A look back at what was to come with COVID-19
Eighteen months ago, I wrote the first of many columns on COVID-19 and the impact it could have on business. Thinking about what to write this week, I revisited “Viral Meltdown and the Impact It Could Have” (March 16, 2020) and decided to repost it this week. The level of precision is disturbing. Please keep in mind that there were only 1,250 cases and only 625 deaths at the time in the United States.
“Viral Meltdown” is the name of the small business that I have attached to my take on possible issues regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact it could have on you and your business within days. , weeks, months and maybe years to come.
To date, there have been a lot of communication issues and uncertainty regarding health outcomes, quarantine issues, corporate supply chain delays and closures, etc. For the official word, head over to coronavirus.gov.
Coronavirus-related issues currently remain the main concern in most cities, counties, states and countries where there have been cases. In addition to health issues, the greatest fear is community spread and the ensuing threat of an economic pandemic.
It is likely that the economic costs of this debacle will equal or exceed the health costs. Let’s take a look at some of the problems with running a small business.
Supply chain issues
In China, food prices have increased 21% year over year. At a local Costco, there was no toilet paper on the shelves last week. Assuming your employees come to work, they may find that they are unable to do their jobs due to business and factory closures in China and other areas where extreme measures have been taken by governments and businesses. For example, if you can’t get critical parts for your products, you can’t ship or invoice for business in your pipeline. If your competitors are lucky enough to be fully integrated and can produce products on time and you can’t, then you risk losing customers to those suppliers who can deliver what you need. Your customers might never come back.
Tourism and transportation have been hit the hardest, starting with cruise ships and airlines. United Airlines bookings fell 70%. Dr Anthony Fauci cautioned: “Don’t go on cruise ships. Ground carriers, including trains and buses, can also be stopped on their tracks. Hotels, motels and resorts are expected to experience a significant drop in bookings. The secondary businesses that feed off these hard-hit industries could be devastated. And, adding to the uncertainty, no one knows how long this will last.
Sporting events, concerts and other large gatherings are canceled. The NBA canceled the rest of the season. Exhibitions, such as the annual South by Southwest Gathering in Austin, Texas, have been canceled. Sports organizations such as the NCAA plan to host events without fans in stadiums.
What about theme parks? Washington Governor Jay Inslee has banned gatherings of more than 250 people. In Boston, Harvard and MIT have used online courses. Dozens of schools in the affected areas have closed for at least two weeks and probably much longer.
The latest statistics put the death rate at around 1%, which is 10 times more deadly than the flu. To date, there are 1,250 cases in the United States. In Italy, with 60 million people in lockdown, 631 have died and the number of infected citizens is increasing geometrically. In New Rochelle, New York, an area with the highest number of infected citizens in New York state, the National Guard has been called in to cordon off a one-mile radius area. Fears expressed by Governor Cuomo are that hospitals could be overwhelmed if there is a tsunami of new cases and that mobile facilities may be needed for both quarantine and hospitalization. One of the biggest issues is the lack of test kits and their availability. Certainly, more cases will be added to the statistics when the tests are readily available and used at local sites.
What can be done
For your business and your employees, minimize travel, avoid shaking hands, stay away from crowds, wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, heed warnings, and go to coronavirus.gov to get the facts. latest updates. President Trump has announced an unprecedented 30-day travel ban from Europe. In addition to restricting the flow of people from other countries, the government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are working on vaccine development. In the meantime, you need to promote social distancing at work. The government is seeking to pass emergency legislation that will provide financial assistance (loans, grants) to small businesses so that they do not go bankrupt.
Yet some industries will thrive
Fortunately, Facebook and other social media have banned the advertising of price scammers. Companies that will benefit include: manufacturers of disinfection equipment and supplies, including surgical masks and gloves; online streaming (movies and television shows); restaurant delivery services; Zoom, Go To Meeting, Skype and other virtual meeting software and services; game companies and home entertainment systems, virtual reality and related software. In general, businesses that serve the needs of the sick as well as those who spend more time at home will thrive.
Dennis Zink is an Exit Strategist, Business Analyst and Consultant, Certified Value Creator and SCORE Mentor, and Past Chapter President of SCORE Manasota. Dennis created and hosts “Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink ”, a nationally broadcast commercial podcast series and“ SCORE Business TV ”available on Time4Exit.com. He leads CEO round tables for the Lamantin and Venice chambers of commerce. Dennis led a SCORE team to create the Exit Strategy Canvas and Exit Strategy Roadmap program which provides a real world methodology for achieving corporate equity. Email him at [email protected]