Mar 19, 2020Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development responds to COVID-19 threats
The Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development has issued an update regarding the current impact of the coronavirus.
No one at the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) is a public health expert. We work with farmers and small businesses, we love a good profit/loss statement or marketing plan, and we “stay in our lane” with regard to the advice we offer. We also care deeply about these farmers and these businesses and want to be working with them on their businesses for a long time. KCARD will be providing additional Q&A posts about how to handle the specific problems we are hearing from businesses with whom we work with, so stay tuned.
Coronavirus is a new challenge to our healthcare system and all of us are learning as we go. However, good practices on crisis management apply here just like they do with other crises:
Panic is not helpful, but preparation is. Thinking about what may happen or is likely to happen can help you consider what your Plan A, Plan B, or Plan C is. That is just good preparation. Some key things to think about: when employees should stay home, employee privacy responsibilities, travel policies, policies for vendors/truck drivers on-site, contingency operation plans, etc.
Go with the experts. None of us know enough about this virus or its eventual impact, but we invest our tax dollars in certain federal and state agencies who are the experts. KCARD is going with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance, and there is a specific CDC webpage on advice for employers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html.
Keep your team informed. No employee wants to be in the dark about what is going on and what the business’s plan is for dealing with this situation. Let your employees know what your policy is so that they know to stay home if they are sick or that you will send them home if they show up sick.
Keep your customers informed. If your business interacts directly with the public and you are taking measures to slow the spread of the virus, let them know. Some businesses in hard-hit areas are controlling the number of people in the store, some are putting hand sanitizers on the counters, and some are canceling events or closing for a period of time. Social media will be the best way to let people know the latest, but don’t be afraid to call your largest customers to let them know.
Know that there WILL be an impact on your business. The worst thing a business can do is pretend that tomorrow will be the same as today, especially in a situation where the ground is shifting quickly. People have already begun changing their buying habits due to this virus. That has an impact – short-term and long-term. Pretending that is not the case will not help you come out the other side of those changes.
KCARD does not offer health advice or have a cure for the virus. We talk daily about the potential impact on our own families, especially our elderly relatives. All we can offer is the best business advice we have in hopes that it helps the farmers and small businesses with whom we work weather this challenging situation. If you want to talk about any of these or discuss the possible financial impacts with one of our business development folks, feel free to reach out via email at [email protected] or phone at 859-550-3972.