Coping with Covid-19

So, this is our new Covid-19 reality. Many small businesses are temporarily surviving with some or all the staff working from home. Some are closed with dim prospects for ever reopening. 

Some are even flourishing, if their products or services are in greater demand now than they were in February, like florists, take-out only food shops, commercial cleaning firms and … liquor stores.  

The rest of us just hunker down and wait for this crisis to pass so we can get back to as much normal as we’ll ever see again. 

While the scope and severity of this pandemic caught most of us by surprise, the next one better not. So, create a crisis plan for dealing with the next one and surviving it. Here are some potential components of that plan:

  1. Check with your business insurance provider. While many business interruption policies exclude pandemics, some might. Determine if more and/or better insurance coverage is available and makes sense to protect your business.
  1. Develop a detailed process for converting parts or all of your operations to staff working from home. This won’t work for most manufacturers unless they are producing essential products, but parts of the business might be able to function remotely. And create safe social distancing for those people still working on site.
  1. Consider your current staff. If you anticipate losing some people who won’t be available when the crisis is passed, start thinking about where you would look for replacements. If you have a file of unsolicited but worthy resumes, reach out to those people to see how they’re doing … just in case. Even consider scanning the primary job boards to see who is out there.
  1. Determine if your company can switch gears and produce medical supplies needed to battle a future pandemic. If so, create a process for that conversion.
  1. Create a crisis communication plan for reaching out to your customers. Since the pandemic has only been affecting what we do for less that two months, it’s not too late to check in with them if you haven’t already done so. Ask how they’re doing and what they’re doing differently.
  1. If your business still provides some products or services, let customers know what you can do for them and follow up with an email. If you had to stop completely, indicate when you think you might be open again, even if it’s a big guess. If you’ve identified sources of relief or resources, share that information. Depending on what you discussed, plan to check back in with them periodically during the quarantine period.  

A crisis of this scope and magnitude can bring out the best of us. It can also bring out the worst. Do what you can now to cope with it and be better prepared for the next one so you bring out the best in you and your team. No excuses next time.

‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger!’  Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th century German philosopher, poet and influential scholar