Steps to Navigate Business Impact:
For your business: Prepare for negative economic impacts.
Capital: Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options so they have what they need when they need it. Create, confirm, or expand your line of credit. Explore the Small Business Administration's capital access resources.
Staffing: Develop staffing plans for varying levels of customers and revenue (what does an 80% scenario plan look like?). The US Dept of Labor provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to public health emergencies, and their effects on wages and hours worked. Fair Labor Standards Act Q & A | Family and Medical Leave Act Q &A.
Insurance: Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.
Inventory and Supply Chain Shortfalls: While the possibility could be remote, it is a prudent preparedness measure to ensure you have either adequate supplies of inventory for a sustained period and/or diversify your distributor sources in the event one supplier cannot meet an order request.
For your customers: Make your place of business as hygienic as possible and communicate what you are doing to customers so they feel comfortable visiting. Promotional incentives might help during this time.
For your employees: Check, modify, and communicate HR policies regarding remote working, sick-leave, and compensation during health crisis. Try to ensure your policies are as flexible and non-punitive as possible. Sick employees and employees with sick family members should be encouraged to stay home.
For your workflow: Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences. Where relevant, consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time; and create and test remote employee collaboration systems (consider apps such as Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams).
For your cashflow: Communicate with your landlord (or tenants) and lenders about expectations and request flexibility (better to have that conversation now).
Access to Capital:
The Small Business Administration provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. For more information on loans or how to connect with a lender, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.
SBA has developed Lender Match, a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders within 48 hours.
Please visit the SBA's Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources for more details.
In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will monitor and communicate if/when our region becomes designated to request loans.
Ideas to Promote Business During COVID-19:
Offer gift cards for purchase online
Email and or TEXT your customer base with the ability to purchase online gift cards. Provide a promotional incentive. Ex: Additional $10 value with every $25 gift card purchased.
Connect with delivery services such as Uber Eats and Door Dash or offer take-out and curbside options.
Move to an online shopping presence if you haven't already. (www.Murray-Media.com is offering web development and TEXTING ad reduced rates and in some cases free!)
Can you provide a drop-off delivery service to businesses or residences? Can you change in-store employees into delivery teams?
Do you have digital resources to help businesses and families in this new environment? Tips to reduce stress relief. Work-at-home strategies. Resources for families facing the loss of income. Recommendations for insurance needs. Strategies to declutter homes and prepare for future sales. Activities and ideas for students at home. Cleaning strategies for businesses and families to protect against COVID-19. (Send your content ideas to for free publishing on their magazine web sites.
Think outside the box on how your business can help!