It’s been more than a year since the coronavirus came on U.S. shore. It has upended our way of living and virtually paralyzed business and trade. We saw how a lot of establishments fold because of the pandemic’s adverse effects on the economy. People were left with no job nor financial security. Business owners struggled to keep their companies above water.
Some had to pivot, others adjusted their operations. And after a year of constantly adjusting to all the changes merited by the dreadful disease, we still have no clear playbook for it. However, certain things can be done as precautionary measures to help a business find its way through the pandemic and its effects.
While we still cannot foresee what the future holds for us as far as the pandemic is concerned, here are a few practical ways that business owners and managers can do to keep their businesses afloat during these hard times:
1. Reevaluate your current business continuity plans
At the very first sign of an epidemic or pandemic, you need to revisit your business continuity plans to see how you can make the necessary adjustments to keep your people safe and business secure. It should contain definitive steps that you can take in case you and your team are directly affected by its adverse effects.
For instance, if your main product is aseptic fruit puree, what steps can you take to either create a need for your product or pivot your business to help deliver what the community needs at this time?
2. Prioritize the health and safety of employees and customers
More than anything else, everyone’s health and safety are paramount at this time. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take care of yourself and the people around you. Place restrictions on yourself and make sure to always follow COVID-19 protocols set by the WHO and CDC. Keep track of the latest government announcements and constantly communicate with your staff.
If your business is considered essential, take the necessary precautions to keep your workplace as safe as it can be to minimize the risk of virus transmission. Implement frequent cleaning and sanitizing in the workplace. If you’re working with a lot of people, you can split the team into onsite personnel and remote workers or work in shifts.
It would also be beneficial if you connect with the hospitals and health centers in your area. Ask them about the different resources available to you and your people. You could also get a few ideas about how to properly respond in an emergency.
3. Be flexible and quick to adapt to the fast-paced changes
COVID-19 is not like anything we’ve faced before. As we tread uncharted territory, we’re also writing the playbook on how to deal with it. As we continue to discover new things about it, society tries to adapt to them. As a business owner or manager, you should maintain a certain degree of flexibility that allows you to quickly adapt to the fast-paced changes that take place.
4. Inform the employees, partners, vendors, clients, and the community about the changes that will be implemented
In any crisis, information and communication are crucial. As a business owner, employees look to you to be on top of things. You need to establish a clear line of communication between you and your people. There is no such thing as over-communicating at a time like this. The more detailed the communications are, the better.
While inter-company communications are important, you also need to reach out to and connect with the other people involved in your business. Suppliers, partners, clients, and the community you’re in are all keeping their ears to the ground to see what their options are. Whether you’re operating at full capacity now or have cut back on your operations, everyone involved will appreciate hearing about updates from you.
5. Create plans to address financial security
With COVID-19, we’re not just faced with a health crisis but also a financial crisis. Billions of dollars have been lost by industries worldwide because of shutdowns and lockdowns. It has brought grief to businessmen and professionals because of the financial instability it caused. You need to have a backup plan to sustain not just the business but the workers as well.
This is the time when having an emergency fund or insurance would come in handy. Reach out to financial experts and specialists to see how you can protect your business and people from experiencing financial lack.
To say that COVID-19 has changed the way we do business and ultimately, life, is an understatement. As we fight our way through this health crisis to keep our businesses and livelihoods protected, stay grounded but optimistic. Those around you will look to your leadership and how you respond can make a big difference in their own journey.