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With the fall season underway, the threat of another COVID-19 wave has many small business owners on edge. Experts predict that colder weather and the holiday season could spur another increase in virus case numbers, potentially leading to stricter capacity mandates, more stringent safety requirements or even another shutdown.

Although city- or state-wide shutdowns are the worst-case scenarios, business owners should be prepared. When the pandemic, small businesses were caught off guard and struggled to stay open or had to close completely due to Safer At Home mandates. Now, you have the opportunity to plan ahead and weather any pandemic-related storms with greater ease.

If you haven’t taken steps to plan for a potential second wave and its consequences, here are some things you should do.

Consider safety plans

In order to reopen your business, you likely had to implement a number of safety measures. These might have included face mask mandates, increased signage, capacity limits and layout changes to facilitate social distancing.

Heading into winter, it’s very important for these things to remain a constant in your business’ operations. Consider documenting your safety plan and distributing it to your staff or holding a meeting to reiterate its importance.

It’s also a good idea to plan for future safety measures. If capacity restrictions are tightened, what will your business need to do to make that happen? Are there even more cleaning and precautionary measures you can implement as needed? Write up a plan so it’s ready to deploy right away.

Pandemic-proof your business

Once of the biggest threats to small businesses during the shutdown was that restrictions limited their operations. For example, dine-in restaurants suddenly weren’t able to serve patrons inside. If they weren’t prepared for takeout or delivery services, these businesses weren’t able to earn revenue.

Now, you have the opportunity to plan for the worst and implement “pandemic-proof” lines of business. Think about how your company can pivot in the event of capacity limits or shutdowns and take steps to make them a reality. Chances are, this will both protect your business from a total shutdown and diversify your business to produce more revenue streams.

Another seemingly small but important aspect of planning ahead should include keeping stock of the essential supplies your business needs to operate. Both cleaning supplies and inventory are crucial in case of manufacturing disruptions.

Prepare your financials

Perhaps most important in your pandemic planning is getting your business’ financials in order. In the event of reduced operations or a shutdown, how will your business be able to survive? Consider your financial outlook for a few different scenarios and make a plan to follow, just in case.

Many small businesses can benefit from preparing loan applications or applying for an unsecured line of credit during this time. If possible, building or bolstering your business’s cash reserve is also important during this time. If you have the extra capital available to save, that cushion can make a world of a difference if the pandemic reaches new heights. Avoid unnecessary expenses right now and prioritize saving, instead.

Another option to consider is a Rollover as a Business Startup (ROBS). While the word Startup might be confusing since this funding option works for established businesses too, it’s an opportunity to access qualified, pre-tax retirement funds to capitalize a business. ROBS is not a loan, is tax-deferred and there’s no IRS penalty to use these monies in a Rollover plan.

Don’t get caught unprepared

In the midst of all the uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus, small business owners have the advantage of time to plan and prepare for the worst. Make sure your business has a game plan for this winter waiting in the wings. Hopefully, it won’t be necessary—but if it is, you’ll be ready to adapt.

For help capitalizing your business in the midst of the pandemic, turn to the experts at Tenet Financial Group. Our consultants can help you find the right financial solutions for your small business. Contact us today to learn more.