A 10-step COVID-19 plan for small business

It is without a doubt some of the most unsettling times the world has seen with the COVID-19 outbreak continuing to spread and create havoc around the globe. With entire countries in lockdown, supermarkets struggling to keep up with the demand and gatherings over 500 people banned how long can we expect this situation to continue for?

Experts are predicting at least six months of restricted socialising, banned public events and possibly another six months to recover so the reality is this nightmare isn’t blowing over anytime soon.

Business owners need to plan ahead, protect cashflow and make sure you are aware of any government grants or relief packages that may be able to assist.

Where do we start?

Start thinking about how you can operate your business from home.

  1. How is your NBN connection, can it withstand the extra traffic if all of a sudden everyone is home on the network. You may need to look into a back-up mobile data package to reduce any delays.
  2. Reschedule any face to face meetings to online meetings using software such as Zoom or Uber Conference. Get familiar with your options and do a test run, making sure sound and visuals are in working order.
  3. Postpone any unnecessary travel.
  4. Re-strategise. Every business is in the same boat now, planned conferences, opportunities and potential sources of revenue have been thrown into disarray. The most successful businesses will pivot quickly and find alternate ways to focus resources and plan ahead rather than focusing on the missed opportunities. If you can’t see your potential customers, how do you get in front of them? Think online strategies and how you can maximise this opportunity.
  5. If manufacturing overseas, keep on top of any closures and disruption to production. Plan ahead, order enough stock to see you through potential closures.
  6. Check on shipment schedules, there is likely to be an increased time to receive goods. Allow for this and add it into in forecasting schedules.
  7. If you are an e-commerce-based business, check your distribution chain is taking measures to protect their staff and a potential outbreak in their facility. Ask about what processes they have in place to deal with temporary closures, what will happen with your orders. Communicate any of these potential delays if and when necessary to your customers.
  8. Speak to your suppliers or contractors and be aware of their plans if they to move to a lockdown environment. Can they still work on your projects from home? Make sure you take necessary steps to ensure this is all smooth sailing.
  9. Think about childcare – do you have anyone to assist with childcare if the schools were to suddenly close for an extended period. Can you arrange some help so you can keep on top of your business?
  10. As an employer, how can you support your staff and contractors under these circumstances? Reassure them, find ways they can work remotely and have regular meetings via video software channels so everyone can still feel supported and part of the team. Pay your contractors on time or sooner if finances can allow for it. We need to all keep supporting small business.

Rachael Ferguson, CEO, Synxsole

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