It doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can't have failed to have heard about - or even been personally affected by - the current Coronavirus epidemic. Whilst health officials are working round the clock on protecting us humans, you can focus on how to protect your business from any potential impact the virus may bring.
Naturally, you and everyone else in the business are following hygiene guidelines to minimise the risk of introducing COVID-19 (to use itís official name) to the workplace but, in addition to providing all staff with hand gel and antibacterial phone wipes, there are a number of questions you should be asking at the moment.Whatís the potential impact on your customers?
How do they consume your products or services and how might the risk of COVID-19 change this? What extra measures do you need to put in place? For example, businesses providing services where large numbers of people gather (gyms, restaurants, events, bars etc.) may benefit from providing on-premise hand sanitising stations. Or, if your business is mainly face-to-face, can you do some of it via online channels for the time being?Equally, what's the potential impact on your supply chain?
Where are your products manufactured or distributed from? Even if the country you are in is not affected by COVID-19, countries throughout your supply chain may well be. Liaise with everyone in the supply chain to understand the risks so you can work together to identify solutions and work-arounds to those risks.
And, if there is any likely impact on your customers - for example longer delivery times - keep your them informed.How about the mobility of your workforce?
More than likely you have a traditional business set up where staff physically come into an office, workshop or other company building to work. But what if they couldn't due to a COVID-19 outbreak? With a bit of planning now, could they work remotely? Do you need to bring any old computers back into play in order to fully mobilise your workforce?
And, if everyone is working remotely, how do they communicate and collaborate? There are lots of online systems to help with this. Online project management systems such as JIRA, Trello or Basecamp. Real-time communication platforms such as Slack or Yammer. And online collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365 or Google Drive. Adopting some of these now could well minimise business impact if the worst should happen. And, you never know, you may even find a more remotely enabled workforce is a more productive one!Are you insured for any business interruption?
Not everything can be mitigated (e.g. sports events) so are you covered if business is affected? Read your business insurance policies to check. Or can you take out an extra policy specifically to cover you?
These are just a few thoughts to get you started. Why not spend half an hour today making a list of what may affect you.
Beck Reid is an author for accountingcpd. To see her courses, click here.