Business tips on coronavirus: How founders can navigate the uncertainty
With the coronavirus being the cause of global uncertainty, many have feared the short and long-term impact on small and medium sized businesses. So far, it has been a story with no clear ending and there is not a lot of help regarding business tips and the coronavirus currently circulating. Entrepreneurs and innovators will be looking for answers and the unclear narrative will not suffice. Although too early to tell what the long-term impact might be, there are measures to take that will help to safeguard your business and bring some clarification to yourself as a founder, for your employees, and your customers. We’ve created these tips based on our years as a fully distributed team managing global projects.
*What is clear is that the human impact of COVID-19 is nothing short of tragic. Protecting your employees and your business to help mitigate the outbreak and impact on your business is a top priority. No matter the outcome, it is important to have measures in place as we are not sure how long this will last, and when it might happen again.
What we know about coronavirus:
- The virus is highly transmittable.
- The virus disproportionately affects older people with underlying conditions.
- People react to the virus differently with some people infected exhibiting mild symptoms. Because of this, cases can be missed.
- Mass gatherings are not advised.
The World Health Organization has key tips on how to protect yourself and best practices.
How you can help your employees:
- Speak to your people. It is important to understand how your staff are feeling and if their ability to perform will be hindered. Fear will be the norm in these situations and as an employer it is important to not ignore the obvious.
- Offer flexible working options. Out of all the business tips on the coronavirus, this might be the most important. A possible wake-up call to offer your employees more freedom and flexibility. Giving employees flexible working options have exhibited great long-term benefits for organisations. ( SmallBizGenius):
- 40% of people feel the greatest benefit of remote work is the flexible schedule.
- 16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers.
- Companies allowing remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t.
- 76% of workers would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours.
- People who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive.
- The number of people who work from home has increased by 140% since 2005.
- 4.3 million people in the USA work from home at least half the time.
- Let your employees know the plan. Give clear contacts and guidelines on who to contact and what to do in the event of change.
How your business can benefit:
Understandably, there will be a drop in consumer demand – you should find different ways to connect with your customers without pushing your company’s agenda.
- Listen to your customers and be open with them. Take this time to invest in your core customers and find out what they need. Although consumer demand is likely to be down, it is rare that it will disappear. Create ways to better serve.
- How do people engage with your brand? Are there channels where your customers and potential customers can share what they are going through? This is important insight that can lead to new business opportunities. It is likely that a change in consumer behaviour will remain. This is a great time to further optimise your processes.
- Learn how to navigate disruptions by creating a plan. Do you have a clear contingency budget? Will you help your people to find new roles if keeping them on is no longer an option? Create a robust plan and map out scenarios considering every possible outcome.
- Build your community. Your business will only ever be as strong as its community. Offer more outside of your product and build a core following for what you do. Will you be subsidising fees? Offering your knowledge? Every little helps. These are times to think selflessly and move forward with purpose.
What is your company doing to help the greater good? Business is important of course, but can your business do better while doing good? The answer more often than not is yes. Once you’ve taken the correct measures to ensure you, your staff, and your customers are well taken care of, do not wait to innovate. Where will your business sit three, six, or twelve months from now. It is important to anticipate your next more as it is likely that the aftermath of this will linger for some time.