If you currently own or manage a small business, you’ve probably experienced an extremely high demand or you’re preparing for the worst – to be shuttered by law for a few weeks or longer.
In either case, your business needs a whopping dose of resilience right now. Here are four steps to safeguard your business and discover where you need to build resiliency.
1 – Protect Your Employees
The most important thing to do is to protect your employees. OSHA demands that we give them a safe working environment, and the definition of this just changed! If possible, make it mandatory for workers to work at home, and if not, get your workers protective gear and make sure your workplace is cleaned constantly.
There are brand new laws regarding sick leave; you will need to learn them and incorporate them into your policies.
If possible, try to continue paying your workers for as long as it’s safe for your business.
If you need to lay off workers, encourage them to pursue opportunities where demand has surged. As of this writing, Walmart is hiring 150,000 workers and Amazon is hiring 100,000 workers. Educate them to go where the demand is.
2 – Execute Your Business Continuity Plan
If you’re saying “What’s a business continuity plan?” right now, you’re not alone. Most small businesses don’t have one. If you have any kind of disaster plan in place, brush off the cobwebs and start from it.
A business continuity plan helps you create a process that you can follow before and after your company experiences a disaster of any kind. Many businesses have plans to recover from weather-related catastrophes, fire, and theft. These plans can be adapted to our new situation.
A business continuity plan can have many parts. For our current situation, cash flow planning can be an important first step. You can use multiple scenarios, for example, revenue levels, to determine how much cash you might need for the next few months.
You may need to evaluate inventory, supply chain, project backlogs, staffing, cash, and other areas of your business to project how things will change from normal operations. You will need to protect your various business functions – HR, IT, accounting, operations, and administration – during this time.
Once you’ve drilled down to the tactics of how you’ll move forward, you’re ready for the next step.
3 -- Communicate to Your Stakeholders
Are you open? Closed? Changed hours of business? Changed the way you greet clients? Changed your services? Added delivery services? Customers and prospects need to know, so post a notice on your website letting them know what your business’s situation is.
If you don’t, you’ll confuse your current customers and miss out on new business. Everyone is wondering what’s open and what’s not right now. And if you’re open, they’re wondering how you’ve changed your cleaning methods and other procedures to keep them safe.
You may also need to reach out to your suppliers to keep them informed of your plans.
4 – Think About Recovery
What will recovery look like when it comes? The good news about our current situation is that we have more time to plan than we would if a fire or weather brought things down suddenly. We also will not have a disruption in electricity, water, or the local supply chain in as severe an impact compared to a weather event.
What we may not have in this case is customers (or we’ll have too many of them). When customers finally start coming back, what will look different in our world? Will we need to operate differently? How will our services change?
In both the continuity plan and the recovery plan, we truly need to be innovative thinkers. We may need to evolve our business model to be something else that people want once we reopen.
Your Business Continuity Plan
If you need help building your resiliency, or even just projecting your cash flow for the next few months, please reach out and let us help.