Proper planning and preparation can help your business stay safe, and perhaps even profitable, in times of trouble. Developing a plan today helps prevent major problems tomorrow. And if you’re scrambling to figure out what you need to do now to manage Corvid-19 impacts to your business, read on and start implementing your business continuity plan now.
What is a business continuity plan?
The overall goal of a business continuity plan is to keep employees and customers safe, protect physical property and, ideally, limit the total downtime of your business and enable you to come back strong when the situation is over.
To start, you need to identify all the potential risks and develop an action plan to manage each risk. You should have plans in place for things such as natural disasters that occur in your business’ location. You should also have a plan to address sudden emergencies such as epidemics, but unlike large corporations, smaller business tend not to be able to plan for every eventuality.
If you’re facing a threat or emerging crisis such as Corvid-19, develop a plan ASAP. Prepare for the worst, and don’t worry about being overdramatic. If the situation turns out to be less catastrophic than your plan anticipated, no problem. If you assume all will be well, and it isn’t – you are more likely to be impacted than the person who planned for a disaster that never happened.
Identify Potential Disasters
A disaster is any type of accident or catastrophe which causes damage and risks lives. It can be natural or man-made.
Many disasters, especially natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados and floods, are specific to certain locations. You’ll need to identify the potential risks for any location where you have stores, offices, employees or even suppliers and other third-party support.
Other types of disasters can occur just about anywhere. Practically any business, public-facing or otherwise, has a risk of fire, flooding or an epidemic like Corvid-19.
Develop a Plan
In general, your plan should include the following:
- Employee contact information
- Instructions on who employees should check in with and who they should contact for up-to-date information about the business.
- Work at home plan that suits your business – for example, if a disaster is developing, employees should begin taking their laptop, files, etc. home at night.
- Data backup plan so that your essential data is protected and accessible remotely. Cloud storage and cloud backup plans should be reviewed. If you are backing up, check that the backup is easily accessible and up-to date.
- Along with a backup plan, consider putting any files that you may immediately need, and those that are critical to your business, on a portable drive. Accessing one or two files from a huge backup in the cloud can take a long time.
- Cut your spending, eliminate unnecessary purchases, scale back where you can and figure out what your business revenues are likely to look like if nothing changes regarding the epidemic in a month, three months, and even six months out. Based on your projections, create a financial survival plan.
- Consider how you can change the way you do business to meet current needs. How much can you do or move online? Do you need to get an ecommerce site up and running ASAP? What can you offer to make a time of social distancing easier? Some businesses can adapt and offer goods and services online, others should simply focus on getting through the next several months.
You’ll likely need ready access to funds pay basic bills and employees/vendors. You may need to have enough to cover several months of slow-to-no business activity.
As reported by smallbiztrends.com, "27% of businesses expect the coronavirus to have a moderate to high impact on their revenue. Another 30% expect the virus to have a moderate to high impact on their supply chain. Even more revealing, 52% say they are taking measures to prepare for an economic slowdown. They are increasing pricing, changing suppliers, decreasing operational costs or protecting cash flow."
These are good steps for you to follow as well, especially if your business relies on imported items, tourism, food/beverages or most of your customers purchase in person
And since most small business don’t have the necessary working capital to cover all the expenses associated with an emergency, you should think about how to access funding to help your business survive – and enable you to capitalize on any potential opportunities - during this time. You can count on One Park Financial; we help owners of small and mid-sized businesses access funding options that meet their needs, during good times and bad.
Stay informed on Covid-19 with updates from the CDC
News and help for small business owners from the SBA
Links to state health agencies can be found here
p> And see One Park Financial's page of Covid-19 resources for small businesses.