We are all going to be challenged over the next number of weeks but for all of us some preparation, planning and precaution will help to get us through it.
Business will have difficulties but some steps should be taken immediately to prepare for this. Kevin Curran, Head of Enterprise, Cork County Council, Local Enterprise Office Cork North & West advises.
Supply chains can be long, complicated and are increasingly global. Have a conversation with your suppliers. Are they facing any issues themselves? Can they continue to get product to you? Would you need to seek alternatives? Are there other suppliers local to you that you could look to?
Will how you meet or contact customers have to change? With some types of businesses there may be no alternative. Technology can help. There are a number of video call packages/apps that you could use. Are you set up to take payments online or over the phone? Can you deliver or courier?
Protecting your staff is vital. What happens if one becomes ill, has to self-isolate or has to take care of children or a relative? Have conversations with your staff and nominate deputies. Look at what they do and how they do it. Some work practices may have to change.
Any downturn in activity will put financial stress on the business. Talk to your bank. Talk to your suppliers. Remember that all businesses will face similar stresses. There may be other sources of cash flow finance such as MicroFinance Ireland or the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland to consider.
Other local businesses may be facing similar issues. Sharing information/best practice can only benefit everyone. Many of you already have valuable networks build up – now may be the time to reach out and there may be issues that you could collaborate on like transportation and distribution.
Your Local Enterprise Office is available to offer advice. To keep our own staff safe our activity will be via telephone or online for the time being.
You can contact us via the website: www.localenterprise.ie/corknorthandwest