Protecting Your Small Business During the COVID-19 Outbreak
By Rae Steinbach, Last updated: 2022-07-25 (originally published on 2020-04-22)
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant effect on everyday life throughout the world. If you are a small business owner, it is hard to imagine that you anything could have prepared you for this turn of events.
With the state of affairs seeming to change multiple times a day, you might be worried about what the future holds for your business. While it is impossible to predict how or when things will begin to return to normal, there are things you could do to protect your company and COVID-19 resources for small businesses that you can look into.
Reach Out to Customers
With new social distancing policies and people being worried about COVID-19 infection, people are canceling appointments and they are putting off plans. If your business is still in operation, you might want to reach out to customers to let them know. Contact them to let them know that you can still work on projects or that your location is still open and tell them about the measures you are taking to maintain a safe working environment.
Protect Employee Health
The health and wellbeing of employees should be a top priority during this time. Make sure you have policies for workplace hygiene and communicate to employees that they should not come to work if they are feeling sick. Take the time to educate employees about what they can do (both in and out of work) to prevent the spread of infection. Small business owners can also find useful COVID-19 guidance from the CDC.
Alternative Working Arrangements
Small business owners should consider the possibility of alternative working arrangements. With technologies for video conferencing, file sharing and team productivity apps, you might be able to keep your business running without having everyone gather at the office. You will need to communicate these changes to your employees and there might be some issues as you all adapt, but it can be a good way to prevent the spread of the virus while still being able to work on projects and collaborate as a team.
Pay Attention to Billing
The pandemic is going to be disruptive, but you have to keep money coming in if you want to keep your business going. Contact your customers to inquire about any issues they may have with making payments at this time. If there is going to be a delay in payments, you are going to need to make adjustments to account for these changes.
Prepare for Staffing Issues
Start making plans for the possibility of sick staff members. You might have several employees who need to stay home because of illness, and you need to be prepared with a backup plan. Consider hiring contract workers that can fill-in temporarily or you might be able to make up for the lost productivity by hiring online freelancers.
Think About Financial Resources
A potential business slowdown might require you to tap into different financial resources. Review the current income of your business, the financial obligations you have and your liquidity levels. If things get tough, you might need to consider looking into a small business loan. There are also resources from the SBA that are aimed at helping small businesses that are impacted by the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 pandemic is going to cause hard times for a lot of small businesses. However, having a plan and adjusting to the latest developments can help your small business to make it through this crisis.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.