It is undeniable that the effects of the coronavirus outbreak are becoming worse for humankind. But the pandemic causes considerable damage to our economy too. The people will experience the effect gradually, and the outcome will affect every human being worldwide.
The outbreak is impacting all countries over the world differently. The USA, SPAIN, ITALY, FRANCE, UK, GERMANY, TURKEY, RUSSIA, IRAN, CHINA, are the top 10 countries which are mostly affected by the wrath of the coronavirus outbreak. Each of these countries has gone through a similar pattern of “disease phases”.
It is not possible to protect vulnerable citizens and reduce the damage of the economy if the concerned governments won’t take quick actions to handle the situation.
All over the world, healthcare providers and scientists are working day and night to find the cure to this pandemic.
It is uncertain when they will succeed. But federal governments are trying hard to treat patients properly and to keep the normal people physically and mentally safe.
To keep the economy strong, the business owners around the world need to be flexible and work hard. It is because they will face great financial damage which may be worse than the great recession more than a decade ago. And trust me, large businesses have started facing the effect already.
Small businesses are forced to scale down and close their business temporarily as due to lockdown the consumers are staying at home.
As per federal government instruction, people should stay away from any type of place where they can create a large crowd and spread the infection. COVID-19 outbreak has blocked the incoming cash to multiple small businesses, especially restaurants, small shops, salons, spas, and many more small shops, not only in America but all over the world.
So…what’s a small business owner should do?
To protect your small business and employees, being an owner you need to perform a few important measures. Let’s check them out below.
Protecting your small business during the coronavirus outbreak
Protecting your small business during such a hard time means preparing yourself and the business to face the worst situation and informing your employees about the actual picture.
1. Create a plan
Due to the pandemic, more small businesses are closing their doors to protect their business assets and employees. The main precaution many small business owners should take is to create an emergency plan to prepare themselves. If being the owner you haven’t created an emergency plan yet, it’s the best time to do so.
An emergency plan should contain your next steps that your business should follow if an outbreak damages your business. It also includes the measures you’re taking to protect your employees and small business before anything bad happens.
You plan must include the following information:
- Steps to protect your business
- Steps to protect your employees, both mentally and physically.
- Create mediums so that employees can contact you during emergency
- How to disinfect your small business operation and re-establish the system
You should follow the guidelines provided by the WHO. Being the owner of a small business, you should ensure that all of your employees are aware of the rules and follow them strictly. you must also prohibit physical meetings and non-essential travel.
2. Create a multi-functional team
Being the business owner you may create a dedicated team that can deal with multiple issues to manage the processes of the business. This way you may get proper help to maximize the health and safety of employees and your customers. The team should be managed by you or any similar senior person. The team should focus on this subject primarily:
- Employee safety and management
- Contingency planning
- Production, marketing or sales department issues
- Any other important aspects related to business operations
You should provide specific goals to the team with a certain deadline
3. Provide a work from home facility
If you don’t have work from home facility in your business, this is the best time to implement one. With the increasing coronavirus outbreak in every state, it is not safe for the management and the employees to gather in the office and work. It is the best alternative to keep employees from coming into the office and maintaining social distancing.
If it is possible for you, consider implementing this facility asap. The employees may work with more focus and dedication if being the owner you think about their safety and take this measure.
4. Re-evaluate the cleaning process
We are now dealing with a virus that spreads through touch. It can’t infect people through air or water, it needs a surface to stay alive.
So, if you have a small business that requires the presence of your employees, then you should focus on sanitizing your business place during this situation. Trust me, your employees will feel safer.
So, find out how often your place is being cleaned, and make arrangements to clean up your business place as frequently as possible. To make your business squeaky clean, you need to focus on these aspects:
- Check out the frequency on normal cleaning
- Arrange coronavirus fighting hand sanitizers, soaps, disinfectants, toilet papers
- Ask employees to sanitize hands every hour. They should disinfect their desks too
- Allow sick employees to take rest at home
Keeping your workplace clean may give a positive boost to your employees who are working during such pandemic situations. As I said earlier, the employees will also appreciate your effort to keep them safe and healthy.
5. Explore federal relief and private sector programs
The Federal government is providing their helping hands to help small businesses and individuals who are affected by COVID – 19 pandemic. They offer:
- Low-interest federal disaster loans by Small Business Administration (SBA).
- An employer tax credit equal to 100% of the benefits.
- Federal income tax deferment till April 15.
Facebook also announced it would provide $100 million in grants to small businesses.
6. Coping with the debt burden
If your business place is rented, then as the owner you may ask your landlord for more time to pay your rent. Different banks are offering easy repayment options to any loans. The education department also announced the CARES act and canceled all the interest from 17 March to 30 Sept for federal student loans.
But if you have bad credit and taken out any high-interest debts such as payday loans to improve your small business, then you should pay them back or consolidate payday loans with bad credit. Payday loans are the worst for any purpose, so try to avoid them next time.
Once you’ve fulfilled every guideline provided by CDC and the WHO, you may spread the information to your customers that you’ve modified your business policies and taken very good measures to protect your employees and customers.
Make sure to promote this information or any important updates about your business operations through your website, print media, social platforms, and via visual media, if possible.