April 27, 2020
This weeks post will hopefully provide you with useful tips and links to help you address the five priorities identified in last week’s blog.
Health and Safety
If you or your employees are experiencing mental health issues visit the Nova Scotia government website where you will find online services at your disposal. https://novascotia.ca/mental-health/
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
By far the easiest platform to use to inform your customers of your businesses situation is Facebook https://www.facebook.com/. After providing some basic information you will be all set to communicate to the masses. You might try your hand at Twitter as well www.twitter.com.
If you have not already done so think about posting your store hours on the more local in scope websites:
Boostflow (Yarmouth County) https://www.boostflow.ca/whats-open-in-yarmouth
Huddle (Provincial) https://huddle.today/open-for-business-ns/
Get in the Loop – https://getintheloop.ca/business
In an effort to bolster the revenue side of the ledger during these trying times both levels of government are implementing programs meant to help out struggling businesses. Please check out the Western Regional Enterprise Networks Covid-19 Update page as it is a good one stop source for the myriad of programs being offered. Furthermore it is updated frequently. https://westernren.ca/covid-19-information-and-resources/
You are also encouraged to check out Canadian Emergency Benefit Account (CEBA). It has been applied to successfully by several local businesses. It is administered through your bank and is gaining a reputation of being quick and easy to apply for. Be sure to consult with your accountant to ensure this or any other program is right for your company.
There are no quick fixes here. This exercise requires good old fashion communication skills. As stated in the last post. Reach out to your suppliers and let them know your current situation and ask them of theirs. Partner up to create a shared strategy that can be employed to ensure you get what your business needs.
If your company relies on China or other overseas suppliers for your goods take a look at this article by Deloitte https://www2.deloitte.com/ca/en/pages/finance/articles/covid-19-managing-supply-chain-risk-and-disruption.html. A lot of this article will go a long way in preparing for the new normal.
Brave New World - The New Normal
When things begin to return to normal but with this experience still top of mind, you should begin to assess your vulnerabilities and seek out ways to strengthen them. For instance, are you able to operate with 50% absenteeism? How could you adapt to this? Move to a more automated system in the future perhaps? Adjust the way you do business to be able to compensate for this? You might have to think outside of the box here but you should at least be thinking about it.
Are there contingency plans in place should you become incapacitated? Now is the time to plan for that possibility. Who will be in charge, who after them? Make sure there is a plan and all who need to be aware are.
If the bulk of your employees are front line workers will you be able to ensure that they will have the proper PPE if this should happen again. The shelf life for this equipment is long and there should be a provision to stock it in case it is needed.
Are you in a sector where your employees can take advantage of technology and work from home? If so you should become familiar with the technology out there. You will find that it can be used throughout the year for a multitude of reasons like having an employee popping in on an emergency meeting/call during their vacation.
Perhaps it is time to seriously consider investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to help you manage and communicate with not only your customers but suppliers as well. Connecting with your customers and suppliers with ease and on a regular basis is just good business.
Again on the subject of supply chain, at the very least you need to be aware of possible local suppliers of the goods you require should your foreign supply become disrupted. Develop those local connections and perhaps think about buying local at least every now and again. This will support local business and hopefully make you a priority of your local supplier should this type of situation arise in the future.