Risk management took on a whole new meaning for businesses when the coronavirus pandemic first began. In fact, it even became a life-or-death consideration.
There is nothing predictable about a pandemic, which is why they leave a substantial amount of destruction in their path once they fizzle out. Your survival as a business depends on your ability to manage the threats a pandemic could have on your organization. Some seasoned business owners have been through times of crisis like this before, but for other business owners, this is likely their first time ever having to deal with such a grim scenario.
Don't be the business owner that believes they will be saved from the side effects of a pandemic. These individuals are the ones that put themselves, their company, and their employees at risk. Everyone will be impacted by the pandemic in some way, some more than others, but that doesn't excuse you from assessing the real threats that could happen to your company. Here are some action steps that every business owner must take to mitigate risk during a pandemic:
Be flexible with your employees
If you don't currently check in with your employees about how they're feeling on a regular basis, now is the time to start. Under COVID-19 protocols, businesses that are still operating must do so in a remote work environment. It's critical that your employees feel comfortable and are prepared to work from home by having everything they need to continue with business as usual.
Businesses are not the only organizations that have been forced to close their doors, as universities, schools, and daycares have also had to halt their operations. Remote work offers flexibility for employees to be able to continue working during a pandemic, but you must also be flexible with their time. If one of your employees or their children would get sick, be a support system for them. If you're worried you could become temporarily short-staffed, make sure you have a contingency plan in place that allows you to care for your employees without interfering with productivity.
Communicate with complete transparency
Just as you're anxious about what the coronavirus pandemic could mean for the future of your business, so are your employees, your stakeholders, and your customers. Be as transparent with everyone as possible so they can be on the same page as you throughout this entire ordeal.
Hiding pertinent information with those closest to your business will give them even more cause for concern. Employees, stakeholders, and customers are also experiencing the side effects of the pandemic, so they are going to be more flexible, transparent, and understanding of you, as long as you offer that up to them as well.
Focus on cash-flow management
Taking care of your people during a pandemic is critical, but so is managing your cash flow. A pandemic will put a burden on your finances, but if you make cash-flow management a part of your corporate strategic planning, you'll hopefully see little long-term impact.
It's important to make sure you have a framework in place that allows you to manage any risks to your supply chain. Think like a CFO across the entire structure of your organization. Will your funding remain viable? Do you have alternatives in place for supply chain funding? Will your insurance cover any risks that could happen to your business? It's critical you take a proactive approach to your finances.
In the midst of a pandemic, you and your business will be tested. What's important is that you are ready to respond and that you've prepared accordingly so you can be resilient in the face of a crisis. If you get through a pandemic, you can make it through anything.