I wanted to check-in on how you’re feeling in the midst of the Coronavirus and all that goes along with this pandemic. I know it’s all over the news. It’s all over stock market reports. And preventative measures have been ramping in the U.S. and around the world. With all the coverage and (rightful) concern, it’s easy for panic to set in…
But, I don’t want you to panic. I want to share with you my observations and advice as a fellow small business owner (General PSA, I’m not a healthcare provider or economist, remember that)…
Here’s the thing. Moments like this really highlight the interconnectedness of even the smallest company to something that affects the world. And when faced with a crisis like this, we can do two things:
- Panic, complain, and panic some more.
- Observe, assess, and implement.
I’m of the mind that we should do the latter. Here’s what I mean. You have an opportunity to assess how connected (and exposed) your business is to global crises. And taking advantage of this opportunity can really help you long after the Coronavirus epidemic calms down.
I want you to examine your business in two areas:
What are you doing to protect your team? Your employees are going to look for leadership on this — whether or not you think it’s important, THEY think it’s important and you need to show them you care.
- Do you have a safety team to discuss how to reduce the transmission of any virus or illness?
- How can you update or implement safety signage, remote work policies, or sick leave?
- When was the last time you reviewed your safety protocols inside your organization? Not just on “safe handwashing”, but on evacuation, equipment, or first aid protocol?
Some of the owners I work with have put together a safety response protocol for their team — and then actually used it when they’ve been asked by banks and major customers what their continuity plans are if the Coronavirus were to worsen. These aren’t just issues that are important to our current moment. Going over these questions with your team has the long term benefit of protecting their health in the LONG TERM. It goes a long way in communicating to your team that you care about them and their health.
2. Supply Chain Exposure
What and who are you dependent on? One thing we’ve clearly seen is that when China sneezes, the whole world gets sick — and supply chain risk and revenue risk become the biggest issues.
- Have you lined up back up suppliers? Where else can you source?
- Are there alternative ways to produce your product that you can sub in?
- Make calls to your most critical suppliers and ask “What are you doing for coronavirus? How will this affect you?”
It’s all about having options available to you — not just now, but always.
Some changes WILL become permanent because you learn how to do your business differently. These things might actually become good long-term best practices to control your cost and downside risk when there’s a sudden shock to the system.
There’s always going to be things going on that could disrupt your business, things you can’t always see coming. Think of the shocks 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina sent out. As business owners, if we want to remain viable, we need to be prepared for these setbacks. We cannot become paranoid or apocalyptic. But we also need to keep an eye on how we can adjust and adapt to be prepared. This is common sense — but common sense isn’t so common. And a moment like this can make you realize “Boy, we haven’t done this in a while and we should’ve done it. Let’s get it done.”
And friends, one more thing. If you’re concerned about sustaining growth in these uncertain times, I’d love to have a short conversation with you. No pressure, no cost, no strings.
Just one question: how can I help you? I’m looking forward to figuring out how we can keep you growing.
And remember DON’T PANIC!