Industry leaders and business consultants have been talking about having a Disaster Recovery (DR) & Business Continuity Plan since forever. But, more often than not, these terms are used strictly for technical cases like power outage, cyberattack, and data center downtime. For me, having a plan to fight against a global epidemic like the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak should also be a crucial part of your Business Continuity Plan.

The Coronavirus outbreak is definitely not the first. The deadly Ebola virus and H1N1 influenza also affected a diverse population set as well as businesses. According to the World Bank’s updated 2016 report, the overall impact of the Ebola epidemic on Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone was estimated at $2.8 billion. The annual socioeconomic costs of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza were US $1.09 billion. Businesses decide the economy and if you breakdown these statistics, companies do get affected at the ground level, besides other impacts of these epidemics.

World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID – 19) as a global pandemic. Is your business prepared to fight the Coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak? In this article, I have covered points on how you, as a CEO or an entrepreneur, can make sure that your business fights through this global pandemic – Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Outbreak.

Keep Yourself Informed

The first step of dealing with an issue is keeping yourself updated on everything there is to know about it! In today’s world of disruptive market space where everything keeps changing, what do you do when a new technology is gaining popularity? You read about it and implement it in your business, right? Preparing your business against this Coronavirus outbreak is no different.

The unfolding of events related to this outbreak is happening at a rapid pace. Not long ago, we were convinced that the Coronavirus outbreak would be confined to China – its origin country. Information is the key! Set up a channel to keep yourself informed of measures being taken to curb the growth of this outbreak and factor them in your ongoing business decisions.

This will serve you in two major ways. One, you’ll know how to curb the impact of this Coronavirus outbreak on your business. Two, you will be able to address any panic or anxiety caused due to this outbreak among your employees or in your organization more effectively. It is expected of you, as a leader of your company, to have articulated answers and solutions in such cases.

Communicate More Effectively

In cases of a global epidemic like this, shipments get delayed and not just of electronics! People are avoiding public transport or unchecked crowded spaces, altogether.

I suggest you to use this opportunity to interact with your customers and/or clients. Inform them about any delay in the delivery of your service beforehand and give them the assurance of the availability of your products/services at the earliest possible date.

Use the channel you have established (in the 1st step) to keep your clients and customers updated about the status of a product or service they are interested in. While we are at it, adding a personal touch to customer conversations will definitely serve your business in the long run.

A survey by Salesforce says that 80% of customers agree that the experience they have with a company is as important as its products/services! Efficient communication with your clients about the unavailability or any delay in the delivery of your services or products caused due to the Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Outbreak will not only improve their experience but also will help you in establishing a long-lasting rapport with them.

Stay Safe

Businesses have already started witnessing the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak at the ground level. CNBC reports – ‘Bo Ky, a pho restaurant located in New York City’s Chinatown, has lost about 60% of revenue and cannot produce all the items on the menu due to a lack of staff on site.’

Coronavirus outbreak has caused the outspread of the “idea of social distancing” and you, as an entrepreneur, should equip yourself with resources to fight it. Research about the precautions you can take and how you can prepare yourself, on an individual level, to fight Coronavirus.

Promote simple precautionary practices like wearing protective masks and washing hands in your organization. Creating a healthy working environment and doing your part in curbing the spread of Coronavirus outbreak are crucial for your business. Stay safe, prepare a checklist, and preach these safety measures among your employees!

The Employee Angle

You, as a CEO, can’t afford to overlook your employee needs if you want your business to survive in the long run. Ask employees of successful companies and they will have only good things to say about their organizations. So, what can you do for your employees during this Coronavirus (COVID – 19) outbreak?

Your company comes first, of course! Find ways to keep the supplies in your business up & running. For instance, if you own a company that is highly dependent on the functioning of supply chains, find more suppliers to establish redundancy and maintain consistency in the availability of your products instead of overworking a single supplier. The core idea should be to develop interim solutions and execute them strategically to ensure the welfare of your business as well as your employees.

In this pandemic where the government and international health organizations are advising physical isolation, allow sick leaves and work from home in your company, especially for those employees who use public transport. Develop a plan to review and measure the remote work done by your employees. Create strategies and test modules to check the net efficiency of your business under these conditions.

Final Words: Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Outbreak 101 for CEOs

In a way, CEOs are leaders of their companies but are an integral part of our community as well. As such, it becomes your responsibility to extend a helping hand to your local government or organizations working to fight this deadly virus. The only way we can fight more effectively against this Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Outbreak is we present ourselves as a united front.

Be it in personal life or in business, everyone around you is aiming to become more resilient and moving towards achieving more stability. Having a flawless Business Continuity Plan, I believe, is all about this! If you look at this from a larger perspective, this holds true for society and nation, as a whole, and not just for your organization. Having said that, including pandemic and epidemic cases like Coronavirus in your continuity plan is one step towards creating a sustainable surviving environment for your business in the long run!