The Covid-19 Pandemic of March 2020 led to a response that was unforeseen, and for businesses, unplanned. The closing of non-essential businesses, coupled with safer at home orders, has created a crisis environment for our economic well-being. We must decide now how our businesses will be able to survive this crisis and remain in business. This is different from a simple business continuity plan as the factors that have caused this crisis were out of our control. In this way, the effect that this has had on our business community is very similar to communities coping with large scale natural disasters. Many businesses in those communities were able to bounce back and recover as a result of good self-evaluation and planning. And thanks to several chambers around the country, here are some suggestions for planning our business recovery.
Don’t waste the downtime. If your shop or business is idle right now, use the time to organize. Is there a corner, shelf, delivery area or spare room that you’ve been meaning to get to for months to get straightened up? Do it now. Clean it up, straighten it around or throw it out. Maximize your ability to use your workspace to its best potential and productivity.
Take the time to make a full listing and accounting of your inventory — equipment, machinery, appliances and material on hand. Is it perishable? Is it preservable? How long can you fill orders with the material you have on hand when you re-open? What would you need to get back to full operations? What do you need first? Then plan an initial order.
You need to begin analyzing your business processes. The priorities of your recovery plan should directly connect to your business priorities. So, what are your priorities? At a basic level, this business impact analysis assesses which systems and applications are most critical to your organization’s functioning. There are two sides to this coin: the pieces that enable the crucial operations that run your business, and which of those pieces are most vulnerable to threat, loss or shortage? Your business impact analysis and risk assessment should include both.
Then plan your strategy. Your strategy is the high-level evaluation that looks at how the shut-down recovery fits into your business objectives, and what it will take to implement it. It should consider things like results from your self-evaluation, business impact analysis and risk assessment. You need to look at what you have and what you need. There’s also resource availability. What people, technology and other physical assets can or should be included in the recovery plan, and how can you ensure their availability when necessary.
These are some of the exercises we’re following at the chamber since the chamber is also a small business looking at our future as well. But I have not gotten to the cleaning part yet. My office is what it is. Let us know if there is anything we can do for you. We are better together.
Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email email@example.com.