The COVID-19 outbreak has proved a major social and economic setback. The pandemic is a humanitarian crisis that has ushered in an air of uncertainty and loss of an immeasurable proportion. People were pushed indoors by stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the virus and several businesses had to close down because of a significant loss of revenue. It all came unexpectedly, allowing no time for businesses to prepare.
The outbreak of the virus taking the shape of a pandemic and the resulting business closures were beyond human control. Now, there are many risks that businesses have to face in time. They may suddenly face a lawsuit from a customer, supplier, or anybody from the public if they have suffered damage or injury due to your business’s negligence.
Such a situation can call for astonishingly high legal expenses, which can run your bank account dry. To get coverage for such expenses, you might need to have public liability insurance.
To cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, you must prepare your business and keep your employees informed. Here are a few tips to protect your business during these tough times:
1. Create an emergency plan
The first thing you need to do to protect your business during the COVID-19 pandemic is to create a preparedness plan. This plan will outline the measures you have to take when the pandemic directly impacts your company. It’s going to lay down the steps you need to take to keep your employees safe throughout the crisis. You need to think through your emergency plan carefully and include concrete guidelines to manage a disaster.
2. Prioritise safety always
You may be a solopreneur or the leader of a small team of employees. Irrespective of the role you play in your organisation, you need to put yours and your employees’ health first. Even if some lockdown restrictions are lifted, you should consider minimising your travel as much as possible. Since virtual working is the in-thing nowadays, you should invest in collaboration and communication tools to make it easier for your employees to stay in touch. Work-from-home is an excellent option if you wish to keep yourself and your employees protected against possible exposure to the virus.
3. Check your finances
It’s natural for you to experience a setback in terms of your finances during these testing times. Your revenue stream may have plummeted and you may be struggling to keep your business afloat. You need to evaluate your liquidity condition and take necessary measures to mitigate financial risks. There’s an increasing need for businesses to cut expenditure to compensate for the revenue loss. You should also look for opportunities to slash your non-critical business expenditures and perhaps leverage financial assistance programs designed by governmental agencies.
4. Prepare your office
Even if you are required to go to your office, you have to make the necessary changes to the office layout. Prepare to adopt to cloud solutions like Azure Window VM i.e. Windows Virtual Desktop in case if you need to work remotely. Social distancing is the new norm, and all establishments have to adhere to it without fail. You need to evaluate your cleaning procedures and equip your office space with the necessary tools, such as hand sanitiser, disinfectants and tissues. Put your clear instructions on the wall for all employees to follow be it etiquettes to use the toilet, wearing their mask or washing their hands. Spread out your sitting area so that your employees can maintain a safe distance from one another. You also need to set rules for visitors or customers if they drop by your workspace.
5. Stay in touch with your customers
These are indeed unprecedented times when there’s come about a huge difference in the way businesses and customers connect with each other. Social distancing norms have certainly made people not visit your business in person. That does not mean you cannot connect with them. Thanks to the rise of social media networks, staying in touch with customers has become easy nowadays. You need to let your customers know that you are still in operation and you still care about them. Keep engaging them with small offers or gift cards so that you retain these valuable people.
6. Keep everyone informed about everything
During these challenging times, it’s natural for everyone to feel a sense of panic and bleakness. Everyone in your company will be feeling isolated and anxious. They are unsure whether their jobs are safe or the company will be able to sustain itself post the crisis. Such a conundrum can reduce their morale and productivity. The key to giving them some assurance lies in maintaining constant communication with them. You will have to stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-related information on the government website and inform everyone in your company about anything that strikes you as crucial. This way, you can prevent the spread of misinformation, something that can increase people’s panic, and focus on taking necessary protective measures.
These are some of the many ways in which you can protect your business during the pandemic. There’s a lot of negativity prevailing in the society during these times. Experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression is but an obvious phenomenon. The key to overcoming this crisis lies in having a positive mindset. As a business owner, you will have to continually strive to keep your team motivated, despite the adversity. Everyone is suffering on personal and professional fronts but being together in this can certainly make a difference.
Forbes, Posted on Mar 19, 2020, Author: Mike Kappel. 6 Ways To Protect Your Business During The Coronavirus Outbreak, Avl at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2020/03/19/6-ways-protect-business-during-coronavirus/#7e4cbdd353a2
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Updated Apr 4, 2020, Prepare your Small Business and Employees for the Effects of COVID-19, Avl at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-small-business.html#:~:text=Provide%20tissues%2C%20no%2Dtouch%20trash,state%20or%20local%20health%20department.
Bizfilings, Author: Mike Enright, 7 Ways to Protect your Small Business or Startup During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Avl at: https://www.bizfilings.com/toolkit/research-topics/running-your-business/protect-small-business-or-startup-during-the-coronavirus