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During flu season, it’s only natural to prioritize health. We tend to eat better, exercise more, and make an extra effort to remember our daily vitamins. But when sickness hits on a global scale, it’s not enough to focus on personal health: we also need to consider the health of our customers’ businesses, which are equally at risk.

Pandemic is a scary word with potentially scary consequences. Creating pandemic plans for businesses requires several considerations. As more people get sick, travel will come to a halt, and consumer needs and demands will shift. It’s hard enough to ensure your own health, let alone your customers’ business. But if you don’t get ahead of these potential risks, you might find yourself – and your SMB customers – unprepared.

Here are three pandemic plans for businesses to ensure you and your customers continue to thrive:

Plan 1: Prepare for productivity hiccups

Nowadays, most companies import materials from other countries. Usually, this isn’t an issue. But when a pandemic causes a slow-down in global manufacturing centers, it might mean a delay for you and your customers in receiving needed goods. Even if your company uses domestic parts, you should still prepare for a pause in delivery. Because employees are taking sick leave, the workforce will be smaller, which means a slower turnaround time that halts productivity.

It’s important that your business understands how long it can last without these parts. Data analytics can help you better understand business patterns, thus revealing which parts are (and are not) essential. Depending on the results, you might want to invest in a means to produce these materials in-house, or you might want to change the companies involved in your supply chain.

Furthermore, you’ll want to consider the state of your own staff and assets and whether they’re primed to handle increased productivity needs. HR, Finance, and IT requests will become harder to fulfill, so if some of these assets need a reboot, prioritize that now, not later.

Plan 2: Prepare for unique IT needs

If you have a small IT team, a pandemic might spell trouble for your MSP business. Should the members of your team fall sick, you’ll find yourself unequipped to handle your customers’ IT needs. Fortunately, most MSPs have a much larger team, and they’ll have the bandwidth to fill in any gaps.

As the pandemic builds, many companies will encourage employees to work from home. Due to employee illnesses, even companies without this policy will face a greater remote workforce. To ensure you and your customers’ remote workforce remains productive, having the right AV tools is a must. For example, web conferencing tools will allow your customers’ employees to attend meetings from their own homes. Cloud technology will let them obtain the documents they need. Of course, it’s important that you start securing these technologies for your SMB customers as soon as possible. The sooner you have them, the sooner you can train their employees how to (safely) use them.

Plan 3: Prepare for a change in consumer demand

For some companies, a pandemic will mean a large decrease in consumer demand. As an example, consumers will be less likely to go to restaurants or malls. In fact, they’ll probably avoid large gathering places as much as possible.

However, for other businesses, a pandemic will equal an exponential increase in consumer need, like the Clorox wipes shortage we’re currently all facing. Online and health supply businesses will especially prosper, and they’ll need to ensure they can keep up with demand. By looking at market trends, managed service providers can see which industries might need more help or resources to help them adjust to these challenging times.

Pandemics are frightening, but pandemic plans for businesses can help your MSP business, and your SMB customers endure them. Expect changes in productivity, IT needs, and consumer demand, and take proactive measures against them. The sooner you start preparing, the more likely you will come through the pandemic unscathed. Worrying about your own health is important enough; don’t let your SMBs’ business become another concern.

Photo: Shutter_M / Shutterstock

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Christopher Risher

Posted by Christopher Risher

Christopher Risher is a senior program manager at Onepath. He has a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry, and a high level of experience with coaching development teams using Agile methodologies through the software development lifecycle.

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