4 Ways to Safeguard Your Business as Coronavirus Spreads
By Rylie Holt
Act now to help reinforce your business
Many worried investors and financial experts have speculated about an impending economic recession caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Celebrated venture capital company, Sequoia Capital, recently advised that having weathered every type of business downturn over the last 50 years, the organisation has learned an important lesson. According to Sequoia Capital, it’s okay to make quick and decisive adjustments to your business model when you’re operating under changing circumstances.
Whether or not COVID-19 causes an all-out global recession remains to be seen. However, the prudent business owner needs to make sure they’re prepared and well-positioned for any impact the virus might have on their company. This means preparing for impacts downstream and upstream, as well as the impact on other areas. Check out our four action steps you can take below.
1. Review Your Public Liability Insurance Costs
Be sure to review all your business insurances, including public liability insurance, to make sure you’re paying the best price for the right coverage level. Insurance is a fixed cost most business owners forget about as soon as the policy is bound. However, you want to be sure you’re not losing money on your insurance portfolio.
You can do some online comparison shopping when you check out BizCover’s website by clicking here. Take a few minutes to get a public liability insurance quote. You can get more coverage information and an estimated premium either online or over the phone.
If you don’t have a public liability plan, then you’ll want to fix that right away. This type of insurance will keep your company from absorbing financial damages and legal fees associated with negligence, including property damages and personal injuries. By having a public liability policy, you won’t have to dip into your company’s checking account should you find yourself dealing with an unhappy client.
2. Safeguarding the Upstream: Supplies, Materials, Equipment
It’s widely recognised that the Coronavirus outbreak has adversely impacted the global supply chain, particularly when it comes to materials manufactured in China. Your direct supplier should have a good idea as to how, if at all, a glitch in the upstream will impact your business. Maybe you’ll discover there’s no need to worry because your supplier hasn’t been affected at all. The best thing to do is get on the phone with your main supply connections. Find out how they are navigating through these uncertain times.
- What materials do you use that might not be as readily available?
- How can you work around this lag in the upstream supply?
- Do you have enough materials and equipment to complete current jobs? Or will you have enough by the time you’re back to work full-time?
- Should you explore new suppliers to test out their service, pricing, and availability?
Let your product suppliers know your priorities and let them give you possible solutions. Be honest and forthcoming. Most business owners, as you know, will welcome your honesty and willingness to work with them on a good compromise. Of course, your suppliers are trying to make their own companies workable during this crazy time too, so they’ll be glad you gave them a chance to work it out.
3. Assisting the Downstream: Being There for Your Clients
Depending on the local rules for social distancing, as well as the availability of supplies and equipment, you may find your business in a holding pattern. Maybe you aren’t yet back to full-time production or servicing of clients. This means the downstream needs some help so check out our list of recommendations.
These are proactive steps you can take to make your customers comfortable during this uncertain time:
- Of course, you’ll need to be sure your company is complying with all social distancing rules. Perhaps you can do a Zoom meeting or conference call with customers to discuss their needs.
- You can develop a written COVID-19 safety policy that includes your commitment to wearing masks, gloves, shoe covers, employee temperature checks, and sanitizing workspaces. Make sure your clients know about your COVID-19 safety plan by posting it in your store front, office, and/or on your website.
- You can provide virtual tutorials to broaden your online presence, as well as lock-in brand recognition for potential customers.
- If you can’t access the materials your client’s job needs, then you’ll need to work with both your customer and supplier to figure out a good compromise. Maybe you can offer a temporary discount or more generous guarantee to make sure your clients are willing to move forward with the job.
Be sure you are taking actions that will keep your customer base satisfied while also benefitting your cash flow.
4. Protecting Your Employees
Once you have both your upstream and downstream sorted out then it’s time to focus on your internal operations. The heart of most companies are the employees. Now you need to turn your attention to how your employees can be protected during the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you expect work will slow down significantly, it might be a good idea to have your employees work part-time. Or maybe it’s best to temporarily close your business altogether with a planned future reopening date. Both options will lessen the risk of spreading the virus.
Obviously if you do temporarily close or ask your team members to work part-time, your staff is going to worry about living with less pay or no pay. Many people don’t have savings to fall back on, so you’ll want to make them an offer to stay home or work part-time. If they feel like they’re being forced out and their jobs may not be there later, your team may go with another company. Talk to them, be honest, discuss what’s happening.
If it’s possible, you could your employees the option of working from home temporarily. You could view this as an experiment. If it goes well, why not make remote work an option? Modern technology makes it easy for most people to work from home, everything is done via a laptop and video conferencing. Should things go well, perhaps you could downsize to a smaller office or store front which would lower the cost of your rent.
Regardless of whether a global recession actually comes to pass, it’s likely that COVID-19 will affect your business to some degree. The best way to safeguard your business is to review your operations, develop creative solutions, and communicate. Talk with your employees, suppliers, and clients so they aren’t feeling uncertain. You’d be surprised how a well-timed phone call or email can turn everything around.
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