How to prepare for Coronavirus as a small business

Mar 13, 2020 | Business, COVID-19, Planning, Small businesses

Since the first cases in Wuhan, December 2019, Coronavirus has been dominating the news pages – and for a good reason. Continuing to spread around the globe, the fever-like virus is now causing a massive panic. While Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is perhaps not the most life-threatening of illnesses (the mortality rate is around 3%), it does have significantly bigger implications than just health concerns.

The vastly-spreading virus is already affecting businesses in a variety of ways and could lead to a major crash in the economy. Small businesses are the ones to worry the most though, and here’s why:

  • The majority of small businesses operate on very fine profit margins, which means that even a loss of one month’s revenue could lead to cash flow problems and insolvency.

  • For businesses that sell physical products, there likely will be problems with the supply chain, especially if you are delivering from such countries as China.

  • Coronavirus poses a high risk to all the high street businesses, such as coffee places, boutiques or pubs. The more this virus spreads, the more people will be staying at home to avoid public places.

  • Social distancing protocol may extend to the workplace. This could lead to the inability of workers attending the office; whether it’s through illness or cautionary measures.

How can I prepare as a small business owner

Although the situation is causing quite a bit of uncertainty and it is hard to guess what will happen next, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the worst. 

Keep up to date

Whilst there is not a lot of useful information on the virus for small businesses, you should try and stay up to date with any latest changes. The government is constantly trying to find solutions on how to contain the virus and how to help the businesses during this period. So you need to keep an eye out for any important information that may be relevant to your business. Make sure to avoid any unreliable sources though, as they have a tendency to spread panic and not include practical advice. Ideally use the government announcements or the NHS to get your information.

Have an internal crisis team

Within your small business, you should have an internal crisis team of some sort – even if it is just the CEO and the main managers. Communication is absolutely crucial in times like this, so you should make sure to regularly meet up and decide on your next action. This way you will be able to keep your employees feeling safe and taken care of as well, as they will see that you are not ignoring the situation and will act if necessary. 

Look up your financial options

There are quite a few banks that committed to providing small businesses with emergency funds in case the situation goes worse. However, you should not leave this to the last minute, as it may quickly get to the stage where it is too late. If your business is already significantly affected by the virus, look into the emergency loans now and choose the best option for your company, so you don’t have to make any rushed decisions later.

Outsource areas of your business

Outsourcing some parts of your business has never been a smarter choice. For example, outsourcing your accounting and payroll will ensure that you are not relying on an office worker that may fall ill in case of a higher spread of the virus, as accounting companies will have quite a few people available to assist you.

Besides, outsourcing is a common choice for many companies, even without a virus attacking the country. Not only is it more environmentally friendly with less people commuting to your office, but it can also significantly boost your company’s productivity. Your team can then focus more on revenue-generating tasks. So, perhaps Coronavirus is a good push to change your business for the best. 

Small but important measures

There are some other small things you could do to stay prepared, without requiring any drastic measures. Such insignificant things as improving your sanitation, refraining from hand-shakes or working from home when possible could be all it takes to ensure the safety of your workers. There is also no need to travel to meetings at this time, when you could easily have a video call. When the benefits of remote working and outsourcing are realised, this restructuring is likely to become a permanent habit even post-Covid 19.

Carry on with your work

While the virus is still fairly contained in the UK compared to some other countries there is not much else you can do than just stay calm and keep working. It is important to use this time to be as efficient and productive as possible to generate as much revenue in case of a shut down. Panicking and closing down before the need to do so could unnecessarily drag your revenue down. Of course, while you do so, look out for important information or instructions as well as take the necessary precautions.

Let’s get it touch

If you do decide to outsource your accounting and payroll in preparation for Coronavirus, we are here to help.

At ASfB we specialise in supporting businesses of all sizes and advising them on how to make better informed decisions for their companies. No matter what your needs are, we are happy to partner up.

Call our friendly team on 01202 755600 or email