The potential impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on my business

28.02.2020

Each day there is more and more news about the Coronavirus pandemic. Will it or will it not be declared a pandemic? Outbreaks in Italy and Iran. Should I cancel my holidays? Do I need to stock up my pantry? If I contract this, what are the chances of dying?

These all seem to be legitimate topics for individuals and families, but what about you as a business owner. What are the ramifications of Coronavirus for small to medium businesses in Australia? If your town or city is subject to lockdown is your business prepared?

Coronavirus and your business

It typically goes back to advice from relevant business consultants, and I would be talking to them now, just in case. As a business owner, you are forever making decisions that impact on your business (and yes not taking action is a decision in its own right) and now is the time to make some decisions to prepare contingencies for a Coronavirus outbreak. The old Latin proverb “Praemonitus, praemunitus” effectively means forewarned is forearmed. Time to make plans.

Steps to prepare for Coronavirus for business:

  1. Prepare and preplan
    1. Insurance brokers
    2. HR Consultants
    3. Cash flow and financial planning (think accountants and bookkeepers)
  2. Be prepared for what you can do in the event of a shutdown
    a. Strategic planning
    b. Digital communications strategy, planning and Execution

Insurance brokers

If you don’t have an insurance broker, go and get one. It doesn’t matter if your polices are direct with insurance companies or not due for renewal. Go and talk with a broker. I am not a broker and don’t pretend to be however my advice we have received about Coronavirus and my business at this stage is there isn’t a lot we can do. Our insurance will not cover us in such a situation. Have a chat with your broker. See if they can help you, prepare.

HR Consultants

As a growing small to medium business, we have relied exceptionally heavily on our Human Resources (HR) consultant for advice over our journey. It’s a problematic landscape navigating the world of employing people at the moment with the Coronavirus. Look at the mess the hospitality industry is experiencing as an example. HR consultants can save you a lot of pain.

When it comes to a Coronavirus outbreak, are you ready? If your city or town is subject to shutdown because of Coronavirus (think China, Italy and Iran) is your business prepared? You can’t work, cash flow impacts, paying staff etc.

How do you pay your employees? Is this sick leave, annual leave, leave without pay? Will the government assist small to medium businesses with emergency loan packages? Get on the phone now

Finances

We are absolute Xero converts here at Goop Digital and love how it has transformed our business, but now is a good time to drag out the budgeting and cash flow forecasting tools. Talk with your accountant. Can you sustain a prolonged shutdown? Do you need to talk with your bank now about extending an overdraft just in case? Would recommend having your overdraft lined up now. If a pandemic happens, you may find this problematic executing this when there is a mad panic for additional cash to prop up business during the crisis.

What you can do if locked down

Lockdown for a pandemic is no holiday. You are effectively under house arrest, and apart from Netflix and books, you may find yourself wondering what you can do in this time to boost your work.

It’s time to start planning strategically for the time ahead. Log in to Xero and start preparing those budgets moving forward.

Look at your digital strategy, communicate with clients via email, maybe prepare an E-newsletter with Mailchimp so that you can keep all clients up to date with what is happening. Make those changes to the website you wanted to. Pick up the phone and call your digital marketing agency and discuss your digital strategy moving forward when business gets back to usual. Do you need to kick start things with Google Ads, can you write some blogs for content marketing purposes?

As a digital marketing agency give us a call if you would like to discuss any of the items listed that are related to digital marketing, I would also highly recommend having a quick chat with other related industries.

In the immortal words of Baden-Powell

“Be prepared.”