Pandemics, load-shedding, man-made disasters, and natural disasters are all times when we need to implement an emergency plan. But do you have an emergency plan? If you feel like a bit of a chicken with their head chopped off at the moment then here are some points to consider to help get you through an emergency.
1. Close the office door and take a breath
Everyone is looking at you as the leader of your business to guide them on what to do in the emergency. Before you make any rash decisions, you need to close the door on the noise for a bit and breathe. This will help you to calm down and focus on what you need to do to keep your company afloat.
2. Think about the minimum requirement you need to operate your business
You need to consider who are your key staff members, what is your most important equipment and what raw materials do you need to operate. If there are any components which break regularly on your equipment or need to be replaced on a frequent base then you should ensure you have a back-up. If your key staff members get sick is there someone who knows how to do their job or do you have a guide available which someone can read to help with the position. You should also ensure you are aware of other suppliers for the raw materials you need for your business in case you can’t get the raw materials from your regular supplier.
3. Remain informed from credible sources
With everyone having accessing to the internet, there are many opinions and pieces of advice being circulated through the internet. Ensure you get your advice from government sites or sites which are hosted by reputable disaster relief teams in the world. For the current COVID-19 pandemic in the world, you can go on to the World Health Organisation’s website for the coronavirus. If you want information for South Africa you can WhatsApp “Hi” to 0600 123 456 or visit the South African government’s coronavirus website.
4. Communicate clearly
Misunderstanding and gossip are bred from lack of communication. It is critical that you communicate clearly with your staff, customers and community at large. You need to ensure that they know you are aware of the threat and how you will treat it. For your customers: you can use social media or your website. For your staff: you could use Slack, Google Hangouts, Skype or a newsletter to communicate with them.
5. Make a plan for these scenarios
During an emergency you may be faced with different scenarios, here are some ways to deal with them:
- If you are not comfortable handling cash, you may need to consider cashless methods of payment. You could use Snapscan or Zapper.
- If you are forced to close your physical business, can you run your business remotely? Now may be the time to look into online team collaborations apps or to work on your online store.
- If you can’t run remotely, do you have emergency funds or business interruption insurance to see you through this time?
- If the borders of the country were to be closed to commercial trade, do you have enough stock to see you through until the border opens?
- If delivery companies are overloaded, do you have an alternative way to get products to your customers or receive resources from your supplier?
- How can you change your offering to help boost your sales? You may need to consider offering gift vouchers for your services. If you offer classes, you may offer your clients online classes at a discounted rate. If you are a restaurant, you may want to offer delivery or collection of meals from your establishment.
By going through these steps you will be well on your way to making an emergency plan that will stick.
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