Things are strange right now. Going to the grocery store feels like an adventure into a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie with all the people walking around in masks and wearing gloves and things being hushed and quietly frantic. Driving down long stretches of strip malls that are all but abandoned due to concerns of proximity. Everything seems strange and foreign, and people are trying to adjust.
You’re a small business owner. What do you do? Do you panic and wonder why whatever deity you pray or don’t pray to has forsaken you? Or do you make a plan to protect yourself and your business? To make it out alive in this situation, you should be aware of a few dos and don’ts.
Don’t: Panic: Panicking is a pretty natural reaction given the circumstances of a global pandemic. You’ve worked your whole life to start a business and be your own boss. Years of sacrifice, long days, and late nights, suddenly derailed by a situation you can’t control. But don’t worry – there are resources, and we are ready to help you navigate them.
Do: Create a Plan: This may seem like a requisite whenever a crisis comes your way. Slowing down, assessing the situation, and making informed decisions can mean the difference between making it through the week and making it through the pandemic. Consider making an emergency plan that outlines what steps you need to take to keep your business going as stay-at-home orders or other restrictions stay in effect. Some steps to consider in your plan:
- How you’re going to protect your employees
- How to handle an infection from within your business
- What will happen if the outbreak continues for longer than initially expected
- How to conduct work if physical proximity is compromised
Don’t: Put yourself or your employees at risk: It’s easy to want to maintain some degree of normalcy during times when everything seems anything but typical. But keeping yourself and your employees safe is much more critical. Don’t schedule in-person meetings with your employees or demand on-site work to be done if you don’t have to.
Do: Consider alternative meeting and work arrangements: We are living in a world of exciting technology. Most computers are equipped with webcams, and almost everyone has a smartphone. With these standard technologies, you and your employees can find new ways to meet and stay in touch without having to be in the same space physically. Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts, Skype, and other online video conferencing platforms are readily available to keep you and your employees productive and communicative all from the comfort of home.
Don’t: Be weird and not ask for help! In times of crisis, there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it, especially financially. Your business is not the only business currently experiencing hardship.
Do: Explore Federal Relief programs: In response to the pandemic, the federal government has implemented several programs under the CARES Act that offer relief to small businesses. You can find more information about these programs on the Treasury website.
Everything seems up in the air right now. Still, Echo Tax Management is here to help you navigate the financial uncertainty of being a small business owner in the pandemic. Remember: you’re not alone.