Managing Your Small Business Through Coronavirus

March 16, 2020 | Roger and Susie Engelau

If you’re asking yourself whether you’re managing your small business through coronavirus well or not, then you’re probably doing pretty well.

As small businesses, we know you can’t afford to shut down. Nor can you let everyone work from home. We know you want to do what’s right for your employees.

Our business coaches are here if you need guidance in managing your small business through coronavirus. We’re prepared to meet with you in person or via video-conference or phone. See below to schedule a meeting with one of our coaches… on the house.

Are you doing enough in managing your small business through coronavirus?

We’ve heard this question from several small business owners. The fact that you’re asking the question probably indicates you’re doing a good job of managing your small business through coronavirus! Here’s a compilation of activities and ideas for leaders when managing your small business through coronavirus:

Your confident leadership is important now more than ever!

  • Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Every person in your company needs to hear from you. Now is the time for way more communication. In the absence of information, people will fill in the blanks… and that’s how rumors get started. Here’s our Effective Communicate Format with some suggestions for this pandemic:
    1. Vision—share your hope and aspiration for the outcome of this situation for your company and for you people.
    2. Strategy—detail what will change: work, work schedules, work location, your guidelines for cleanliness, social distancing, non-sharing of equipment and supplies, increased physical distance, no-touch greetings, increasing your water intake, hiring a cleaning service, etc.
    3. Benefit—what the benefit to each of us and the company will be if we execute this successfully
    4. Roles—what your role will be, or continue to be, and what each of their roles will be and continue to be. For examples, we’ll each keep 6’ apart, wipe our work surfaces twice/day, etc.
    5. Resources—create a list of the resources you’re making available to navigate these changes effectively: remote work systems, new procedures, hand sanitizer supply, supply of water bottles, cleaning supplies provided, etc.
  • Your customer base, and maybe your prospects too, need to hear from you too. Get out ahead of their concerns and stay proactive with the information you share. A modified form of what you communicate to your employees will work for customers and constituents too.
  • Let as many employees work from home as is practical for your business to allow. For some businesses it’s practical for most everyone to work at home; for others, it’s not practical for anyone to work from home. It doesn’t serve your employees if your business shuts down. Do as much as you can to accommodate remote work schedules but as the leader, it’s your responsibility to keep the business running, at least until a government edict says its unsafe to do so.
  • Implement specific cleanliness guidelines and ask your people for their ideas:
    • Wipe down work surfaces twice daily
    • Maintain a distance of 6’ when possible, especially when speaking
    • Don’t hug, shake hands, etc. Everyone will understand and appreciate it.
    • Wash hands more frequently.
    • Don’t share supplies like pens, papers, jump drives, keyboards, desks and particularly phones. Wipe down anything you must share.
    • Consider hiring a cleaning service.
    • By all means, cover every cough or sneeze
    • Consider supplying hand sanitizer, cleaning sprays and wipes, bottled water, fresh pens and other supplies
If work slows to the point where you have to shut down or lay people off

This is a tough and complex one. You don’t want to lose people so first try to find something for them to do. If your business shuts down or you don’t have enough work for everybody, ask for volunteers first, then try reducing schedules to part time. Depending on your cash flow, you may have to make the tough decision to lay people off. Whether you pay them or not depends on your cash flow. Pay them what your cash flow allows. If you have to lay them off, stay in close and frequent communication—give them almost daily updates.

Be confident, be fearless, be sensitive, and err on the side of doing what’s right for the greater good. This too shall pass. Some professionals are already predicting a deceleration phase is near. Now more than ever, small business is important to the health and stability of our communities!

Now more than ever, your small business may need a helping hand. Inspire Results business coaches can help you feel confident that you’re doing the right things and everything you can.

Our business coaches are here if you need guidance in managing your small business through coronavirus. We’re prepared to meet with you in person or via video-conference or phone. Email Kena at KenaB@InspireResults.com, or any of our coaches (see www.InspireResults.com) to schedule a meeting with one of our coaches… on the house.

To your inspired, and healthy, results,
Roger Engelau, Certified Business Coach
Brad Justus, Business Coach
Natalie Menke, Business Coach