The COVID-19 epidemic has brought unique and difficult challenges to businesses large and small, all around the world. In these stressful times, employees are looking to their employers for leadership and guidance. However, it can be difficult to know how your business should be handling this crisis. In this article, I’ll outline nine basic steps that I think all entrepreneurs should take to protect their business during the COVID-19 outbreak. With a little bit of planning and a whole lot of determination, I’m convinced that we’ll be able to come out of this crisis and lead our businesses to continued success.
9 Ways to Protect Your Business During the COVID-19 Outbreak
1 Create an emergency plan
Even if you never had an emergency plan previously, this incident has shown all entrepreneurs that we need to plan for the worst. Creating a carefully constructed emergency plan can help you minimize the impact of any potential future incidents on your business.
An emergency plan should cover how you will protect your employees, guidance for what to do if a disaster or crisis strikes while employees are at work, how they can get in touch with you at any time, and how your business will function at decreased capacity.
2 Let your employees work from home to protect your business while COVID-19 outbreak
As many people are discovering during this outbreak, quite a few jobs in our society can be done remotely. It’s likely that most of your employees already have high-speed internet access at home, and many traditional office jobs don’t really need to be done in a communal office space.
Obviously, not all jobs can be done from home. But if you have the ability, it’s a great idea to have as many of your employees working remotely as possible. If it works out without too many disruptions, you might even consider implementing this policy permanently, which could save you a ton of money in office overhead costs.
To help you with this transition — whether it’s temporary or not — invest in work-from-home productivity apps like Zoom and Slack to keep your team productive. Also, it is important that your employees know the basics of cybersecurity and staying safe online as lot of them might start working from their home laptops and PC.
3 Share information openly with your employees
It’s incredibly important to establish open lines of communication with your employees during any crisis, and it needs to be a two-way street. Dictating policies to your people isn’t enough — they need to know that they can speak their minds to you at any time.
4 Implement additional cleaning procedures
One lesson we’re all learning from COVID-19 is that we could all be implementing more thorough cleaning procedures, both at home and at work.
Whether we ever see another outbreak like this or not, it’s clearly a good idea to increase the frequency of cleanings, keep hand sanitizer available at all times, and of course, inform employees that they are not to come to work if they’re feeling sick.
5 Use federal, state, and local relief programs to protect your business while COVID-19 outbreak
There are a variety of relief options for businesses of any size. The federal government is offering low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA), along with a variety of tax credits and deferments.
In addition, state and local government entities across the country are implementing their own relief programs to supplement the federal government’s efforts. You should look into all of these options and apply for everything you’re eligible for. Don’t let pride get in the way of securing the assistance you need!
6 Figure out how to handle your supply chain (both upstream and downstream)
The coronavirus outbreak is generating lots of discussion around potential supply chain issues. Right now, no one really knows what the long-term effects of coronavirus on the global supply chain will be, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take action.
With this in mind, you should start having conversations now with your suppliers. To discuss how they can help you keep the items you need to run your business in stock. In addition, you should welcome these conversations with your customers as well. Ask them what you can do to help keep them supplied with your products. How you can work together to keep generating consistent income.
7 Determine whether you’ll need to lay anyone off
The last thing you want to do is surprise any of your employees with a mandatory layoff. The better option is to try to work something out with them before this situation arises. Instead of forcing employees into layoffs, perhaps you could work something out where they can work part-time for a while.
Every business relies on its people to keep the gears moving. Just because there’s a global crisis on our hands does not mean your obligations. To those people are any lesser than they were previously. Don’t force them into a situation that doesn’t work for both parties.
8 Layout plans for short-term, medium-term, and long-term interruptions to protect your business while COVID-19 outbreak
At the time of this writing, we really don’t have any idea how long it will take for our society. Therefore, our businesses — to return to normal. Therefore, it’s a good idea to map out how you can keep your business afloat in three different scenarios. Short-term, medium-term, and long-term.
First, figure out how you can keep your operations as normal as possible for a period of several weeks. Then, take a look at what it would take to keep your head above water for a couple of months. Finally, think about how your business model could shift if the pandemic stretches. On into the summer, or even into the fall.9 Hire a registered agent service
If you’ve read my website, you’re aware that I’m a big fan of using registered agent services, for a variety of reasons. In times like these, I think registered agent services are even more valuable.
With so many businesses interrupted right now. It’s less likely than ever that you’re actually spending all standard business hours at your place of business. Which you need to do if you serve as your own registered agent.
Just because there’s an epidemic going on doesn’t mean that lawsuits simply stop happening. The state also still needs to send reminders for annual reports and other deadlines. If you have a registered agent service, you won’t need to worry about missing any of these deliveries. As your registered agent will receive them on your behalf.
These are undoubtedly tough times for every entrepreneur, myself included. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t had any sleepless nights wondering. What could happen to my business if the COVID-19 outbreak gets worse?
However, these nine steps can help you protect your business and your employees from the current pandemic. While also insulating you from any future business interruptions. Don’t forget that we’re all in this together, and we’ll rise out of it together as well!
About Aaron Franklin: Frustrated by all the options and aggressive online sales tactics, Aaron Franklin created BestLLCServices.com to cut the clutter and bring clarity to entrepreneurs starting an LLC. His focus is on reviewing and comparing the top LLC formation services. While also crafting free resources that help you start a business. Aaron and his team sincerely believe finding the right service and free information should be a simple process. So entrepreneurs can get started with minimal friction.