With the spread of coronavirus continuing and it looking likely that Britain will experience an epidemic, how can you ensure the health of your business?
Obviously it depends on the type of business you run. Many freelancers are lucky enough to work remotely and from home, without spending hours commuting or in offices. For those, like me, who are in this situation, business continuity or the need to self-isolate should not have much of an impact.
However many freelancers run workshops, seminars, training sessions etc in groups of people. For these the issue is more problematic. We've seen one client decide to do webinar based training instead of in person, which can work exceptionally well for the right subject matter and audience.
If you run in-person workshops and delegates want to cancel, do you have a refund policy in your terms and conditions? It's fair that people may want to but does that leave you out of pocket? Perhaps offering an alternative date once things return to normal could be an option.
For clients who offer only in person services, such as hairdressing or beauty therapies, it is not possible to self-isolate without losing earnings. Do you have savings to cover this period of uncertainty? If not, can you temporarily cut your costs at all to help with living expenses?
THe government is going to be offering statutory sick pay to those with coronavirus for all of the days they are off sick, without the usual waiting period of 3 days. Whilst this is great for the employed, it's not so great for the self employed. There is a petition on the government website to support extending this to the self-employed and it's worth adding to the 155,000 signatures already there. You can find the petition here.
It's an uncertain time and there is little we can do except stay calm and listen to the government and NHS advice, rather than the scaremongering from the media. Panic buying and stockpiling are not going to help, with the most at risk being the least able to do this i.e. the elderly or disabled. If you have vulnerable friends or neighbours, perhaps pop in and see if they need anything (although this is something we should be doing anyway!)
If finances could be a problem get in touch and we'll see if we can help.