How Should Your Business React to the Coronavirus Threat?

Consumers are hoarding daily living essentials like bottled water and toilet paper. Perhaps you’ve seen both missing at your local grocery store.

At this point, that probably seems quite irrational to you. And for now, you’re probably right to feel a bit confused about such behavior.

…But what about your business? How should your company react to what could possibly be a serious threat to your operations for some months?

Take a look at some of the data as you formulate your own response:

1. McKinsey & Company Reports

“The virus disproportionately affects older people with underlying conditions,” says McKinsey & Company.

Epidemiologists reviewed data from China’s CDC. The fatality rate ran seven times higher than normal for people over 80 and 3-4 times above normal for those over 70.

…But they didn’t mention any significant data for people of working age.

What’s more is that new cases in China have fallen substantially off their peak. At the beginning of February, around 900-1000 new cases were discovered per day.

However, that number has now fallen to 5-10 cases, or possibly even less.

Whatever you hear elsewhere, McKinsey & Company currently believes in “…a more optimistic outcome to COVID-19…”

2. NFIB Research Center Says Most SMBs Currently Not Affected

For the most part, small businesses have not yet been affected by coronavirus. NFIB data reports that 74% say they haven’t been negatively affected yet.

At the same time, small business owners have legitimate concerns about coronavirus’ impact over the next three months. And they’re taking steps to minimize the potential negative impact.

30% of SMB owners have stocked up on hand sanitizer and disinfectant. 12% have increased their communication with employees about taking sick leave or working from home. And 3% have modified their supply chain, which could include changing suppliers.

However, that still leaves a 52% majority who haven’t done anything yet.

3. US Chamber of Commerce Guidance

The US Chamber of Commerce released its own simple plan to help SMBs prepare for coronavirus in advance.

For now, they recommend pretty simple measures most SMBs can accommodate:

  • Allow employees to work from home
  • Offer flexible work hours, as employees may need to stay home because of their own sickness or watch their children due to school closings
  • Have a communications plan established with your employees
  • Listen for guidance from state and local health officials
  • Review your business continuity plan (identifying alternative suppliers or temporarily suspending certain operations if needed)

At this point, it seems wise to have a basic reaction plan in place. No one knows how far coronavirus will spread. It may have done its worst. The worst may be around the corner.

But…you’re never stupid to prepare in advance. So, begin to think out your reaction strategy. And prepare to implement it in the snap of a finger should it become necessary.