The SMB Guide to Navigating Covid-19 and the Pandemic
The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak has upended the way the world conducts business.
From social distancing guidelines, to limited shop capacities, to the regular use of face masks in public, adjustments have been made to ensure the particular safety of people everywhere.
All of this is new, confusing, and a little scary. This is especially true if you’re a business proprietor whose livelihood is now on the precipice of struggle. You should keep your business running whilst making sure that you, your workers, and your customers are guarded from the virus.
And if you’re thinking of starting a business now, you need to make sure that you can do so properly while juggling the hundreds of new tasks that come with this. Launching and running a business is not easy enough in the best of times—it can seem downright daunting throughout a global pandemic
That’s why we want to assist.
Whether or not you’re thinking of starting a new business or already in the thick of running 1, this guide breaks down everything your own business owner needs to know in order to navigate COVID-19 safely and successfully.
What we’ll go over
Here are some jump links to the sections of the article. Each section covers a different topic, so feel free to jump close to to the topic you want to find out more about.
By-the-numbers: How are small businesses performing overall?
How to navigate your small business through COVID-19
How to prep your business with regard to COVID-19
Pandemic assets for small businesses
Pro tip: Bookmark this guide therefore you’ll have it handy when you need to refer to it.
By-the-numbers: Exactly how are small businesses doing general?
Quick solution: Not great.
The massive effect on small business that the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown processes have had cannot be overstated. For your vast majority of them, that impact has been resoundingly negative, leading to layoffs and store closures across the world.
In the United States alone, 25% in order to 36% of small businesses are in risk of permanently closing due to COVID-19. Many of these businesses rely heavily on in-person services where social isolating is difficult to maintain, such as restaurants and gyms. Some other industries heavily impacted include tourism and hospitality.
Here’s the graph from McKinsey that illustrates the industries affected the most by COVID-19:
Small business income is down twelve. 3% from February 2020, whereas private industry salaries are down “just” six. 6%. That’s nearly two times as much as their private business counterparts.
It is also crucial to note that there exists a disproportionate impact on marginalized areas. In fact , low wage workers, minority business owners, and those with no college degree are much more likely to experience financial strain due to the worldwide pandemic.
While this appears rather dire, it should be noted that things are getting better, albeit slowly. In 06 2020, the Census Agency discovered that the number of small businesses confirming a negative impact from COVID-19 was at 38%—down from 51% two months earlier within April.
Applications received for new businesses have also jumped since the elevation of the global pandemic in the spring.
In fact , by the end of Aug 2020, the United States saw the 47% rise in business programs when compared to the same week in 2019, reaching a historic higher point.
This will be incredibly heartening to any small-business owner. When a shot is readily available (and most evidence points to a in the past fast vaccine production), the economy will be primed for massive growth.
Think of the economy being a fleet of airplanes. When the weather is bad—winds blowing hard, thunderstorms raging—the pilots can’t fly. Instead of letting the airplane rust whilst they all wait for the weather if they are to get better, though, the pilots are likely to make sure there’s plenty of gasoline in the tanks, the engines are running smoothly, and that the electronics are working.
Once the weather clears, they’ll all be equipped for take off.
How to navigate your small business through COVID-19
If you own a small business, you’ve without doubt experienced the pandemic’s impact on you, your customers, and your bottom line.
You have also had to make changes—some large and some small. Many of these changes can be confusing and scary.
To help make it a little less complicated, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help guide your business through this bad weather.
Tip #1: Focus on that which you can control (and overlook all the rest)
This is one of the most crucial actions you can take mentally. And it not only applies to the pandemic, it pertains to the rest of your life as well.
It’s easy to get swept up in the constant firehose spray of bad news, doomscrolling until our eyes car tire. There are so many things you feel like you should be worried about that it can be overwhelming.
Instead, you should focus on the things that you are able to directly control. That might incorporate:
- Sanitation and hygiene procedures for your store
- Changing to remote work
- Increasing your digital online marketing strategy
- Getting financial loans when you can
- Taking the help of curbside pickup
- Conducting home deliveries can be
What that doesn’t include are usually things like:
- Obsessing about lockdown techniques
- Obsessing about lessened customer capacity limitations in your store
- Obsessing about mask mandates
- Obsessing about rising COVID-19 case matters
Actually, obsessing over anything actually is bad. While things like lockdown procedures and rising instances will impact your business, you should take that news into account and then focus on how you can react to it.
Of course , that’s easier said than done. This is your livelihood after all. And if you have employees, this is their own livelihood as well.
By adopting this particular mindset, you’ll not only have the ability to help your business adapt to the changing time but you’ll find that it will take you a lot further than any amount of doomscrolling will.
Tip #2: Move quickly—but carefully
The early bird gets the worm. That tried-and-true aphorism applies to this life-altering global pandemic.
It is crucial to recognize the areas to have to adapt, and then achieve this quickly. For example , many businesses—from grocery stores and clothing shops to coffee shops and breweries—began to offer curbside pick-up when lockdown procedures were implemented in spring 2020.
Actually curbside and delivery saw a 145. 6% rise in the spring when compared to the same period in 2019.
These businesses recognized the particular inevitable changes because of COVID-19, adapted, and are now earning money because of it.
No, many of them are likely not really making as much cash as they were before. But some of them are even seeing that their “new reality” is preferable to what they were doing.
In fact , many companies are finding that remote function is better suited for their procedures than coming into an office. Additional businesses are finding great achievement with curbside pickup and deliveries. There’s even proof that consumer habits are usually forever changed by these events.
While you should take necessary procedure for adapt your business to the transforming climate, you should also take care to help make the right types of modifications.
A person don’t want to do something like buy a bunch of state-of-the-art sanitation and air filtration systems only for your business to be closed anyway due to lockdown measures.
Tip #3: Associated with touch choices
Firing or furloughing workers is never easy and it shouldn’t ever be easy. These are the people who maintain your business running—they depend on a person for their livelihood and, most of the time, they can be your very good friends.
However , when it comes to extraordinary circumstances like a worldwide pandemic, sometimes you need to associated with incredibly hard decision in order to let them go or furlough them to keep your business afloat.
That may mean different things for different companies. For example , you might discover that it is possible to keep some employees upon after looking at your figures. Some of you might need to make the tough decision to fire a lot of people.
The important thing is that you simply recognize what you need to do plus follow through. There’s no make use of dragging it out and hoping things will change. Most likely, that change won’t arrive until there’s a vaccine. Focus on what you can manage now and ignore the rest.
Difficult decisions also might involve taking stock of your business as a whole and deciding whether or not to keep it going. That might seem impossible. After all, you put your basis into your business.
But , once again, it is important to be honest along with yourself and not drag it on. Not taking earnest stock of the situation may result in even bigger financial complications for you later on.
Tip #4: Enforce hygiene standards (and become strict about it)
This one is non-negotiable. No matter where you are or exactly what business you conduct, you have to enforce hygiene standards—and they need to be strictly enforced.
This pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States alone. You do not want your business to be the cause that anyone dies or even is infirmed. You definitely do not want your business to start producing headlines because it resulted in a super-spreader event.
That’s why it is imperative to create a COVID-19 policy for your business.
This is going to end up being specific to you and your business, and will depend on what providers you provide. Restaurants require different policies than an accountant’s office, after all. You’re also going to need to take into account the local restrictions your business will have.
Here’s the handy chart that gives you a rough idea of what occupations are most at risk to get COVID-19.
Remember: This really is only a rough idea. This means what you ultimately need to do is going to be tailored to your business.
Our biggest piece of advice would be to run away on the side of overpreparing as opposed to the alternative. It might mean reducing your work processes to make sure every thing and everyone is sanitized—but it is worth it if it means keeping you and your community safe.
To that end, we’ve prepared something in order to help…
How you can prep your business for COVID-19
The Center to get Disease Control has ready a set of guidelines to prevent and minimize the transmission of COVID-19 among your employees. It is quite long, so we’ve described the big points for you below.
Nevertheless , we highly recommend you read through the entire page yourself in order to get a deep understanding of what you need to ensure your business’s safety.
Keeping your employees safe
Your employees are the backbone of your business. Without them, your business wouldn’t run the way it should.
They’re also people who should have to be safe and healthful even outside of your business.
That’s precisely why it’s so important that you enforce strict standards to reduce the chance of transmission amongst them. The particular CDC recommends seven things to help keep your employees safe:
- Tell sick employees to stay home. This is a no-brainer. If your worker has a fever, coughing, or showcasing other signs of sickness, tell them to stay home. The particular recommendation is generally to pen for 2 weeks after they final showed symptoms.
- Conduct day-to-day health checks. This can occur in-person or even remotely. These health bank checks should include symptom and/or heat checks before any employee shows up to your physical place of business.
- Identify how employees could easily get exposed to COVID-19 at work. Consider all of the locations at your workplace where an employee might contract the disease. For example , a grocery store might identify places like the cash register or customer support line as high-risk locations.
- Impose face mask policies. This is another no-brainer. Your employees should be wearing encounter masks for their own security and the protection of everyone else at your place of business (including customers).
- Separate sick employees. You never know whenever symptoms are going to hit. As soon as they do, you want to act quick. If an employee starts to display symptoms while at work, pen them from other workers and customers. Also have a way they can get home safely. This can be via another employee or a health care worker.
- Take action if you find out there an employee has COVID-19. Though in most cases a person won’t have to shut down your business (for example, if it’s been more than a week since the sick employee has been in the facility), it is recommended that you wait 24 hours before cleaning and sanitizing your place of work. Clean any areas regularly exposed to people, as well as in which the sick employee worked.
- Carry out a sanitation policy for your employees. Make sure that your employees are aware of the best ways to secure themselves against getting sick. That includes washing their hands, wearing masks, and restricting travel.
Keeping your business sustainable
As a business owner, you will want to balance the importance of maintaining everyone safe while keeping your business running smoothly and effectively. The CDC has identified a number of areas to assist you do just that:
- Choose a COVID-19 coordinator. This person is responsible for implementing and creating any COVID-19 insurance policies specific to your business. It is a position you can delegate to one of your employees or undertake yourself.
- Have a flexible and encouraging sick leave policy. Make sure you provide your sick employees as much assistance as you can give them. This might include policies such as paid sick and tired leave, permitting them to stay at home to care for sick household, or allowing other employees to donate sick depart to one another.
- Protect high-risk employees. Immunocompromised and older employees should be backed during this time. That might include minimizing their contact with customers or allowing them to work remotely.
- Connect the new COVID-19 policies clearly and frequently. If your employees speak another language, make sure that your policies are usually translated for them. Also allow new customers/employees know about your own safety policies.
- Keep the necessities and cut the rest. In order to maintain safe practices, consider paring lower your employees to a skeletal system crew of the people who need to be there for your company to keep running. This might suggest making tough decisions like cutting back hours, furloughing, or letting go of particular employees.
- Plan for if/when absenteeism rises. Whether it’s from sick employees or because your employees don’t wish to come in, you need to be prepared in the event absenteeism spikes in your office. This includes implementing remote work policies or training employees to handle additional responsibilities.
- Put into action social distancing policies. These are social distancing policies for both your employees and customers. Limit physical interaction between individuals (e. g. handshakes). Also, limit areas where people often congregate (e. g. split rooms or dining tables).
Maintaining your workplace safe
The CDC furthermore provides guidelines for ensuring the physical workplace of the small business is optimized designed for safety against COVID-19. Below are a few tips they highly suggest you implement:
- Improve your workplace’s ventilation. This refers to the amount of fresh air which is circulated throughout your office. The more fresh air there is, the better protected you’ll be towards COVID-19 as it is primarily spread through air droplets. Some suggestions to do this include raising outdoor air ventilation through open windows and enhancing air filtration with a MERV-13 filter on your central atmosphere system.
- Make sure your water system is safe after shutdown. After a prolonged shutdown, a building’s water system is more susceptible to hazards such as mold and Legionnaires’ disease. Find out how to keep your water program in check here.
- Provide access to washing and sanitizing equipment. Make sure your business has plenty of access to soap and water, as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Clean your workplace often. Make sure that you frequently sanitize your own workspaces and provide easy access in order to cleaning supplies such as disinfectant wipes. The CDC offers a full guide on how to make and maintain a regular cleaning program.
- Sanitize your workplace whenever someone is suspected or even confirmed of having COVID-19 continues to be there. This includes employees as well as customers.
- Limit travel amongst employees. Cut out any non-essential travel for your employees. When employees are traveling overseas, make sure they check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices meant for guidance about the country they’re traveling to.
- Limit risks preparing meetings. Power good video conferencing equipment rather than holding in-person conferences with your employees. If your company regularly plans large gatherings (e. g. conferences), you will want to cancel or reschedule them accordingly. You might also want to adapt them so they’re mostly or all virtual.
Outbreak resources for small businesses
Below is a list of resources from the CDC that you ought to have handy. They’ll assist you to answer any questions you may have about running a small business throughout the pandemic.
- CDC Guide for Companies and Employers Responding to COVID-19
- FAQ: Thought or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in the Workplace
- FAQ: Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 in Workplaces
- FAQ: Healthy Business Operations
- FAQ: Cleaning and Disinfection in the Workplace
- FAQ: Critical Infrastructure
- What You Need to Know About COVID-19
- What To Do If You’ re Sick With COVID-19
- What Workers and Employers Can Do to control Workplace Fatigue during COVID-19
- How to Get Tested for COVID-19
Managing your small business in the middle of a global pandemic is no small job. It requires a combination of resilience, concentrate, and discipline to make sure that your employees and customers are adhering to the strict specifications in place to keep us all secure.
We all won’t lie to you: It’s going to get hard. You’re likely going to see your earnings tighten. You might even have to generate difficult decisions to let go of employees.
But remember to focus on the things you are able to control and ignore all of the rest. That means creating plus enforcing sanitation and cleanliness policies while maintaining social distancing. Also, support your own employees financially and psychologically when you can.
That’s because the most important thing at the end of the day is everyone’s health and well-being. With the right assets and systems in place, we’ll all be able to get through this particular challenge together—and hopefully, more powerful for it.
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