I am fortunate to have many friends among businesses and to be privy to how they are responding to the health, regulatory, and economic impact of the Corona virus here in the U.S. I asked a few of them to share their experiences in the hope it would be helpful to others.
Here is what Laura True, owner of Aquaocean Transport, a freight forwarding business replied.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? So far we are busy. However, the situation changes daily as each state is different. The closing of ports and airports will have an effect on logistics depending on how long they keep them closed.
Question 2: !hat steps are you taking/have taken in response? Staying informed on closures of major airports and seaports. Coming up with alternative solutions to keep the supply chains moving.
Information Technology for State and Local Government
Here is how Angelo Whitfield, owner of Sophus Consulting, responded.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? The Covid crisis and the required social distancing provided the impetus for my company to review our infrastructure, technology, communication and knowledge management solutions. Fortunately, we have operated as a distributed workforce with all of the required communication, collaboration, task management, and support tools in place to operate as usual. From a client perspective, we have had a shift in priorities with many clients requesting assistance on remote workforce management and remote access setup assistance. Additionally, we have extended our expertise and assistance to non-client referrals and active opportunities as a gesture of goodwill to our user community.
Question 2: What steps are you taking in response? We have begun a marketing campaign targeting our client base with services to assist them with both remote access, communication, and remote workforce solutions.
Virtual Company: Information Technology
Here is how Walter Silin, owner of The Bauen Group, responded.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? As a virtual organization, we don’t really have the same challenges others do. But [the Corona virus has introduced] new ones. Having kids home doing school is a challenge, and it eats up bandwidth in the community. My biggest adjustment is rearranging my schedule to just do phone calls during the day while kids are doing school. Also minimizing video calls unless actually necessary to conserve bandwidth. Now that kids are doing school from home the program is heavily dependent on video.
Question 2: What steps are you taking/have taken in response? I’m being very transparent with clients about the challenges so I don’t artificially put stress on myself to keep up appearances. We are all going through this so might as well put it out there.
Here is how Tracy Sue, owner of USA Industries, responded.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? We are hearing Companies are delaying large, nonessential costs. Turnarounds are quickly being cancelled. The Impact on our business will probably hit in a few weeks.
Question 2: What steps are you taking/have taken in response? Forming plans for non-essential workers to work from home. However, we are a Manufacturing/Supply Company. Many of our workers (e.g. Machine operators and Shipping/Receiving) are unable to work remotely.
Here is how Gilberto and Sarah Rivera of American Wrecker, responded.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? We provide towing services for private businesses such as restaurants or apartment buildings. With the recent ban on tenant evictions, apartment managers have canceled towing services in order to encourage positive tenant relations. Reduced towing reduces our revenue. However well-intended, stopping towing will not decrease their tenant requirements for available parking spaces and may lead to non-compliance in other areas.
Question 2: What steps are you taking/have taken in response? We are finding ways to encourage parking compliance without towing while crediting the apartment management. In preparation for the future, we are working on programs to help restart towing gently when the apartment managers decide to return to enforcement.
Here is how Debbie Elder, Owner and Head of School, of the Shady Oaks Primary School, responded.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? The school has been closed. At this time, it is scheduled to open again April 14th.
Question 2: What steps are you taking/have taken in response? I checked in with other private school owners in the county to share ideas, resources and develop an action plan. School work was delivered to students last Monday via email and a protocol was established for parents to use when submitting their child’s work. A Virtual Classroom on Zoom that will start tomorrow with core subjects. If possible, we will plan to introduce out-classes the following week.
Here is how our company, Closing Strong Coaching, is responding.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? All new business development is at a standstill and likely will remain that way until after the full impact of the Corona virus is realized. Existing clients have moved to virtual coaching sessions.
Question 2: What steps are you taking/have taken in response? It is hard to coach when there is uncertainty about the issues. In times of crisis, purpose is even more important to keep in focus. Our efforts are focused on helping business owners find clarity through communication, not sequestering, using free webinars and other virtual sessions. The rest of my time is spent preparing to provide the best assistance possible. Two hours a day are spent in personal skill and knowledge development and another two hours in improving marketing communications.
Here is how Chris Denny, Owner and CEO, of Lead Optimize, responded.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? The full impact remains to be seen. We work remotely three days a week anyway so that part is essentially business as usual. It appears, so far, that our clients are sticking with us and we’re trying to provide extra support and promotion to those that do, so they will be strongly positioned on the other side of this.
Question 2: What steps are you taking/have taken in response? There has always been an educational component to what we do because marketing technology and options change so often and quickly, so we are beefing up the education element. In addition to offering additional services for no cost to our clients, we are trying to provide companies with tools and information they can use to enhance their visibility and outreach during this time.
Here is how Mark Stefanick, President and CEO, of Advantage Benefit Solutions, responded.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? All meetings with clients and prospects have been canceled. Our Advantage Insights employee communications user group meeting has been canceled. All business travel has been restricted until further notice. Some of our clients have notified us that they will begin employee layoffs right away. We estimate a 20% drop in revenue for April, if this keeps up, we estimate a 30% drop in revenue in May.
Question 2: What steps are you taking/have taken in response? Our team members started working from home last Monday. The office was officially closed last Friday. All team members have capabilities to work from home, we started preparing for remote working 2 years ago and finished up with 100% of the team last November. We are expanding our web meeting capabilities and they will be in place this coming Monday or Tuesday. We are training / practicing holding web meetings on Monday.
Home Business: Dog Training
Here is how Sheila Bertelsen, Owner of Sit, Stay, Play Academy, responded.
Question 1: How has the Corona virus impacted your business? Business has come to a screeching halt. Dog training is the least on people’s minds right now. I’ve thought about offering training outside, and using my bluetooth to communicate with the dog owners in the house.
Question 2: What steps are you taking/have taken in response? Since it will probably be a long while until people want to be in a group setting for dog training – in-home or outside at people’s homes should put me at an advantage when we return to some sense of normalcy. In the meantime….. I’ve taken the time to call people, like my Dad, and let him know what a great childhood he gave me. I’ve been catching up on some much-needed sleep and learning pilates and yoga… taking good care of my body may be the best thing for my immune system at this time. Also wanting to learn to be quiet and hear God and stay calm, not stressed.