Planning · September 23, 2021

Pandemic Plan for Business Continuity: How to Prepare

Just when you thought it was safe to shop in person, the COVID-19 Delta variant has come along and disrupted business plans everywhere. With another period of potential quarantines and business closures looming, now's the time to create or update your pandemic plan for business continuity.


The good news is that as a small business owner, you have some experience and evidence to draw on after the events of the last two years, as well as better access to vaccines and protective equipment. Furthermore, the general public is far more comfortable with the new way of doing business, including e-commerce, virtual meetings, contactless payments, curbside pickups and so on. This means you may have more options than you realize, should business closures or restrictions return.

Creating a pandemic plan for business continuity helps protect what you've worked hard to create. It allows your business to continue operations and improves the likelihood your business will survive—and possibly even thrive— through another wave. Here's how to get started.

How to create a pandemic business continuity plan

Creating a plan to keep your business functioning well through a pandemic world means re-evaluating all aspects of operations, sales, and delivery of goods or services. Look for ways to save money, protect your business assets, and offer alternatives your customers need and want. Here are seven important tasks to consider while creating your pandemic business continuity plan.

  • Stash cash: Now's the time to make sure your business has strong cash flow for lean times. This might mean selling off unnecessary equipment to raise cash quickly or setting up access to credit that could help you ride out another COVID-19 wave.
  • Slash expenses: Review all expenses once again and cut costs wherever possible, including consolidating high-interest debt into a low-interest small business financing option. This helps to reduce your operating costs and build that cash cushion.
  • Ramp up your online presence: Give your customers online options to learn about your business and purchase what you're selling. This includes digital marketing, online communications with clients and e-commerce options.
  • Strengthen cybersecurity: Protect your business from costly cyberattacks that could more easily occur on a work-from-home team by implementing multi-factor authentication or purchasing IT insurance.
  • Go deep, not wide: Narrow your focus to serving your existing customers well and selling them more of what they want and need. This reduces the cost of marketing to new customers.
  • Head outside: If possible, take your business outdoors by arranging open-air meetings or selling at market stalls. Remember, people have been living in a COVID-19 environment for almost two years and are undoubtedly more comfortable with that.
  • Prep with personal protective equipment and other essential items: Don't wait to stock up on personal protective equipment for you, your staff and customers. Order hand sanitizer, masks and other essential items now to avoid shortages.
  • Plan for pandemic aid financial assistance: Pandemic financial aid assistance for businesses aims to soften the financial blow of restrictions and closures. Get ready for potential new programs by organizing your income, expense, banking, credit and tax documents so you're ready to apply when pandemic aid programs roll out.
  • Tap into your professional organization: If you belong to a professional organization, look to them for industry-specific ideas to round out your pandemic plan for business continuity. Construction, service, law, finance, health and wellness are some of the industries that need unique COVID-19 business continuity solutions.

Pandemic planning with your staff

Getting your employees vaccinated? You're in good company. According to a June 2021 article from the Society for Human Resource Management, there's a wide variety of vaccination requirements by small businesses when it comes to staff, depending on the location and industry. Yet 74% of employers say they plan to require employee vaccinations.

While you can ask employees for proof of COVID-19 vaccination, be careful about asking for more medical information or you could find yourself in contravention of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Remember also to treat this information as confidential.

Pandemic planning helps your business become more flexible, prepared and better able to respond efficiently to a quickly changing environment. Don't wait—start today so your business is well-positioned to carry on no matter what the future holds.

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