The scale of the COVID-19 (colloquially referred to as the coronavirus) outbreak is not entirely without historical precedent, but its economic and social effects are nevertheless rattling. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you have a lot on your plate on a normal day, much less at a time when most of the world is in a state of alarm.
How do you keep your small business on track in an hour of uncertainty? How do you help your employees and customers avoid exposure to coronavirus? How can you focus on promoting your products or services during the outbreak and how can you keep your customers interested in what you have to offer? When will you see the light at the end of the tunnel?
These are challenging questions, and the answers will continue to evolve as the crisis does. The Web.com team wants your small business to be successful regardless of the economic situation, and so we’ve collected some practical tips that we hope will be of help to you right now.
You didn’t let anything stop you from starting your small business and we’re sure you won’t let the coronavirus prevent you from achieving your dreams of success now. We’ve got your back, with resources and advice to help you now and after the crisis has subsided.
Consider an Injection of Capital
You may be dealing with supply chain problems or a general reduction in business as a result of the coronavirus. Without capital to bridge the gap between now and an economic upswing, you may have a difficult time staying afloat.
Fortunately, there are financial resources available to you. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is working directly with governors nationwide to offer low-interest, targeted loans to small businesses that have faced severe impacts because of the coronavirus.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small business owners in dire straits with working capital loans of up to $2 million. That type of capital injection could make all the difference as you try to make it past a temporary decrease in revenue. For further assistance with capital access, visit the SBA’s loan page here.
Understand Coronavirus and How it Spreads
The ‘novel’ part in ‘2019 Novel Coronavirus’ is important to note. As a new virus, there remains much that is unknown about how it affects infected persons, how it spreads and how to treat it. Therefore, it is critically important for small business owners to learn as much as they can about the virus in order to deal with it smart, effective ways. You can start by reading the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
Help Keep Your Employees Healthy
Whether you run a business by yourself, have fewer than 10 employees or have 50 working for you full-time, you should understand the strategies to use to keep your employees healthy.
For starters, encourage sick employees to stay home. You should strongly emphasize to your employees the importance of staying home if they feel sick, even if they have no reason to believe they have had contact with someone infected by coronavirus.
All cleaning practices should be ramped up and intensified. Provide employees with hand sanitizer, make sure bathrooms and common areas are cleaned multiple times per day and ensure employees have wipes and other cleaning products necessary for keeping their workstations sanitary. You can find CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations here.
If an employee does go home sick, their workstation should be thoroughly cleaned. One great way to set an example for your employees would be to handle the cleaning yourself — with gloves and a mask on, of course.
In the event that an employee is diagnosed with coronavirus, you should notify employees of the fact that a coworker of theirs was so diagnosed, without revealing their identity, as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
For additional information, we recommend thoroughly reviewing the coronavirus risk assessment and public health management guidance published by the CDC.
Keep Yourself and Your Loved Ones Healthy
Owning a small business can already place some stress on the family unit. Finding a work-life balance can be difficult as it is, so how can you manage in a time like this?
First, recognize that you need to think about your own health. Take time to eat right and exercise. The stress of running your business during this crisis could become overwhelming if you let it. Focus on the basics. Don’t skip meals, don’t ignore exhaustion, get enough sleep and pay attention to the messages your body is sending you.
Second, pay attention to your loved ones and their needs. Take time out of your schedule to be with your family and friends and to check up on them. Think about the reasons you started your small business. They probably involved the people you care about it, so you should make them a priority now.
Finally, don’t except yourself from the rules you set for your employees. If you do start feeling sick, the last thing you do is put your employees at risk by coming to work in spite of your illness. Exemplify the spirit of the rules you set for your employees by following them carefully yourself.
Throughout history, there have been times when normalcy has seemed like a distant memory. From war and famine to economic collapses and governmental breakdowns, societies everywhere have had to deal with extreme challenges.
The coronavirus is the latest challenge facing us on scales as large as international corporations and whole nations to ones as small as supermarkets and your own small business. When challenges arise, we must rise to meet them.
The coronavirus will eventually be brought under control. Empty shelves will be restocked. Economies will recover. Vaccines will be tested and made available to the public. There will be enough toilet paper for everyone.
Your small business will make it through, and you will achieve success. You have a plan, you have resources and you have options to keep your doors open and your business on track. When will you see the light at the end of the tunnel? You’re looking at it now.