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How Your Business Can Succeed During COVID-19

A world-wide pandemic doesn't need to mean the end of your business.

By Kelly ThompsonPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
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Italian shoppers collect food and supplies during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

To start, I want to say that this article is not to make light of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am, out of everyone I know, one of the most cautious and careful people that when it comes to this new pandemic facing our globe, and I want to ensure that it's clear that the world will undeniably change. People have died, and will continue to die, from this disease. This is serious.

That being said, as customers are getting ready to deal with a large scale disease outbreak, the scale of which hasn't been seen in years, business owners must be forward thinking and cogniscent of this disease, how it acts, how it spreads, and how to build short term and long term strategies around that.

These ideas are presented as rough ideas for things that may work - some will work better for certain workplaces than others.

#1 - Work with Governments

This should come as a No-brainer, but during a public health emergency, working with governments on all levels (county/city/state/province/country, etc.) is vital to your business. Whether it's as simple as understanding any local quarantines, lock-downs, curfews or regulations, or more complex like being able to get funding, credit, or the like from different levels of governments, it is of the upmost importance that any business owner understands the exact situation that their community is in, and is aware of the best ways to get information.

It should be noted that when I say the best ways to get information, it refers to ensuring you're getting accurate, up-to-date, reliable information. While local bloggers talking about a massive conspiracy may seem interesting and tantalizing, refer to official government pages for information. Plus, most governments at a regional and national level have already set up easy to access information pages for you to get that information.

#2 - Be Flexible

While one day might be business as usual, the next day you might see your entire business platform shift entirely. If your business hasn't been hurt by these changes already, it is best to be proactive in your planning. Think about if your brick and mortar store closes down entirely? What happens then? If you have an online-only store, how secure and safe are your supply lines? What backups do you have to your logistic planning?

Flexibility in a long-term emergency such as a pandemic is crucial, and also leads into:

#3 - Your Employees are Human

I swear, if you have employees, and you aren't actively working on figuring out how they can be missing from work for two weeks or more, it's time to start. If your business hasn't shut down completely, your employees may need to take time off work to either go for medical treatment, or take time off to self-isolate. Typically, advice has been for people to self-isolate themselves for 14 days.

I understand that can be a lot of time for your worker to be away. While not all jobs offer paid sick leave (even though they should), many regional governments are now looking at legislating a required 14 day leave without any employment issues, meaning as the employer, you'll NEED to provide them with two weeks off.

If you run a small location, that could severly hurt your business. While most major agencies predict that 70% percent of a nation's population may become infected, it's not smart planning to hope that your employees are all in the 30% that aren't infected.

Start your planning the second you read this, and be prepared for tomorrow.

#4 - Ask your Customers

For some businesses, it may be obvious what you should do to ensure you keep your business attractive to customers - clean, sanitize, clean, sanitize, and repeat.

For some other businesses however, you might be at a loss. You might struggle to think of ways to ensure that customers come through your doors. One simple answer to this is to ask.

Everyone in the world at this point probably knows that something major is happening, and for the majority of us, it's uncharted territory. It's not hard to post on social media, or write in your email newsletter, and ask your customers and fans: how can we keep your business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?

You may want to structure that a little bit better, make it warmer, make it nice, it's up to you.

#5 - It's Okay To Not Know

I think the most important thing to do is to accept that you don't know what might happen tomorrow, and to try to allow yourself to go with the flow. Business is often very structured and planned out, but the problem during a pandemic is that no one knows what tomorrow will hold.

Allow yourself to go with the flow, and react to the day's news. While you may plan today to be open, you may be forced to close in a week from now.

What you can count on is the instability. Unless necessary, I wouldn't recommend major developments, purchases, or anything like that. Try to keep it business as usual, keep touch with your staff to see how they are doing, and be aware of the world around you.

Running your own business is tough in good times. But now, more than ever, it requires ingenuity and resourcefulness. Things that typically wouldn't be considered may need to be the norm for a while, or going foward.

Either way, plan as much as you can, and be prepared for those plans to change.

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About the Creator

Kelly Thompson

renaissance man and cultural commentator from #YEG.

fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenplays and theatre. i try to do it all.

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