Covid – 19 Action Plan For Businesses
My name is Daireann Gibson from Gibson & Associates Solicitors
We’ve been dealing with a lot of enquiries from clients and people in the business community, over the course of the last two days in particular. So, we’ve pulled together a helpful checklist of items that business owners and businesses should review to help them prepare in response to the challenges that are out there at the moment.
First on our checklist is the establishment of a coordinated response, we can’t bury our heads in the sand, we’ve got to pull together members of our team, understand from them as to what they see as the issues, understand from clients what the issues are, and on foot of that prepare any clear plan that is then communicated across the team.
Manage the impact on team members:
Number 2, manage the impact on the team themselves. With the announcement of the school closers, different staff are going to have different needs, we need to accommodate those needs as much as we can. Allow for remote working and ensure that when they’re working remotely that they have adequate equipment.
Thirdly, we need to quickly assess financial implications, understand the challenges to income. And review all the items of expenditure, that’s absolutely critical because at the moment business are experiencing a slowdown, they are experiencing a slow down in enquiries, and they are experiencing a reduction in footfall. And your expenditure needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Credit line assessment:
We’d also recommend an assessment immediately of your credit lines, not only your lines of credit with the main institutions, if any, but credit lines particularly with any suppliers and the revenue. Have the conversation with them as early as possible and you’ll be surprised at how quickly they will respond and afford you a decent line of credit in a difficult period.
Item number four is contractual risk, have a look at your contracts with suppliers and staff, have a look at your contracts with other third parties, identify if there are any risks in regards to time limits. Or obligation to perform certain obligations within a period of time. You need to understand what those risks are so you can react accordingly
Next you’ve got to look at your insurance policies, and identify if there is any business interruption relief within those policies, if there is you have to make a notification as early as possible to comply with those policies.
Insolvency risk, understand the different options around insolvency for businesses, which isn’t a nuclear option. There are options within the insolvency process that allow for a businesses sustainability, so it’s important to have awareness around those areas and understand what processes are involved there.
What operational risks do you have as a business? This centres around staffing issues, and issues with data privacy. And we’d recommend as a lot of people are starting to work remotely what are the protocols to get these established. It doesn’t have to be detailed, it can be a one page document but you will have something as a business to go back to; and more importantly you will have a resource for your staff to reference as well.
Lastly on our checklist, given all the moving parts with this challenge, we have to stay flexible and stay informed; be ready to adjust any plans that are in place. Be flexible with staff and be flexible with clients, and our client needs. There is an obligation as business owners to stay informed so we can deliver the best service possible for our clients and be the best we can be for our staff.