4 Business Implications of Coronavirus and What You Can Do to Keep Your Company Healthy Steps you can take to keep your business working during the pandemic.
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I am a serial entrepreneur whose startups have been at the mercy of recessions and the like. I won't sugarcoat it — it can be scary, especially if you're already strapped for cash. Really, every aspect of your business operations may be affected by the coronavirus in some capacity. Maybe you noticed a supply, workplace or sales disruption. Maybe you've noticed all three. Here are four of the biggest implications coronavirus is having on small businesses nationwide — and what you can do about it.
1. Decreased profits
While this pandemic rages, you'll likely notice a decrease in profits, especially if your business is located in a state that has closed restaurants and bars for dine-in customers. Whether your business is forced to close or not, consumer spending is dropping (if you take out the panicked shopping sprees on toilet paper and disinfectant products).
A sudden drop in profits is obviously not what you want to see. But there are steps you can take to keep your business healthy and make ends meet during this trying time. You can cut back on unnecessary expenses to offset the lowered profits. And if you're still coming up short when it comes to paying your bills, you may qualify for the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending program.
On March 12, the SBA announced that they would be offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to the coronavirus. Small businesses can apply for these low-interest loans to cover payroll, accounts payable, fixed debt, or other expenses. In addition to having a low interest rate (3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits), the loans offer long-term repayment plans.
2. Impacted workplace productivity
As isolation increases, you might find more of your employees are staying home.
School closings and potential daycare closings might leave your employees with no other choice but to stay home and watch their kids. And if your employees come down with the coronavirus disease or must care for a loved one who has, they'll need to stay home, too.
Long story short, your workplace productivity may be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Keep in mind that on March 14, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed in the House of Representatives—with the president's support. If it passes in the Senate, the bill would require employers to provide both paid leave benefits and paid sick leave to employees.
Another provision of the House bill is a tax credit for small- and medium-sized businesses, worth the full amount of paid sick leave or paid leave given to employees. This coronavirus small business relief measure hopes to offset some of the increased costs employers would have by paying for sick time.
But back to the issue of impacted workplace productivity. If your employees are isolating themselves at home, you're going to notice a downward spike in things getting down at work. Or are you?
One popular method to combat this issue is giving your employees the opportunity to work remotely. A number of big companies—including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon—are requiring their employees to work from home rather than coming into the office.
And the remote work model isn't just reserved for the big wigs. Most businesses with the means to do so are transitioning their employees to remote work during this pandemic.
Not only can moving toward a temporary remote workplace model keep productivity up, but it can also limit the spread of the virus. If you do let employees work from home, set up a remote work policy that details your expectations.
3. Supply disruptions
Coronavirus implications have become a ripple effect. As more employees stay home and more businesses temporarily close their doors, you may have trouble accessing supplies.
In one study, 75% of companies saw a disruption in their supply chains due to the coronavirus. If your orders are impacted by coronavirus, you might notice either a delay in receiving supplies or the temporary inability to get supplies altogether.
To keep your business healthy, you might consider giving yourself plenty of time when ordering new supplies, looking into alternative supplies, pursuing new manufacturers, or using lean manufacturing.
4. Disruptions to in-person events
On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they recommend organizers cancel or postpone in-person events consisting of 50 people or more (until mid-May). Although this doesn't apply to day-to-day operations (i.e., you can still have 50 or more people in your business), it does squelch other business-related events.
You'll likely notice that conferences, conventions, or other similar events are temporarily called off during this time. You may have to adjust your business trips (e.g., flying to meet a potential vendor), too.
But don't worry. You can still keep your business healthy, even if your in-person events are called off. The beauty of technology is that it keeps us all connected.
As an alternative to in-person conferences or meetings, you can conduct business as normal over the phone or using video conferencing tools. Virtual meetings provide a great opportunity for you to stay in touch during this time of social distancing.