Coronavirus (COVID-19): Responsible Businesses Supporting Small Business
A few months ago, a pandemic such as coronavirus (COVID-19) may have seemed far-fetched, but now it is playing out before us, serving as a reminder about the importance of business continuity planning and being aware of the wider environment in which your business operates. Hannah Tankard, Director of our Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG), discusses how responsible business can involve support to small businesses.
Working with our Business in the Community (BITC) members, I hear how they are ramping up their efforts to reduce the impact of coronavirus on their own businesses, employees, small business networks and wider communities. At a time when many expect that coronavirus could make or break many small businesses, charities and other enterprises across the UK, this gives me reasons for hope and optimism.
Large businesses supporting small business and community networks
Many of the larger businesses that are BITC members have been developing complex business continuity plans for different scenarios for years. For many small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this hasn’t always been possible. Larger businesses and BITC members can work with and support SMEs and organisations in their supply chains and networks.
It has been heartening to talk with major banks about interventions such as repayment holidays, support lines and reviewing overdraft conditions. With an immediate impact on employee volunteering and with an impending threat of school closures, members have also been exploring how they could be supporting communities more during this difficult time.
This pandemic is an emergency that will no doubt impact on every business’ employees and bottom lines. Whilst some businesses will be able to get through this, we know that the survival of small businesses, both as business customers and suppliers, could be very precarious.
Guidance for small to medium-sized businesses
Whilst it is an evolving situation, and it is only one part of being a responsible business during a crisis, BITC is urging our members to continue to support their small business networks. We have developed a resource for small businesses as a quick and simple overview of known support currently available, and a checklist highlighting what SMEs can do to continue business operations during this challenging time.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, BITC will develop evolving information on how our members can and are supporting their small business and community networks, and dig deeper into how responsible businesses can help whole communities in the immediate response and long-term recovery.
As we say in our Business Emergency Resilience campaign, a responsible business is a resilient business.