On a personal level, we’re focused on getting and sharing sound, reliable information. So, let’s start here: If you don’t know the specifics around Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — what it is, where it is, how to protect yourself, etc. — you can find information here on the Center for Disease Control website. In our opinion, this site does a good job of explaining and informing without getting overly technical.

When it comes to business, here are the top five impacts we’ve discovered many of our customers are monitoring:

  1. Disruption to your supply chain: We live in an increasingly global world, and many of our customers source products from China and other countries. Equally, many of our customers ship products internationally. Some of these countries could be affected by coronavirus, resulting in lower inventory, delayed shipping, slowdown in payments, etc. The most common trade corridors we see are US-Canada, US-China, US-Mexico, US-UK.
  2. Business slowdown: If you manage a business where customers interact with you directly, like restaurants, bars, retail stores, you could see a slowdown in business as customers stay home and avoid large gatherings.
  3. Reduced productivity due to travel restrictions: For those of you who rely on in-person meetings or conferences to make sales or provide customer service, you should plan to see an impact as events either get cancelled or see lower attendance.
  4. Employees asking to work from home/remotely: Many of us are comfortable working with our colleagues remotely, but that’s not true for every business, nor is it practical. For example, many of our customers are distributors who operate warehouses, or run retail stores and need employees to be physically present to do their jobs.
  5. Squeeze on cash in the near term: Business owners and CFOs are closely monitoring how much cash on hand they have since the impact of a potential business slowdown is still evolving. Your business may be impacted by one of the above factors, all of them, or none at all. That said, it is best to be prepared by ensuring that your finances are in good shape so you’re able to react swiftly with confidence if you do start seeing an impact. This we can help you with, if you need it. Preserving your cash on hand and harnessing the power to float expenses may prove to be critical in the coming weeks and months. Visit our website to learn more.

As business leaders, it’s time to stay informed and resist panic while making sure we care for ourselves, our families, and our employees, best we can. We hope this helps keep you better informed and, as a result, better prepared.

Next week we will share the 7 things business owners are doing in response to the coronavirus.

Additional resources:

To track where the disease has already surfaced, you can look at this link. This is provided by Johns Hopkins and uses information from World Health Organization (WHO), and the CDC among others. You can zoom into your (or your suppliers’) local area to get a sense of the number of identified cases in your geographic area.

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