The best thing most small business owners can do right now to cope with this turbulent time is first and foremost to follow guidelines and recommendations. Being more flexible with leave policies and work from home practices is essential. Encouraging employees to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms is also critical. Without question, all businesses should be taking those steps that ensure the safety of their workers.
It is far better during a crisis to be overprepared; the last thing you want is to be blindsided. That said, the United States as a whole should look closely at the responses of other nations to see what works and what consequences does not. Italy's healthcare system was completely overwhelmed; whereas, in Taiwan, they have been able to more successfully flatten the curve—this is the type of model we should be emulating as a country.
As far as those small businesses impacted, recent surveys suggest that near thirty percent are expecting to take a fairly significant hit as a result of the coronavirus. Over half interviewed are bracing for serious economic decline. So what can a small business owner do to minimize the damage? For one, embracing technology and thus converting as much of their business operations to an online platform will help. Using Skype for conferences for instance, or WebEx.
Additionally, ensuring they have digital access to their funds along with the ability to make and accept payments online will be key. Companies should also look into paying employees with a direct deposit system as opposed to paper checks, thereby ensuring staff gets paid.
Unfortunately, with the growing number of cases of the coronavirus, frauds and scams are becoming more prevalent. It's a good time to ensure you have the proper security in place and take measures to prevent fraud.