Planning for coronavirus to affect your business will help you in the future. Here’s why

Having several employees overseas for business and they suddenly can’t return home because they’re under quarantine? That’s a huge concern in my book, especially if you depend on them for critical business activities and now they may not return for up to a month.

In my January 17 column here, I wrote about the importance of disaster planning. 

I posed several questions including:

•Are you prepared for disaster? 
•Is your business prepared for disaster?
•Can you flip a switch during a disaster and keep your business rolling?
•Do you have redundant systems in place to process payroll, orders, distribution and all other areas of your daily business activities?

With more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus around the world, the questions I posed are as timely as ever.

While at first glance you might not view coronavirus in the same way as a tornado that destroys a warehouse or headquarters, the net effect on your business could be nearly the same.

I urge you to consider your options in preparation for a disaster. 

Having several employees overseas for business and they suddenly can’t return home because they’re under quarantine? That’s a huge concern in my book, especially if you depend on them for critical business activities and now they may not return for up to a month.

So, here’s what I would do: act as if your traveling employees will surely be put under quarantine, either in the country they’re traveling to or upon their return. If travel is a must, act as if quarantine is going to happen and identify what you will do because it’s going to happen. If it doesn’t, then you have a future disaster plan you could put in place in the event it does. If it does happen, then you’ve done what you can to mitigate the effects.

If your payroll specialist is quarantined, does anyone else in your organization know how to process payroll so all of your employees are paid and paid on time? This is but one area that requires planning. 

No one asked for this, no one deserves this, but here we are. 

For many people stateside in the United States, it’s business as usual. But for anyone who travels globally, sources parts or must conduct plant inspections overseas, the novel coronavirus, now known officially as Covid-19, is a costly, developing situation, both in human and financial terms. And eventually, financial terms affect people.

Several trade shows around the world have recently been canceled or postponed, either due to governmental caution or exhibitors who have decided to hold back until disease specialists get a better handle on the outbreak.

Some of this may sound bleak, but don’t panic. Some health experts believe Covid-19 may become another seasonal illness to which the world will have to adjust, much like the seasonal flu.

Until things settle, the best course of action is to plan, plan, plan and be ready should anything happen.

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