We’re in some unprecedented times right now. Who knew there would be a global pandemic affecting basically everything in the year 2020?

So, what are you doing on the home front? Have you prepared for it? Do you have a business continuity plan? There are lots of unanswered questions, but I’m here to help you make a plan.

First off, we’re going to talk a little bit about preparedness. The second thing I want to talk about is the financial impact. I also want to talk about what’s going on in the markets, your supply chain and what’s going on in your life in general. Because you’re a leader, people will look to you to help guide them through.

So, a global pandemic – that’s pretty stressful. That’s not only stressful on you as a business owner and entrepreneur, but it’s also stressful for your people, your employees, and your customers. There are a lot of unknowns right now and people are anxious. I think there’s a lot of fear out there as well. How do you keep people calm in the eye of the storm? If you are calm, that will help others to be calm.

As a business leader, one area I think you need to think about is communication. How do you communicate with your people? Do you tell them what your plans are, how you’re going to handle things, if you’re going to close your business or if you’re going to remain open? How do you communicate this to your customers or clients as well? If no communication exists, people will come to their own conclusions in the void. It’s our job to provide clear and direct communication that will help to reduce the fear.

Not to mention, the markets are shaky and that gives us pause. They’ve been very volatile as of late, and one big reason they’re volatile is because of the uncertainty that’s associated with this pandemic. Where is the next hot spot going to be? What’s the next country that’s going to go into lockdown? And it’s a very fluid situation. People don’t like that. The markets don’t like that. So the markets have been all over the place, which is also contributing to widespread fear and anxiety.

Next, what’s going on with your supply chain? What’s going on with the suppliers that provide either services to your company or other input items to your business? Are those in flux right now? Is there uncertainty there?

One other item that can be in flux is your staff – your employees. Is anyone sick? Do they have to take care of family obligations? Do they have to take care of children who are now at home because the schools are shut down? Do they have to take care of parents who may need extra help or may need errands run for them because their health might be compromised and they can’t go out themselves for fear of contracting this illness?

Of course, I’ve spoken and written about this before, and preparation is always key. So I’m including a copy of my business continuity checklist. Obviously, it’s better to have plans in place when something like this happens, but there’s no time like the present to be able to step back, take a look at what’s going on, and go over this checklist to put together a plan for your business, a plan that will cover all of the major areas that are outlined in the checklist. Take advantage of this timeout to work ON your business, so that you are positioned to be ready, willing and able to take advantage of what awaits us on the other side.

This checklist is intended to be a guide for any type of event that disrupts your business. It could be weather-related: a hurricane, snow storm, or an earthquake. Or, it could be a global pandemic like we are experiencing right now.

Whatever it is, we need to be prepared, and part of that preparedness involves putting together adequate plans that get communicated within our organizations. That way, no one is surprised or caught off-guard by these events.

One last thing that we need to make sure that we are prepared for is the financial impact of these types of events. We need to ensure that we have sufficient monetary reserves in place, not unlike saving for a rainy day. We want to make sure that we have those reserves locked in so that we have options available to us when we have to make key decisions on how we move forward through a crisis. Our decisions now will affect the health of our companies next week, next month and next year. How you look after your cash involves lots of scenario planning and critical decisions – don’t make them in a vacuum.

So look over these suggestions, put your plan in place and execute it. Your employees, your community and your family are counting on you to come through this on the other side.

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