How to Minimise Business Disruption from Coronavirus Outbreak
On 11 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, to be a global pandemic.
Governments around the planet have since asked people to stay indoors and some countries, including the United States, have even closed the international borders.
While that approach may have slowed down the spread to some extent, it has inevitably disrupted business operations and devastated productivity and bottom-line.
Within a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has caused a crisis for the world’s economy bringing us closer to another global economic recession.
In this time of crisis, one asks: what can a business do to survive the unforeseen catastrophe that COVID-19 has brought upon us?
Well, extra ordinary times require extra ordinary measures. It reminds me of what John F. Kennedy once said about crisis, and I quote:
Here’s how you can seize the opportunity to materialise ideas, transform operations and minimise disruption in these turbulent times.
1. Downsize Office Space
When the Great Recession struck in 2008, many companies downsized their office space to cut costs and encouraged employees to work from home. As necessity is the mother of invention, what was born out of necessity at the time stuck around long after the economy recovered. It turned out that remote work has benefits besides cheaper office rent.
2. Invest in Work from Home Tech
The studies have shown working from home can also increase productivity, reduce costs, and lower employee turnover. Another study found that remote work increases employee satisfaction and retention. What’s more there’s less distraction from others talking in the office allowing workforce to concentrate and create their own preferred working environment.
Working from home can, therefore, be a strategic initiative for your business rather than just a tactical one. Investing in Work-from-home technology at this time will therefore yield results for your business for many years to come long after the economy rebounds.
At Rocket Domains, we are committed to providing our customers and partners with world-class tools and support to work from home and thrive online.
Get G Suite
As a proud Google Cloud Partner, we offer cutting edge business productivity and collaboration tools such as G Suite to help businesses set up remote work-forces, communicate with staff and customers online, and tackle a worsening COVID-19 outbreak.
G Suite already powers millions of businesses world-wide and includes custom business email, Docs (word processing, real time co-editing), Sheets (online spreadsheets), Drive (cloud storage, sharing, access management), shareable Calendar (online scheduling, resource management), Hangouts (online meetings, conferencing, team messaging), Currents (meaningful company wide discussions), Online Surveys and Forms, Site Building Tools, App Scripts (extending G Suite capabilities), Keep (capture ideas), Jamboard (collaborative whiteboard), Cloud Search, Advanced Management (users, devices, data, access), and insights on adoption, work patterns and collaboration.
G Suite pricing starts as low as $6 per user per month for Basic edition, $12 per user per month for Business edition, and $25 per user per month for Enterprise edition.
Starting this week, in view of the Corona Virus crisis, we will begin rolling out free access to G Suite advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers world-wide. This means that the following features, which are normally only available to Google Enterprise customers, will become available to all G Suite users globally for free:
- Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
- Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within an organisational domain
- The ability to record meetings and save them to your business Google Drive
With Rocket Domains you get free G Suite set up and configuration along with your own MissionControl ™ panel giving you easy access to G Suite Administration, and Webmail. It also gives you the ability to easily add more licenses and upgrade from G Suite Basic to Business package in seconds.
What’s more, G Suite is backed by Rocket Domains’ Google Certified British Astronomical Support™ provided to you for free 24/7/365.
Start an Online Business
Think a downturn is a bad time to start a company? It may seem counter intuitive but the founders of the following companies did exactly that:
Procter & Gamble (PG) started during an economic crisis in 1800s. P&G survived the downturn and went on to become a multi billion dollar company.
IBM was founded during the Long Depression (1873-1896) when U.S. banks collapsed not once but twice. IBM not only survived the recession, it went on the change the world forever.
General Electric (GE) was founded during the 1873 panic when NYSE had shut down for days and the resulting financial crisis lasted 6 years. Without GE, it’s hard to imagine the modern world today.
General Motors (GM) was born during the panic of 1907 when central bank did not exist and lending institutions were dependent on their own currency resources. That was the time when large banks made a failed bid for controlling shares of United Copper Company. As a result, the public pulled their money from the banks, causing the collapse of numerous trusts and lending institutions.
United Technologies Corp (UTX) was founded in 1929, during another Great Depression, when the stock market crashed, and a 10-year global downturn ensued all of which did not deter its founders and an aerospace giant was born.
FedEx (FDX) was born during the 1973’s Oil Crisis when the founder identified the need for important documents to reach their destinations within one or two days.
Airbnb was born soon after the 2008 recession disrupting the hospitality industry and creating new opportunities for home owners across the planet to supplement their income.
Uber was also founded after the 2008 downturn revolutionising the way we travel. It’s widely used by commuters, to go from point A to B, in more 65 countries and over 600 cities.
If there’s nothing else to do during a recession, you might as well learn new skills, start working on that great idea, and start a micro business. If you build during the recession, you will grow and thrive as the economy rebounds.
Rocket Domains makes it easier and more affordable for entrepreneurs to start, grow and thrive in their business both online and offline. Read on to learn how we can support you during this downturn with our cutting edge web products and free services to get you up and running in no time and with little investment:
3. Free Services & Support for Startups
Rocket Domains provides hundreds of trade specific and meaningful domain name extensions for you to start your business online.
Unlike other domain name registrars, we never jack up prices when it’s time to renew your domain – providing you certainty whilst helping you reduce your expense.
We understand that the biggest hurdle in the startups’ way is the initial outlay needed to launch their business online.
Our iCash® Advantage program helps startups overcome that hurdle with our professional website design, branding, and advanced optimisation, marketing & SEO Tools absolutely free to help them transform their business ideas into a reality.
Our hosting plans also includes free branded emails, ssl certificates, spam filters, contact & calendar management and many other tools to help manage your online business independent of location and device.
4. Implement a Disaster Preparedness Policy
If you haven’t already planned for an epidemic of this scale, get started now. A good policy will cover procedures for working from home; tools and training that staff will need to work remotely; travel, interaction and safety; data management and security; online meetings, insurance cover, cash flow, lines of credit, supply chain and more.
Getting a business loan to ensure funds are in place to carry on as normal is also a good idea to consider.
5. Rely on Government Support Schemes
Governments across the planet are scrambling to announce support measures for businesses in order to minimise the risk of another economic recession.
Businesses should apply for Government support to tackle the disruption caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
UK Government Business Support Package
The British Government have announced a support package for public services, individuals and businesses to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.
A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, provided by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses, with a turnover of no more than £41 million, to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. This will unlock up to £1 billion pounds in support for businesses to survive this ongoing crisis.
For businesses with less than 250 employees, up to 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Moreover, there will be a £3,000 cash grant for the smallest British businesses, delivered by Local Authorities, unlocking a further 2 billion in support for businesses.
Finally, the government is temporarily increasing the business rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value. Nearly half of all business properties will not pay a penny of business rates.
US Government Business Support Package
In the USA, a stimulus program, through a payroll tax cut, small business aid, sick pay for hourly workers, and/or refundable tax credits, is already in the works.
Mr. Trump has, for instance, declared a national emergency, unlocking up about $50 billion in aid for states and localities to tackle the crisis caused by the outbreak.
Congress has approved $8.3 billion in emergency relief for medical supplies and other needs, whilst the House has announced a larger measure to provide paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing and expanded unemployment insurance.
The interests rates have also been lowered from 1.25% to just 0.25%.
The New York City Mayor has announced the following financial assistance programs for businesses impacted by COVID-19
NYC Employee Retention Grant
The City is giving small businesses with less than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for up to two months to help with employee retention.
The eligibility criteria for the NYC Employee Retention Grant Program is as follows.
NYC businesses, including non-profits, must:
- Be located within the five boroughs of the New York City
- Demonstrate that the COVID-19 outbreak caused at least a 25% reduction in revenue
- Employ 1-4 employees in total across all locations
- Have been in operation for at least 6 months
- Have no outstanding tax liens or legal judgements
NYC Small Business Continuity Fund
NYC businesses with less than 100 employees who have seen sales reduction of 25% or more will be eligible for interest free loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit.
The eligibility criteria for the NYC Small Business Continuity Fund is as follows. NYC businesses seeking the loan must:
- Be located within the five boroughs of New York City
- Demonstrate that the COVID-19 outbreak caused at least a 25% decrease in revenue
- Employ no more than 99 employees in total across all locations
- Demonstrate ability to repay the loan
- Have no outstanding tax liens or legal judgements
Interested businesses and non profit organisations can use this form to be notified when the applications open.
As part of the applications, you will be need to show revenue decrease by providing evidence such as: point-of-sales reports, bank statements, quarterly sales tax filings, 2019 tax returns, or CPA-certified profit & loss statements.
We advise that you start collecting these documents now in preparation of your application for financial relief/support.
Business Continuity to Support our Customers
With regards to availability of our online tools and support, please rest assured we have a thorough business continuity plan, that leverages our global network to ensure support will continue to be provided in the event that the availability of any location is impacted. Our business continuity strategy takes many elements into consideration including how we support customers by location, product and industry. Our continuity plans also ensure ongoing security compliance in time of crisis.
If one or more Rocket Domains support centers are affected, we may shift or reduce some services for the time being. Any such changes will be posted on our support portal, so please log in to your MissionControl ™ panel for the latest news.
We are committed to providing you with the best support possible during this uncertain time.
CEO, Rocket Domains