Business Strategy | Disaster recover | Leadership / Management

Coronavirus: How prepared are you? This free webinar can help

I came down with the flu recently. On my birthday, no less. Two days later, my wife and daughter came down with it, too.

That’s just the way we Sheridans are. We share everything.

All three were pretty mild cases. We had all gotten flu shots late last year, which probably helped stop it in its tracks. A week later and we were all right as rain.

Plus, it wasn’t the coronavirus, so we had that going for us … which is nice.

Where do I start with the coronavirus?

Listen, we’ve all gone through some sort of disaster at one time or another, right? Snowstorms, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, droughts — God doesn’t discriminate. We’ve all felt that fear — if not that outright pain — from time to time.

But this feels different, doesn’t it? It’s not local — it’s global. And none of us knows where or when it’s going to stop, or how far it’s going to reach.

This thing has caught everyone’s attention, and not in a good way. A lot of the stuff I’m reading lately falls somewhere between paranoia and panic. And given the reliability of the “news” we see in our social feeds, that’s not good for anybody.

But reliable, useful, trustworthy sources of information do exist, and one of them is Business Learning Institute thought leader Jennifer Elder.

Elder has compiled a list of questions that business leaders can use to help their organizations prepare for the potential impact of the coronavirus. Take a look and see if these don’t get your mental wheels turning.

Questions about your employees

  1. Will you train your employees on how to identify coronavirus symptoms?
  2. If an employee does not have available sick time, how will you make sure they do not come to work if they are sick?
  3. How will you respond if an employee is diagnosed with coronavirus?
  4. Who can work from home?
  5. How will your employees get access to the necessary information and documents they need to work from home?
  6. Will you allow employees to travel?
  7. If employees must travel, what steps will you take to ensure their medical safety?
  8. How will you respond if an employee needs to care for an infected family member?
  9. If an employee contracts coronavirus, will they only be allowed to use their accrued sick time?

Questions about your operations

  1. How will you decide if you need to close an office?
  2. Will you close your business for the recommended two-week quarantine or longer?
  3. How will you disinfect your office?
  4. How will you keep employees, customers, and vendors informed?
  5. What parts of your business are crucial to keep operating?

Questions about your finances

  1. If your offices are closed, how will you collect payments?
  2. How long can your business survive without any new sales?
  3. How will you pay your bills and payroll if your office is closed?
  4. Do you have available lines of credit?
  5. Will you pay your employees and for how long if you close your office?
  6. If an employee contracts coronavirus, will they only be allowed to use their accrued sick time?

Questions about your customers

  1. Will you notify customers if an employee is diagnosed?
  2. How will you stay connected to customers if employees are out sick or the office is closed?
  3. How will you deliver on contracts if the office is closed or there is a disruption in your supply chain?
  4. Do you have a “force majeure” clause in your contracts?
  5. How will you respond if a customer is affected by the coronavirus and does not pay your invoice on time?

Questions about your supply chain

  1. Do you currently source any supplies or products from China?
  2. How would a delay in delivery of materials and products affect your production?
  3. Do you have alternate suppliers?

“This is not an all-encompassing list, but a place to get started thinking about your response,” Elder says. “While you might say, ‘I hope it never happens to me,’ hope is not an effective strategy. The worst time to try and figure out your response is in the middle of a crisis. There are too many pressures, emotions are running high, and no one is thinking clearly. Developing a disaster recovery plan is like buying life insurance: You hope you never have to use it, but if you do, you’re glad you have it.”

Want to learn more? Attend this webinar Elder will lead a series of free, 90-minute, online MACPA webinars titled “Coronavirus: How to Prepare your Business, Employees, and Customers.” Register for one of these free webinars here:

And here are a few other sources of reasoned, reliable information. In the meantime, stay calm, folks … and wash your hands.


Bill Sheridan