Here are the top recommendations for small business owners to reduce risk, safeguard staff, and assist customers during the COVID-19 epidemic.
The COVID-19 epidemic is quickly spreading, with fresh updates arriving every minute. As the situation unfolds, many small company owners are unclear of how to reduce risk, safeguard staff, and assist consumers.
The following are the important points and quick actions that are suggested.
Establish a remote work option
With so many individuals currently working remotely, there are several free solutions available to company owners to help teams remain in touch and operate even when they are not in the same location.
Establish a remote work policy that specifies when you want your team to be online or available, how you intend them to interact (for example, by email, Slack, or video chat), and what deliverables each team member is accountable for completing.
Reduce meetings and travel
Try to limit your chances of becoming infected with the virus. Team meetings should be postponed or held virtually. Any seminars or other scheduled business trips should be avoided. If your employees become unwell as a result of travel or meetings, you may face a liability issue, or you may have to deal with low morale and sick leave requests.
Give employees flexibility
Schools, offices, stores, companies, and commercial hubs are all closing around the country. With the country facing total lockdown, you will need to be flexible with your employees’ schedules. If their child’s day-care shuts, some staff members may be forced to depart abruptly. Others may have children who are unable to return to school after taking a spring break. When anything comes up, try to be as accommodating as possible, and have a backup plan in place in case you suddenly become short-staffed.
Communicate transparently with your customers
Everyone is dealing with this crisis at the same time, so be open about what your business is going through. Customers may empathise with businesses in crises if they are effectively communicated with.
According to Harvard Business Review, “when customers are disconnected from the effort that is being done behind the scenes to assist them, they enjoy the service less and therefore value the business less.” Describe the measures you are taking to reduce risk and provide them with information about the efforts you are taking to aid the community.
Be ready to adapt
COVID-19 is impacting our lives in ways and on a scale that we could never have predicted. The business strategy you had 90 days ago is no longer relevant. You must have a plan in place to adapt and restructure your business for each stage of the crisis. If it is a short-term issue, lowering expenditures and other variable spending such as marketing, new hiring, and travel may help you get through.
If your company has seen direct consequences, look for methods to meet your clients’ requirements or diversify your products and services during this period. Dog walking businesses, for example, are generating money in novel ways. Some are assisting customers of vulnerable ages and health groups by assisting them with their grocery shopping.
It’s difficult to look too far ahead and plan. However, if the pandemic and lockdowns last for many months to a year, you’ll need another contingency plan, one that considers renegotiating fixed expenditures, reducing benefits, and possibly laying off employees.
Be prepared for the light at the end of the tunnel
With your workers safe and healthy, and your operational and financial consequences as little as possible, take stock and consider how you can effectively resume operations once the COVID-19 epidemic has passed.
This is anticipated to be a life-changing event, bringing with it a plethora of new prospects for start-ups and small business owners. Look for quick wins, such as renegotiating agreements with suppliers and vendors. Listen to your consumers and look for methods to help them. Find methods to increase efficiency in your business, such as decreasing your physical footprint by making work-from-home rules permanent if possible. Consider your financial position as well. Is there anything you can do to assure a solid cash flow and a safety nett in the future?
Nobody knows what will happen next or if a pandemic like this will occur again in our lives. However, it is beneficial to have a strategy in place to guide your company through situations such as COVID-19 and to ensure that it is in a good position to recover after it has gone.
Support for Business help