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Maintaining business continuity in a changing economyApril 16th, 2020 by
In the last few weeks, state and local governments shuttered millions of businesses to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Home services providers across the country must adapt to the current situation in order to maintain business continuity in the changing economy.
The reality is our nation faces a tough enemy in the form of a serious health pandemic and a changing economy. Regardless, many companies will find success depending on their response and adaptability. Our goal at GuildQuality is to help businesses within our communities navigate this challenge and provide education regarding how to maintain your business’s goals in this new environment.
What is a business continuity plan?
The first place to start as a business owner is with a business continuity plan. This type of plan is a formal strategy for companies dealing with emergency situations, such as disruptions, disasters, health pandemics, or other threats. It maps out tactics for business leaders to address and act upon when business operations get interrupted.
Ideally, your company should have a continuity plan in place before an emergency situation arises. If you don’t have a set plan, now is the time to create one. Creating a plan for the current global health pandemic may be the way to keep your small business running throughout the challenges ahead.
Why do I need a business continuity plan?
Having a set plan ready to go in case of an emergency is vital to a business’s survival. It’s also smart to create several action plans for various scenarios, such as floods, data theft, government shutdowns, fires, and economic disasters. Without a plan of action, a business may not be ready to overcome difficult challenges.
A formal plan also helps employees take action and know what to do when disaster strikes. It keeps panic from spreading throughout an organization and helps the team focus on specific tasks in order to adapt the operational plan. An effective plan for continuity ensures the company is prepared to find success again after current events have subsided.
Building your plan
If your business doesn’t have a plan for what to do right now, you’re not alone. Many companies are unsure about the next steps to take in the current health crisis and business shutdown. Small businesses in the home services industry should now focus on writing a clear plan of action to ensure day-to-day continuity.
Start by evaluating your company’s current resources. Identify key personnel who will assist with the adjusted operations throughout the pandemic, assess financial resources, and survey facilities and materials your company has on hand. Pay close attention to suppliers and their current operations to determine how you need to adjust your supply chain and response.
In today’s situation, it’s also essential to identify potential obstacles. Some parts of the country have government mandates regulating how businesses conduct operations. Many companies are not allowed to do any non-essential face-to-face business. Another potential obstacle may be a more limited number of staff members.
This situation may also put constraints on revenue. It’s vital for companies in our industry to find creative solutions to combat revenue loss and modify ways of doing business. You can move to online transactions, use a drone for assessments and quotes, and even reassure homeowners that you will wear face masks and gloves when working inside their home.
The key to overcoming some of these obstacles is to incorporate more virtual experiences with the business and customers. You should consider using more internet technology tools and virtual tours to continue to make sales and bring in more profits. Extremely low interest rates for home and construction loans make this a great time for consumers.
Those that are able to carry on with business should expand their sick leave policies to allow for potential illness and protect healthy staff members. Makes sure to increase your use of cleaning products and improve hygiene practices at client sites to control the spread of the virus as well.
To help protect the business itself, improving cash flow and liquid assets are good practices to adopt during any kind of emergency.
Communicating with customers
Business leaders must also stress clear, constant communication with customers and other stakeholders in order to maintain business continuity. Most plans for continuity should account for a way to maintain communication with customers. In many cases, there will be adjustments in hours, practices, and policies that customers need to know about.
Social media, marketing emails, and videos are all effective ways of keeping customers in the loop. When current events subside, customers will still be on board with your brand and ready to continue supporting your business. Keeping customers in the dark leads to confusion, which ultimately hurts you, your business, and your employees.
Use your support resources
As business owners, be aware that there are many sources of support for you to utilize. Many SMBs qualify for emergency financial help from either the federal or state government. Together with our parent company, EverCommerce, we’ve put together a complete guide to help you interpret what kind of government aid is available and determine whether you qualify or not.
Businesses in our industry may also find support from partners and vendors. Keep an eye out for free webinars and summits taking place by industry experts over the next couple of months. If you are interested in finding some of these resources, reach out to our team and we’ll provide you with what’s available.
The most important lesson in maintaining business continuity for your company’s business continuity during a time like this is to stay flexible and adaptable. The consequences of this health pandemic may change the way we do business in the future, so you can’t get stuck in your ways.
Instead of waiting for things to get back to “normal,” business leaders and stakeholders should focus on finding new ways to achieve your company’s goals. That may mean more virtual experiences, more use of technology, and most likely a little bit of a learning curve along the way.
Continue moving forward
Maintaining business continuity during unexpected events is a vital part of any company’s survival. With a strong plan in place, your company can overcome obstacles and build an even stronger business. Start moving forward with your plan and contact us to learn how we can help.