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Prepare, don’t panic.  It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic is going to affect your business.  An unexpected event like this means that you may have to change plans and look for new ways to manage your business and serve your customers. 

You may be facing immediate challenges and be worrying about the coming weeks, but it’s important to slow down, be thoughtful and proceed with a plan that is going to leave your business healthy in the long-term. 

Time To Communicate 

  • Engage your team.  People feel uncertain.  They share your concerns and worries and by being open, honest and clear you will find your team will feel more secure and productive.  Share your challenges and your team may help you find solutions.  
  • Talk to key partners.  Now is the time to speak to your suppliers and any other businesses that help keep your wheels turning.  Understand how their situation may impact your business and start to explore alternative solutions if bottlenecks are identified.  
  • Anticipating cashflow problems?  Discuss your situation with the bank and your suppliers before things get critical.  You have more options by acting while you can demonstrate you are not under financial pressure.  
  • Keep customers up-to-date.  Changing the way you provide your product or service? Use your marketing channels and team members to ensure your customers know what to expect.  This article explains how you can use Google My Business to help keep your customers in the loop. 

Build Your Knowledge 

  • Understand the changes to Employment Insurance (EI).  The one-week wait period has been temporarily eliminated, so if you have employees who are eligible for this benefit make sure they know how to claim.   
  • Stay current with reliable sources of information so you can make decisions based on facts and well-researched advice.  Things are changing hour-by-hour and good information will help you take considered and rational actions. 
  • Monitor key metrics that can provide you with early warning signs of potential challenges within your business.  Growing accounts receivable or a fall in online traffic could indicate that you need to take some action.     
  • Review your business insurance policies and any major contracts. There may be clauses or aspects of these that are affected by an event of this nature.  Understanding, and getting advice where necessary, is going to help you avoid unwelcome surprises. 

Making Plans 

  • Use technology to help you through this.  Are there opportunities for remote working? Can you develop a plan to include technology to reduce in-person contact?  Online tools like Zoom and Loom make it easier to communicate with customers and colleagues remotely.  Is this an opportunity to streamline some of your business processes to provide long-term efficiencies?  This article from Puncard.io explores this in more detail.
  • You may need to make budget adjustments and forecasting updates as a result of this situation.  Look at your business and financial plans to see how you can reallocate resources and reduce costs as you navigate this uncertain time.  

We’re Here to Help

We are dedicated to continuing to support entrepreneurs in Alberta through these uncertain times and we will continue to conduct webinars and online programming, remote Ask an Expert Sessions and offer one-on-one advice and support. Our team still can be reached via email, phone, video conference platforms, or Live Chat.

For the latest Business Link updates, events, and workshops you can subscribe to our newsletter. Please email askus@businesslink.ca if you have any questions or concerns.

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Ready to take your next step towards starting your business?

If you are looking for one-on-one support for your small business, give the Business Link Business Advisors a call at 1-800-272-9675 or email askus@businesslink.ca. You can also visit the events page for upcoming activities!

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Matt Hill

Matt Hill is our Business Facilitator covering Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and all the rural communities of Southern Alberta. Matt trained as a theatre teacher in the UK and he worked in London schools for seven years before making the leap into entrepreneurship. Matt started a specialist cleaning business in London, growing from a one-man business to become a trusted partner of universities and real estate companies. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs looking to start small and test ideas before scaling up their business operations.

Book an appointment with Matt.