Prepared, not Panicked: Business Continuation For When Things Are Out of Control!
This worksheet and the ideas it addresses can be useful any time that a situation outside of your control has the potential to threaten your business, but for the current situation, we’ll be addressing an epidemic. If you were planning for a storm or other act of nature, the supplies you need might vary, and you would also need to be concerned with the possible loss of property and equipment.
Business Preparedness Inventory
A. Do you think CORVID19 can impact your business?
B. Will that impact be positive or negative?
C. If you think it might have a negative impact on your business, do you have a plan to mitigate that? Even if you do have a plan, consider the following:
1. Do you work outside your home? If not, will you be able to get to your place of business? Would it be possible for you to work from home?
2. Can you use technology to access your systems from home? Can you bring some materials or equipment home to ensure access? Can your phones be forwarded to another number (like your home)?
3. Does your business require you or your employees to go into other peoples homes or places of business? How can you protect yourself/employees/clients from contagion?
4. Do you have employees? Is there a policy in place regarding sick time in an epidemic? Are they likely to come to work sick due to no paid sick leave? Are you prepared for that? Could they work from home?
5. Assuming there’s no quarantine, would regular professional cleaning of your place of business improve the conﬁdence and morale of you and your employees?
6. How much of your business actually requires face to face interaction? Could some of it be done over Skype, Facetime, Zoom or other technology?
7. Do you rely on face to face encounters to drive customers to your business? This might be a good time to learn more about the power of social media.
8. Does your business either sell or consume a physical product? If so, can this situation impact your supply chain? Is a diﬀerent supplier possible? Do you have enough inventory to survive a shortage?
9. Does your business rely on shipping? Are there any options in the event that your normal shipping is disrupted?
10. Could your business survive a quarantine of 24 weeks? Do you have the ﬁnancial resources to survive it personally? Are there resources you can put in place now to help you survive it?
11. Are you prepared for “just in case,” but not for today? If you woke up tomorrow morning to news that you were under mandatory quarantine, would you have taken the necessary steps to allow your business to continue?
12. Is there another income stream you can add, like coaching others in your ﬁeld?
Personal Preparedness Makes Business Sense If you look at what other countries as well as various locations within the U.S., you’ll see that quarantine is a real possibility. There is a huge diﬀerence between preparation and panic. Panic is buying more hand sanitizer than you could use in a lifetime. Preparedness is having enough food, medication and other essentials on hand to last throughout an inhome conﬁnement of 24 weeks. Other essentials might include pet food and supplies, diapers, toilet tissue, facial tissue, vitamins and anything else that would be a real hardship to do without. It’s probably safe to assume that utilities like water, gas and electric would not be impacted by an epidemic, so unlike when preparing for a hurricane, snowstorm or other event of nature, you probably don’t need to worry about water or foods that don’t require refrigeration or freezing. If you don’t have the supplies on hand to personally survive a quarantine, it doesn’t matter what your business continuity plan is.
Down Time Doesn’t Have to be Wasted Time In the event that you ﬁnd yourself under quarantine, even with a business continuity plan, odds are that you won’t be quite as busy as you normally are, unless you are fortunate enough to have the kind of business that can be seamlessly continued from home. If you are not personally too ill to function, you can utilize this slower time to learn about technology that can help your business moving forward, learn a new skill that you have been interested in personally or professionally (there are lots of online courses available), or work on personal development that will help you in both your personal life and business. You can contact your IT consultant, or get one if you don’t have one to learn more about business automation. You might even ﬁnd a coach who provides services over the internet