The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is real. That’s why we are encouraging all businesses to prepare and stand ready to implement strategies that will protect their employees, support customers, and mitigate risks. We have compiled resources and key points from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to aide local businesses in creating a strategy to protect their workforce while ensuring continuity of operations.
Be obsessive about hygiene
Stop the spread of the virus by following these health and safety tips from the CDC:
- No handshakes: Use a non-contact method for greetings.
- Wash your hands: Employees should wash their hands when they arrive and every time they enter the premises, as well as frequently throughout the day.
- Try not to touch your face, and remind employees to do the same
- Constantly and regularly disinfect surfaces, including doorknobs, handrails, the POS system, tables and desks.
Keep your employees and your customers safe by being as proactive as possible about cleanliness.
Reduce meetings and travel
Try to keep opportunities for exposure to the virus to a minimum. Postpone non-essential meetings or hold them virtually. Skip any conferences or other planned business travel. If your workers get sick because of travel or meetings, you could have a liability issue on your hands, or you will have to manage low morale and sick leave requests.
With this in mind, please note that the following events are being postponed:
- Thursday, March 19- Business After Hours at L’burg Golf & Country Club
- Tuesday, March 24- Grand Opening for Summertown Construction
- Thursday, March 26-LCSS Student Job Fair
- Thursday, March 26-Leadership Lawrence Graduation
- Monday, March 30- Grand Opening for Society American Nosherie
- Tuesday, March 31-Ribbon Cutting for Gordman’s
- Thursday, April 2- Chamber Coffee hosted by Shawn Promotions
- Friday, April 3- Ribbon Cutting for Rev It Up Outdoor Equipment & More
Give employees flexibility
Schools across the country are closing, as are offices, stores, businesses and commercial centers. With the country slowly moving toward total lockdown, you will need to be flexible with your employees’ time. Some team members may have to leave unexpectedly if their child’s daycare closes. Others may have students who come home from school for spring break and aren’t able to return. Try to be as understanding as possible when something comes up and have a contingency plan in case you suddenly become short-staffed.
Shift your sales strategy to online
Chinese companies, forced to confront the reality of coronavirus shutdowns before most American companies, provide a blueprint for weathering this storm. As storefronts shuttered their doors and workers stayed in place, savvy business owners shifted their sales strategy to avoid heavy losses.
For instance, in Wuhan, the cosmetics company Lin Qingxuan closed 40% of its stores — but the brand’s 100+ beauty advisors took to digital platforms like WeChat to engage customers virtually and increase online sales. “As a result, its sales in Wuhan achieved 200% growth compared to the prior year’s sales,” writes Harvard Business Review.
If you’re closing your store, find ways to keep your employees earning a paycheck by selling on social media, putting your email list to good use or using a video tool to reach new leads.
Communicate transparently with your customers
Everyone is facing this crisis together, so be transparent about what your business is going through. Customers can empathize with brands facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly.
Plan for the long term
Though China and other economies are already starting to recover, the spread of the coronavirus is still extending throughout the world, creating a ripple effect that will impact us for some time.
Speak to your suppliers, investors, partners and local officials on a daily basis to learn how you can start to implement safeguards that will help you stay above the red while officials work to contain COVID-19. It might be a while until your small business gets back to business as usual.
Download these guides created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation based on information provided by the CDC, to learn more about how employers and employees can prepare for and address the impacts of the Coronavirus:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Workplace Tips for Employees
- Guidance For Employers To Plan and Respond To Coronavirus