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COVID-19 and Your Small Business

Written by Ryan Smeltz


Posted on April 26 2020

Given the current pandemic surrounding the coronavirus, there are many local businesses that are suffering. I wanted to do a little research and find out what some of them are doing to not only protect themselves but also make sure they stay in business once the spread of the virus settles down. Of course, to find most of these solutions, I took to the internet. 

Though this information is spreading like wildfire, I want to make sure you, our audience, have direct access to anything that will help you with your business. I found quite a few posts on Facebook and plenty of articles on Google as well. The three primary topics I want to focus on in this article are human resources, emergency preparedness, and online business. 

I am an optimist and I believe that all this stuff will blow over, but as they say in the Army: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Preparation is not panic. I have spoken with many business owners and though most of them are taking the proper precautions, some have chosen to ignore the pandemic altogether. For those interested in taking precautions, here are some I have gathered through research you may consider.

Hand Washing More Frequently

Many of us see warnings like this and think, “But I already wash my hands. Why are they telling me this?” Though I have a tendency to agree, I think the primary lesson here is the word “more”. The reason I am mentioning this is because of a TEDx speaker I watched named Alanna Shaikh. She covered many awesome reasons why handwashing is important, developing better habits around handwashing, and why covering your mouth and nose won’t help much.

One thing many offices are doing which we did in the Army a lot is placing hand sanitizer at common high traffic areas throughout the office. Granted by this time many businesses have either moved to a work-at-home model or shut down, there are still plenty of opportunities for better, more improved handwashing hygiene. 

If you or someone you know is working from home, I highly recommend doing like most of the people I talked to and placing indicators in your daily routine for handwashing. Whether it’s an alarm on your phone or a sign strategically placed, start washing your hands more often. One of the people I talked to put some hand sanitizer right on their work desk so they can use it frequently.

Monitor Vital Signs Such as Body Temperature

This recommendation came from Wake County Commissioner Greg Ford. He placed Wake County and most surrounding cities under a state of emergency and in the letter he addressed recommendations for businesses. One of these recommendations was taking temperatures of employees to see if they have a fever over 100.4 Fahrenheit and sending people home if they do.

Of course, if your business is essential at this time and you must practice these things, then the small added cost of the proper equipment to do so will not have a huge impact. Then again, since medical facilities are essential, they already have thermometers. The commissioner also recommended if your business is not essential, then you should close the doors.

A great influencer in the world of home services, Keith Mercurio, suggested sending all office workers home immediately. In 2020, it is easy to have all office workers work from home. This will minimize the number of people you have to check before allowing them to work and greatly reduce the risk of exposure to everyone else.

Be an Army Boy Scout

I realize this may not make much sense to many of you, but let me explain. The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” One of the ways they do this is through practice and learning. In the Army, the main thing we did was train. The only thing we did more than training was “hurry up and wait”. 

I got my Eagle Scout in 2002. One of the things I learned to be prepared is to plan. Later on, I held a face-to-face sales position where we always used the phrase “plan and prepare”. The premise, of course, is to ensure you know what is about to happen so you can properly prepare for it. Never have I seen someone with a plan panic. I believe the common cliche is “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

In the Army, all we did was train. Think about it like the line at Disney Land: You wait for three hours in line for five minutes of excitement. As much as this may not sound like fun, in the Army we trained “as we fight”, so there was some fun involved. Imagine going into a firefight with no training on how to shoot and no bullets. That would be a losing battle. The way we prepared for the firefight was by training. I was in the Army for ten years, but I only deployed once. Most of what I did in the Army was prepare for some type of Military action such as deployment. 

The point of me saying all this is that during the COVID-19 situation, it is smarter to act cautiously in preparation than to live with regret. Planning for a national emergency is not a bad thing. The foolish thing is to ignore it and possibly pay the price later. Good luck and stay safe.

Other resources:

Service MVP COVID19 Brief

Zenefits Coronavirus WAH Checklist

HR Brief by Bambee



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