COVID-19, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Health and Wellness

How the Coronavirus Is Affecting Small Business

It’s impossible to avoid at this point, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is on everyone’s mind. Sports leagues around the world have shut down, companies are going fully remote, and colleges have switched to being exclusively online.

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At this time, there are still so many unknowns. Business owners, politicians, and consumers are all trying to figure out what to expect, and how to prepare for a variety of possibilities. In this article, we’ll focus specifically on some potential outcomes for businesses, both positive and negative.

Possible Negative Outcomes

If we take a step back and look at the possible negative outcomes, they fall into two buckets: loss of business and sickness.

Sickness

No one really knows just how widespread this virus will be. Some experts estimate anywhere from 40 to 70% of the population will contract coronavirus. Even if the real number of people infected is only 20%, businesses will see a significant impact. Due to school closings, switching from an office to remote work, and mandatory quarantines, daily routines will have to change. While you can’t completely prevent the coronavirus from affecting your business, you can do your part to slow its spread by following the CDC guidelines. You should also try to stay as informed as possible. You don’t have to be glued to the television for minute-by-minute updates, but make sure you have a good overall sense on how things are progressing.

Supply Chain Interruption

As coronavirus continues to spread, businesses will struggle to access supplies and receive shipments from their vendors. At the moment, this issue is mostly affecting businesses that source their supplies from China. However, this will soon be an issue for all supply chains, given the global impact of this virus. If your business’ supply chain hasn’t been affected yet, reach out to your vendors. Try and get a sense of what they’re doing during these times, and if there’s an option to prevent a loss of supplies. If it looks like supplies will be hard to come by in the future, evaluate your current inventory and think of ways to work with what you have until your supply chain returns to normal.

Possible Positive Outcomes

Even though it may seem all doom and gloom, there are some positive ways businesses will be affected. Actions are already being taken by world leaders to protect small businesses.

Increase in Business

Believe it or not, depending on the industry and location, some businesses will see an increase in customers. Consultants, financial service companies, and most of all healthcare companies should see a steady increase in business. Even if your business doesn’t fit into one of these industries perfectly, try to think of new and creative ways you can serve your customers during these challenging times.

Financial Relief

Now more than ever, small businesses are concerned about their finances. Many businesses run on tight budgets, and that combined with an uncertain market makes for some huge issues. In the United States, lawmakers have already taken actions to mitigate the impact of the virus for small businesses. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percent on March 3rd to make financing more affordable for businesses that do currently need financing. On March 6th, President Trump signed an $8 billion emergency funding package to support small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. While it may look bleak right now, actions are being taken to protect small businesses and ensure their survival during these tough times.

The coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime. There are currently a lot of unknowns, but by being proactive and preparing, you’re taking the right steps to protect your business. Check out the infographic from Fundera below to learn more ways you can protect your business from the outbreak.

Fundera Essential Covid Guide Infographic

Ricardo Velez is a Content Associate at Fundera, the go-to financial resource for every small business.