After the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic, small businesses had to adjust their operations in order to accommodate the expected changes. As a result, most of them are working with their communities to contain and mitigate the spread of the disease. While such efforts are commendable, the experience has made most owners of small companies realize that they need emergency interventions. This means developing strategies or survival tactics that can help the businesses deal with shocks that result from pandemics such as the Coronavirus.
Ways small businesses can mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic
1. Develop an effective communication strategy.
At this stage of the pandemic, many people are still in fear and unsure of what they need to do. Panic and anxiety, however, will not make things better for your business. What you can do is be open about the crisis that the globe is facing. A good place to start is by holding regular briefs with your employees. Here you can discuss what is happening and share with them the advice that experts are giving on how to handle the pandemic. You can also outline the measures that the business is taking to ensure the safety of every employee and reassure your employees that everything will be okay. If your employees are worried about their jobs, try to encourage them by assuring them that you will do all you can to retain them.
2. Play your role in limiting the spread of the virus.
Health experts have revealed that containing the range of Coronavirus is critical in managing it since it spreads through bodily fluids (and the air). This means that every business, small or big, has a role to play in addressing this global pandemic, and it should play its part. As a result, you should ensure that employees who have reported symptoms similar to those of the virus remain at home in isolation. Where necessary, provide such employees with everything they need to work remotely. This will reduce the risk of other employees contracting the virus, something that will make it difficult for experts to contain the disease.
As a small firm, you are also in a position to encourage behavioral change in your employees to combat the spread of the virus. Make it possible for employees to disinfect all surfaces at the workplace to ensure that all potential viruses are killed before anyone else contracts the disease. It is also essential to discourage employees from shaking hands and being in large groups since such situations increase the risk of contracting the virus.
3. Review the location of your employees:
The virus is spreading quickly across the globe and as a small business; you must know where each of your employees is. With national and local governments providing data on regions that are most affected, small firms need to know how such trends affect their operations. Accounting for every employee will allow you to put in place measures that ensure your employees are safe from the virus and that those who may be infected are quarantined. If there are travel plans for your employees, you might need to review, reschedule and if necessary, cancel them to minimize exposure. Develop and communicate clear policies that everyone must follow while in the office or while in self-quarantine.
4. Assess your supply chain.
As a small business, you are likely to experience significant supply chain disruptions hence the need to evaluate them early. To minimize losses, you need to assess your current supply chain and identify possible interruptions that you may encounter in different stages of the pandemic. Start by assessing the supplies that are most critical for the running of your business and then focus on the complementary ones. You should then develop contingency measures to address the expected disruptions in the supply chain to ensure that your business can continue operating even during the difficult times. You can minimize your losses by addressing the expected supply chain issues as early as possible.
5. Consider reviewing your business model.
The pandemic presents an opportunity for small businesses to rethink their business models and adapt where necessary. For instance, health professionals are advising the public to avoid large gatherings since they might expose them to higher risks of contracting the virus. Reacting to such news, small businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries have the opportunity to consider offering online services. Small companies should make it possible for customers to order meals or goods online. Once the customer has placed an order, small firms should make sure to deliver high-quality products in order to maintain their usual sales. Online shopping reduces the risk of people being exposed to the virus.
6. Review your crisis and continuity plans.
As a small business, it might be time to revisit any crisis measures that you had put in place for times like this. Most companies often have emergence plans, and it is time you align them with the current crisis. If your business does not have an emergency plan, it might be the right time to develop and implement one. You should also consider integrating technology into business operations to enable your employees to work remotely in order to reduce the chances of infection.
7. Manage other business risks too.
It is easy for small businesses to focus on the dangers posed by a pandemic and forget about all the other risks. Although the Coronavirus is currently a significant threat to small businesses, surviving it should not eliminate the need for your business to put contingent measures for other risks. Some of the dangers that small companies must be on the lookout for are cybersecurity, poor management, and stiff competition among many others.
8. Prepare for the expected crisis.
Although the Coronavirus is currently ravaging through the world, any small business should focus on the next crisis that is likely to follow after the pandemic is contained. This is because the world is expected to experience a global recession shortly, and your small business must start preparing for it. If your projections indicate that your business is likely to suffer huge losses, it might be time to start laying down mitigation measures that you will need to keep it afloat. If you have loans that need to be serviced, for instance, consider talking to your creditors and renegotiating the terms to minimize the risk of default.
Covid-19 has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, implying that nobody really knows what will happen in the next few days or months. As such, small businesses must take all the necessary steps to protect their employees and ensure that the spread is minimal or absent. For small businesses to survive, their owners and management must deal with the risks posed by the pandemic effectively. If you mitigate the risks and threats that your business faces, you will recover quickly after the crisis is over. You should also check if the national and local governments have support packages to help small businesses deal with the threat. Taking advantage of such packages could help you minimize losses and enhance productivity once the crisis is over.