There has been a lot of panic recently about the COVID-19 virus and its effects not only on ourselves and our family but on our businesses as well. The economy seems to be in a state of stress and if we are all made to shut down due to the rapid spread of this virus, what can we do to protect our businesses? I believe with some careful planning we can all get through this.

By doing a Business Continuity plan you can plan for and put systems in place to help get your business through and shut down period. Here are some questions that I think you need to consider.

Business Continuity plan

1. Is there a way for you to still function on a skeleton staff or remotely?

In your business, can you continue to operate if everything is shut down? Are you able to operate with only a skeleton staff of key personnel? For example, if you are a restaurant or café, can you continue to operate with customers only being able to do takeaway orders? If you are service-based, can you move face to face meetings to video or phone conferencing?

2. What resources do you need to function?

These are the types of things to keep your business going for example if you are a restaurant, these could be deliveries of stock, minimal staff e.g. cook and waiter/front counter staff. If you are a service-based business like an accountant, it would be a laptop, internet connection, phone – home office.

3. What is the time frame your business has before things become critical?

At what point will things become critical to your business – how many days, weeks months before your business goes into the ‘red’ as you are unable to pay staff, suppliers, etc.

4. How many staff are required to get you through?

Think about what the minimum staff requirement for your business to function would be. If you are a restaurant, for example, you may be able to cope with just a cook and one wait/front counter staff. If you are an accountant (or any other service-based business), it may be an admin or accounts staff to pay wages and bills to suppliers. Can you put all unnecessary staff on leave?

5. What software/apps are required for your business to function?

Think about the software and apps you use in your business. What are the critical ones you need to function? Is it accounting software, project management software, office programs, etc? Can these be used off-site in a remote office if need be? Are there any other programs or apps that could be useful to you and your staff – like messaging apps, project management apps, etc. like Slack and Asana? You can even download apps to scan documents to email if you do not have a scanner at home.

6. Are there safety practices that you can introduce to continue operating?

There can be more stringent hand washing between each client you see:

  • having hand sanitizer available for your clients/customers to use
  • limit the size of functions, etc
  • ask all clients/customers who have not been well or have been overseas to reschedule their appointments

7. Can you change face-to-face meetings to video or phone meetings?

We live in an amazing world of technology, and at times like this, we can fully embrace this technology to continue with our business practices. There are many apps/programs that you can use for video conferencing like Skype, zoom, and hangouts. Moving your meetings online can be really useful for businesses, including personal training, counseling, accounting businesses. It is time to get creative and think out of the box.

Now that you have all of this information, – you can start to action your plan by putting systems in place to help your business to continue function – even if it is at a much slower rate.

Other Useful links

Department of Health

The Australian Federal Department of Health publishes health alerts here.

Government coronavirus stimulus package for small businesses

The government released a stimulus package to help keep small businesses afloat and employees in work. This includes cash flow payments, wage subsidy, increase in instant asset write-off and 50% accelerated depreciation for investments. You can find more information here.

NSW Small Business Commissioner

The NSW Small Business Commissioner provides COVID-19 information for small business owners here.

Bank Emergency Coronavirus packages

Another useful link for those that are reliant on bank loans, the big 4 banks have coronavirus relief packages. You can get more information about this here.

If we all stay calm and take precautions, we will make it through this troubling time.  Stay safe everyone, and stay positive!

Please note I have not received any endorsement or been paid by any of the apps or platforms that I have mentioned here in this article.