There’s no doubt about the fact that the impact of the COVID – 19 outbreak is getting worse for all of us. The outbreak not only affected our physical and mental health but also did considerable damage to our economy. Worldwide, the common masses are suffering from the economic impact, and it may also trigger a recession shortly.
The outbreak caused heavy damage to all the countries differently. The USA, BRAZIL, RUSSIA, SPAIN, UK, ITALY, FRANCE, GERMANY, INDIA, TURKEY, are the top 10 countries which are greatly affected by the wrath of the pandemic.
To keep the economy strong, the business owners in every corner of the world must work hard and initiate a proper plan. This way it will be possible to support business entities and people associated with it. Large businesses are already experiencing the impact and they have closed their doors. As a result many people became unemployed within a short period. Small businesses are also forced to shut down their business temporarily.
COVID-19 outbreak has blocked the monetary turnover to multiple small businesses, especially small shops, restaurants, salons, grocery stores, spas, and many more retail shops, all over the world.
So…the question is…how do small businesses survive through this situation?
To protect their small business and employees, owners must take some serious measures.
Common Issues Small businesses may encounter:
- Capital access
- Workforce capacity
- Inventory and supply chain shortfalls
- Facility remediation/Clean-up costs
- Insurance coverage issues
- Changing market demand
- Proper plan
*Data courtesy – sba.gov
Protect your small business during the COVID – 19 pandemic
Start with a solid emergency plan
Due to the outbreak, most of the small businesses are forced to shut their operations. It is because they need to protect their assets and employees in the very first place. But, small business owners should have also created emergency plans to prepare themselves for the economical crunch.
An emergency plan should include the next moves that a business should follow if the outbreak damages productivity. It should also include the steps that the business should take to protect their employees.
The emergency plan must include the following:
- Steps to protect the business operations
- Steps to protect the employees
- Building a communication medium so that employees may get in touch with the management easily during an emergency
- Disinfecting the business premises or the place of operation and re-establish the system
- Prohibiting meetings in general, and cancel non-essential travel schedules
The business must follow the guidelines given by the WHO. All working employees should be aware of the rules and follow them without further delay.
Build a support team for multiple operations
Small business owners may build a dedicated support team that may deal with multiple operations of the business. This way the management may get the best support to increase the health care and safety of the employees, as well as the customers. The team should be under the surveillance of the higher management. The team should focus on these aspects mainly:
- Employee safety and op-ordination
- Contingency planning (if required)
- Production, marketing or sale/service-oriented problems
- Other crucial business-oriented issues
The management may also assign specific goals to the different persons of that team. With a proper improvement in cleanliness and safety, the value of business will also be increased
Focus on the cleaning process
A small business that needs the presence of their employees, should focus on proper sanitizing the workplace. This way the employees may feel safe and secure while working.
So, business owners or the management must analyze the cleanliness of the workplace and take steps to make it clean as frequently as possible. Following aspects must be considered:
- The frequency of normal cleaning
- Enough stock of hand sanitizers, soaps, disinfectants, toilet papers, and water.
- Employees should sanitize hands frequently. They should disinfect their desks, wear masks all the time, too
- Allow sick employees to take sick leaves
Keeping the workplace or office clean will promote a positive vibe to the employees and they will appreciate the effort to keep them secure.
Provide a work from home facility
If due to the increasing coronavirus outbreak, if it is no longer possible to run the business operations properly, it is best to arrange work-from-home facilities for the employees. This is the best alternative to keep employees safe, maintain the social distancing, and also remain operational during the lockdown.
Small businesses should consider implementing this benefit asap. The employees will be encouraged to work with more focus and dedication and can also save time for families.
Handle the debt burden efficiently
If the business is running from a commercially rented place, then the owner may face difficulties paying the rent for the time being. In this situation, the owner may request the landlord extend the rent payment date.
During this difficult situation, several commercial banks are offering easy low-interest loans to borrowers. They also provide easy repayment options to their existing borrowers. If the business has some debts, there’s a chance to get some extended time to pay off that loan.
If the business owner has taken any unsecured debts such as high-interest payday loans or personal loans, cash advances to improve the business, then they must negotiate with the creditors to set up easy repayment options. If it is not possible to pay off the debt at all, then the owner may contact a non-profit debt management company that may suggest effective debt solutions.
Explore federal relief and private sector programs
The Federal government is helping small businesses who are affected by COVID – 19 pandemic. They are offering:
- Low-interest federal disaster loans by Small Business Administration (SBA).
- An employer tax credit equal to 100% of the benefits. Owners shouldn’t make any tax mistakes to get this benefit.
- Federal income tax deferment till April 15.
- 7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5,000,000 for eligible small businesses within the U.S. States and its territories.
- The express loan program provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years.
- Community Advantage loan pilot program allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000.
- The 504 loan program is designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention.
- Microloan program involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations, the maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.
- March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.
- (Data courtesy – sba.gov)
Facebook is providing $100 million in grants to small businesses.
The owner should fulfill every guideline provided by the CDC and the WHO. Make sure to promote such information or other important updates about your business operations through your website, social platforms, via print media or visual media.