In case you have been without WiFi the last couple of weeks, and haven’t watched the news, our country is in a bit of a crisis.
The Coronavrus Pandemic of 2020 is knocking us off of our feet.
What seemed like a controlable virus just a few short weeks ago, is now a worldwide pandemic.
What does that mean? It basically means that the Coronavirus is a disease that is prevalent all over the world.
The challenge with this virus is that it is a new strain and the healthcare system does not (currently) have treatments or vaccines available.
This is why so many people, particularly those in the high-risk category are so freaked out.
Small businesses are starting to feel the impact of this virus as more and more Americans are paying attention to the risks associated with this deadly virus.
The CDC is recommending no gatherings of more than 50 people for the next 8 weeks! Wow!
So what do small businesses do when foot traffic stops because customers are trying to control the spread of the virus by staying home?
These are unprecedented times and no one really has a good answer to this.
The stock market has plunged almost 30% in just a short period of time.
People are panicking, hoarding and trying to figure out what this all means – for the short-term and the long-term.
8 Tips For Your Small Business As We Endure The Caronavirus Pandemic of 2020
I know its easier said than done, but we need to take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
Panic doesn’t solve problems but does cause unnecessary emotional responses – that lead to bad decisions.
Stay calm so you can respond and make decisions with a clear head.
2. Follow CDC Guidelines
We’ve heard it so often that we are tired of hearing it. But, these guidelines help to keep us all well!
- Stay home if you are in a high-risk group. Age 60 and over and people with chronic health problems – Heart Disease, Diabetes or Lung Disease;
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water;
- Avoid touching your face – nose, mouth and eyes;
- Use social distancing practices – 6 feet away from other people;
- Stay at home if you are sick;
- Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze;
- Throw away tissues after you blow your nose;
- Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
You can learn more about CDC recommendations here.
3. Take Advantage Of The Down Time
Most businesses (other than grocery stores) are noticing less foot traffic as customers are trying to avoid crowds.
Take advantage of this down time and play catch up on those projects that have been on the back burner.
4. Help Ease Employee Anxiety
There are not many people who are not experiencing anxiety with the daily barage of panic in our culture.
Now is the time to reassure your employees that everything will be ok.
Give them a realistic picture of the fact that we are going into a few months of challenging times but there will be a rebound.
If at all possible, commit to keeping them on payroll and get creative with projects to keep them busy.
For instance, have idle employees clean out storage areas, file cabinets or do some spring cleaning in the office. Make it a party and bring in pizza.
5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Now is not the time to hide in your office.
Get with the workers and communicate your concerns and challenges with the business.
Let employees use their unique perspective to offer ideas and solutions to customer problems and how to save expenses during a business slowdown.
Share daily updates as more information becomes available.
6. Be Flexible With Employees
School cancelations have become the norm instead of the exception during this pandemic.
This situation makes it challenging for working parents to care for their kids.
Not every job can be done from home but for those that are portable, allow employees the flexibility to work from home.
Communicate expectations for that privilege and give them the tools to be successful.
For instance, set an expectation that accessing the business network is only done through a secure WiFi network.
The last thing you need is for an unsuspecting employee to get hacked while working at the coffee shop.
7. Learn About Available Help
We all know that it is the customers who pay the bills and our salaries.
Washington is aware and wants to help small businesses during this uniquely challenging time by offering relief to small businesses.
SBA will provide disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.
The SBA announced its SBA Coronavirus Disaster Relief Lending is available to small businesses during this temporary slowdown.
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere;
You can learn more about how the SBA Coronavirus Disaster Relief Lending works here.
8. Think Long Term
I know its easy for me to say don’t panic and think long-term, but it is important to focus on riding this wave of uncertainty and not lose sight of your long-term plan.
It is difficult to do that when you see the deposits dry up and the cash flow come to a screaching halt, but don’t quit.
Access any help available to get through this short-term event and work your plan for the long-term.
It is times like this that we realize all of those things that we take for granted.
Food, toilet paper and hand sanitizer!
Make a point of demonstrating great moral character by controlling your urge to panic, supporting your valuable employees through this crisis, and focusing on getting through this short-term situation so you can achieve your long-term business plan!
I promise we will get through this and I pray you have a story to tell that shows how you survived the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 instead of caving to its challenges and financial pressures!