There is absolutely no doubt that businesses are about to face a huge challenge concerning the corona virus pandemic. While the 2008 financial crash affected some businesses more than others, this crisis is leaving practically no sole trader, small business or large corporation unaffected.
Even if your business isn’t being damaged by recent events, those you deal with may find themselves in difficulty and that will surely have a knock-on effect. You might find orders drying up, customers not coming through the door of your bar or restaurant, invoices for deliveries not being paid or a whole host of other issues.
Unfortunately, corona virus could be with us for a while and do serious damage to local and global economies in the coming months.
So, what can your business do right now?
With such a fluid and potentially catastrophic event like the Covid-19 pandemic, all businesses need to start preparing themselves and put in measures that help them better able to cope.
We don’t quite know how quickly the virus is going to impact on businesses. Some, like our airlines, are already feeling huge pressure.
It’s important not to think that you will muddle through and it won’t affect you. If you need to put growth plans or investment on hold so that you have working capital available, then the time to do it is now. It’s a good idea to work with your accountant, if you have one, to explore all the options you will have available.
In the short term, avoid spending on your business unless it is necessary.
Not all businesses have a clear handle on their incoming and outgoing cash but it’s now important to review your accounts and see what resources you have available.
The Government want people to work from home as much as possible. For businesses that operate largely in an online world, this is relatively easy to set up nowadays. Even if you have limited resources at the moment, there are several tools that you can use to keep everyone in touch.
For those businesses that routinely use cloud services for their operation, it’s largely a matter of logging onto a computer terminal and keeping in contact. Many small businesses use this approach nowadays. If you have on-site IT and specialist software, however, things can be more challenging and the solution may mean opting for the best fit from what is currently available until things return to normal.
For businesses such as builders and restaurants, working from home isn’t an option. More draconian action from the Government will certainly impact these businesses more severely and a clear solution is not immediately obvious.
For any business that is still operating, maintaining hygiene is vital. That means making sure surfaces are properly cleaned and staff have the appropriate hand gels and follow strict processes to keep everyone safe.
Businesses that remain open will undoubtedly come across instances where certain staff need to self-isolate. Having a process in place to handle this is important, whether that’s through allowing remote working or providing sick pay for the time off.
The news is pretty fluid at the moment and seems to be changing hour on hour. While we’re writing this, for instance, we’re waiting for an update on the economic support that is going to be given to UK businesses. It’s vital to keep up to date with the latest news and take action when the advice changes.
Finally, it may seem obvious, but you should keep your employees as informed as possible and be open about what is going on. They are going to be worried themselves and they may also need to plan for their futures if the situation doesn’t improve.