Surviving the Covid-19 Business Shutdown
2020 started off with a bang…and I don’t mean from the fireworks at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles! Towards the end of December 2019, a mysterious disease (side effects similar to pneumonia) revealed itself to the world, like a show-boating villain in a superhero movie! After research and extensive tests, it was deemed to be a form of corona virus and ultimately named, Covid-19. The fear of a global pandemic wiping out humanity, caused cities, states and even nations to close their borders, ordered mandatory quarantines and distanced us from loved ones. The impact of Covid-19 naturally affected the financial sector and businesses big and small were shuttered and some have already gone out of business. Those businesses that are surviving have taken appropriate and timely measures to ensure sustainability.
Some questions (amongst many) every business owner must answer are:
Have you planned and/or prepared for this/any business shutdown?
Have you discussed these plans with your teams?
Have you furloughed, laid-off or terminated staff during this shutdown?
When is the business planning to re-open?
What policy and procedures have you instituted to provide a safe work environment for your teams and your patients?
How will your patients know you’re open?
There are thousands of quotes online about planning, success, fortitude, etc, and I’m not going to share all of them, however, these are four quotes I use, and share, very often:
“Control the controllables” – Unknown/multiple
“Tough times don’t last, tough people do” - R. Shuller
“A goal without a plan, is just a wish” – A. de Saint-Exupéry
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – B.Franklin
The pain of closing your business, even temporarily doesn’t come easy. For many, the priority of your business rivals your family! However, we must remember that we cannot control the virus, however, we can do our part by not spreading it. While open, using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), wiping down door handles and surfaces (wiping them wet and letting them air dry), sanitizing and/or washing hands between patients, screening patients’ temperatures, reducing risk by not allowing people with a cough or fever to come in, and enacting appropriate social distancing by limiting the number of patients in your office at a time, are the bare minimal guidelines that should be done...even after we re-open. Control the controllables.
One thing I’ve found comforting is the fact that we are all weathering the same storm. The collective hurt is evident, however, at the same time, the collective resiliency is powerful! Too often, I see posts that demonstrate fear and uncertainty, however, that’s why we have social media groups. We have the ability to reach out, talk to our colleagues, understand what others are doing. Tough times don’t last, tough people do.
What’s the plan? When are we going to get back to “normal”? When can patients start returning to our businesses? It all depends on YOU. Regardless of the answers of ‘when’, you MUST create a plan of action. What will 5 days prior to re-opening look like? What will your staff be doing over those few days leading to your re-opening? How will you alert your patients that you will see them now? What about your referral sources? Planning is key. A goal without a plan, is just a wish.
Figure 1 - The timeline of how much businesses can be affected by the shutdown
If you do not prepare, you will not be ready, and you will fall behind, or worse. As you fall behind, the avalanche of responsibilities will crush you. Don’t be business F (figure 1), who due to poor planning and execution, never recovered. It’s too late to be business A, however, there is still hope. Even business D will survive but will notice other businesses getting back to normal earlier. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
The bottom line is that you must stay positive. We had to shut down our businesses…ok, so now what? Are you sitting around bingeing every season of every show? Are you drinking every bottle of alcohol you can get your hands on to drown your sorrows? Are you depressed because you applied but never received a government loan or grant and jealous/angry at those who did? If you answered yes, let’s reprogram your mindset (apparently we can do it remotely now)!
Start planning your bounce back! Take some online courses to learn something new. Keep in touch with your staff, they most likely are worried about their futures (they also don’t have communities or groups like we do). Talk to your patients to make sure they are doing okay. And most of all…take care of yourselves. Take a moment to relax, be mindful of the moment, and then, let’s charge forward! Because we will be back, and I look forward to the day when I can celebrate with all of you!
Dr. Amit Gosalia