As the coronavirus continues to spread from country to country, and now state to state, many independent business owners are starting to feel its effects, both indirectly and directly.
My organization, American Management Services, operates at the national level, so we have been closely monitoring, researching, educating and preparing our employees, and our clients for what could be a significant threat to their health and business.
Here are the procedures we’ve developed to help you protect your employees and your business.
1) Protect your employees and their families – Nothing else matters!
It’s important that you communicate regularly with your staff, both through email and in person. Let employees know that this is a fluid situation so be alert to further communication. Share the latest information about the virus, and your company’s procedures.
Encourage your staff to stay as informed as possible. Reminding your employees to use common sense to protect themselves and their families. Follow CDC guidelines related to the coronavirus.
Put bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in all common areas of your business, with posted reminders that staff should wash their hands 12-15 times per day, avoiding handshakes and touching their faces. Download CDC posters, and display them prominently.
If any employee is feeling even slightly under the weather, they NEED TO stay home! It’s better to play it safe than to put their coworker’s, customer’s and vendor’s health at risk. Contact your doctor before going to the hospital.
Lastly, set up an organizational phone tree, which involves creating a list of all the internal contacts. Include your management team, department heads, and all employees so communication will be seamless.
2) Protect your business
Assign a point person to stay in contact with your suppliers and vendors, making sure this a daily occurrence. They need to keep an eye out for any interruptions in deliveries and shipping. Daily communication on product flow & delivery schedules should be closely maintained.
Pay extra attention to your top accounts, following the 80-20 rule: That 20% who provides 80% of your business need to be contacted every-single-day. Verify that they are functional, and maintaining their normal work schedules.
Check for alternative sources of materials in the event of supply chain interruption. Monitor shipping methods and delivery routes to make sure shipments aren’t affected.
I cannot emphasize this enough, so I’ll say it again: Stay in regular contact with key accounts, customers and vendors.
3) Protect your liquidity: We want you to anticipate the worse-case scenario & be prepared for it.
You need to be communicating with your banker.
If there’s a shutdown, what will happen? Do you have enough liquidity to survive a 7-14 day shutdown?
Will automatic payments or withdrawals still go through? Will debits and ACH payments still occur on time?
Do you have enough cash or liquidity on hand to continue functioning, and pay employees?
I also recommend talking with your insurance agent to see if business interruption insurance is included with your policy.
When it comes to your business, you need to think about the coronavirus in three ways:
AMerican Management services
If you have any questions about protecting your business against the threat of the coronavirus, or any other natural disaster, please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @moscasmallbiz.
Best wishes folks and stay safe.