We will we see a full-scale outbreak of the coronavirus across the Globe. Is your business ready to face the outbreak?
Bombarded with information about Covid-19?
I do not want to add to the information overload, but here a few points left to address. I promise I will be brief!
No doubt about it, we will we see a full-scale outbreak of the coronavirus across the Globe. No doubt, people are afraid. And fear is a mighty force!
Left unchecked, it can lead to mass hysteria.
Over the past few days and weeks, we have seen people hoard anything from toilet paper to protective equipment to food. There have been attacks on Asian Americans, blaming them for the virus. And there is been an abundance of conspiracy theories making the rounds. While it is ok to be afraid, it is not ok to hurt others or hoard items needed by health care workers to fight this full-blown outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
Let’s be smart! Let’s take reasonable precautions, but let’s not panic, because panic is not going to help any of us!
No Crystal Ball
It would be nice to have one but, unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball to tell what is really waiting us around the corner.
Regardless of what may or may not happen, it is reasonable to expect some degree of disruption to life and business. And it is best to be prepared. Thankfully, viral outbreaks like the current one, do not happen often. Yet they still result in disruption to day-to-day life and business.
Ideally, you would have a disaster plan in place, outlining how you would respond in case of disaster and the steps you would take to get your business or business back on its feet.
Do you have a disaster plan for your business?
Congratulations if you do.
But if you do not, now is the time to develop a plan, no matter how basic or rudimentary. Take time to think about what you would do in case your business slowed down or needed to shut down for some time?
How would you respond?
How would you communicate with employees and customers?
Could you and your business survive the disruption?
What would do to get your business back on its feet?
Three Steps to Prepare
While some disasters, natural or human-made, may cause temporary business disruptions, others could result in prolonged closures, or lead to temporary or permanent relocation of the business. Since we do not know what to expect with the Covid-19 crisis, here are 3 simple steps to take now to get prepared for what may or may not come to pass.
If you have employees, it is time to talk.
What are your protocols for getting in touch with them? Will you call, email, text, or use social media to communicate with them? Decide on one primary and one backup channel to use in case of a disruption or a full shutdown of your business.
Get in touch with your customers.
What is your protocol for getting in touch with customers in case the virus should impact your business? Will you call every single customer, post relevant information to your website or social media? How will you keep your customers up to date? Are you prepared to see customers via Skype or Zoom or any other similar communication channel in case you will not be able to see them in your office or business place? No matter the channel, have a process in place to keep your website and social media pages current with up to date business information.
2.- Financial Survival
In the event your province, state or city should be affected by the virus, chances are your business will be too. There may be fewer customers coming through your doors, resulting in a loss in revenue and a temporary decrease in cash flow for your business. Additionally, there could be disruption leading to delays with your billing company; there might also be delays in reimbursements.
How robust is the financial position of your business? Would you be able to ride out the storm? Do you have the cash reserves to help you bridge a temporary drop or loss in cash flow? If you have limited or no cash reserves, consider establishing a line of credit. Use it to help you stay afloat until things get back to normal.
While there is insurance coverage to help recover from all types of disasters, both for loss of income and property, there is not much when it comes to situations like Covid-19. Additionally, most small business owners do not carry business interruption insurance, and chances are this type of interruption would not be covered.
Since some disruption to your business is likely to occur, take steps to prepare by securing funds to survive a cash flow crunch.
3.- The Supply Chain
One of the problems with the outbreak is the disruption it causes to the global supply chain. As a result, we have seen wild fluctuations in stock prices and lowered earnings projections across the board.
So, what is a supply chain, and why should you care?
A supply chain is a network or chain between a company and its suppliers of parts to produce the finished product sold to customers. A supply chain may be comprised of local, national, and international suppliers.
As you can imagine, most products contain numerous parts that could come from anywhere. Parts or ingredients may come from within the US or Canada, or they may be sourced from China, Korea, India, or Europe, amongst others.
Regardless of where a part originates, as the Covid-19 virus is making its way across the globe we could see more disruptions to production and the workforce.
And here is how it might affect your business.
You may not be able to take delivery on day-to-day, or specialty business supplies, potentially for an extended time. That is why it is prudent to take steps now.
Take stock of the supplies you need now and over the next weeks to months. Talk to your suppliers. Place your orders allowing for extra delivery times due to possible delays. Find alternate suppliers if need be. Network with your colleagues and see if you can help each other through any disruptions in supply.
One Last Word
While it is spreading all around the globe, let’s hope Covid-19 will be behind us soon.
In the meantime, it is critical to take steps to prepare as best we can. At very minimum, take time to think through “what-if scenarios” and develop basic strategies to help you respond and JMD Systemics, a division of King Global Earth and Environmental Sciences Corporationcan help you to do so.
Last but not least, take all necessary steps to protect yourself and your staff while you help others. Stay safe!
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Michel Ouellette JMD, ll.l., ll.m.
A division of King Global earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation