Thursday, March 12, 2020

Doing Business Under the Threat of COVID-19

Small businesses are especially vulnerable to the threat of any sort of disaster and certainly, we are now getting a glimpse of just how much businesses will be affected by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

As the spread of the disease moves quickly from continent to continent and across the country, we can see healthcare organizations and cities roll out their plan for emergencies such as this. But if there is a task that falls by the wayside for the small business owner, planning for business continuity is probably the one that falls through the cracks. Perhaps lessons learned from myriad climate disasters have prepared business owners for this new threat but if not, there is no time like the present.

I've come across a few articles that offer some practical things that business owners can do to mitigate the damage. 

ECONOMICS & SOCIETY
How Chinese Companies Have Responded to Coronavirus
by Martin Reeves , Lars Fæste , Cinthia Chen , Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak and Kevin Whitaker
March 10, 2020

I've seen some of these suggestions elsewhere but this article offers real-world examples from those who have been through it. It's always good to learn from others and China has been the hardest hit so far by the spread of the virus so they ought to know. HBR looks at how businesses rallied and also the effect COVID-19 has had on the economy.

CULTURE:
Cancellations, Sick Leave, and Takeout: How Food Businesses Nationwide Are Handling COVID-19
by The Bon Appétit Staff
March 10, 2020

"The restaurant industry has already been deeply affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Here are a few of their stories, which we'll be updating regularly."

Time and place are of the essence for the restaurant business - more than many other businesses. Planning is tight and predicting the number of customers, maintaining the appropriate levels of staff and perishable inventory make the current situation especially dicey.


SBA To Provide Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) Up to $2 Million in Disaster Assistance Loans
Mar 12, 2020, 11:51 ET
WASHINGTON, March 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza issued the following statement today in response to the President's address to the nation:
"The President took bold, decisive action to make our 30 million small businesses more resilient to Coronavirus-related economic disruptions. Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. Our Agency will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation. Additionally, the SBA continues to assist small businesses with counseling and navigating their own preparedness plans through our network of 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners located around the country. The SBA will continue to provide every small business with the most effective and customer-focused response possible during these times of uncertainty."

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