Hi everyone, with this article I’m starting a new series of posts related to the small business problems during the coronavirus outbreak. In this particular article, I will mention the ’employee’ part of crisis management.
Let’s start with defining a small business in this context.
What is a Small business?
The ‘small‘ term is relative and there is no absolute definition for a small business.
Any criteria you would use in a definition is very much dependant on sector, turnover, profitability, employee number, investment amount, geographic location, comparable businesses, and many more variables.
I refer here as small businesses, mostly the local businesses employing less than 30 people. Also where a month of earnings/profits of the business is not more than the amount of expenses to run the business for more than 2 weeks without an income flow.
This example shows only one month of earnings is only enough to compensate for 1 week of expenses in case of no income for the business.
As we see in the case of no income small businesses will suffer very quickly.
Let’s have a quick look at some of the problems the business will face in short term:
- Tax and Social Security payments
- Fixed costs- Accounting-Law-Utilities
- Other Loans and due Payments
The most important factor of local businesses is definitely the employees.
Employees depend on their jobs and the salaries they will get for doing their jobs to make a living.
Every business and its owner has the responsibility to consider this important factor when taking any action about their employees especially in times of crisis.
On the other hand, unfortunately, local/small businesses don’t have much power without getting support from lawmakers, The Governments, and their institutions.
The related institutions should consider the butterfly effect of the financial crisis that the small businesses facing and take action, immediately, to prevent a catastrophe not only for businesses and their owners but also the employees and suppliers for these businesses.
What do local/small businesses demand about employees?
Thinking about the short-term only, as we know small businesses cannot handle long-term crises by their turnovers.
To demand something, institutions should consider what the small business is trying to manage about employees during a crisis like these days
- To keep employees in the business,
Knowing that trained staff is hard to find
- To pay their salaries
Knowing that employees need to get paid for keeping their standards of living
- To make their social security and tax payments to government institutions.
Knowing that these payments are part of the costs of every business
For item 1, the business and the employees should agree that they want to continue working together during and after the crisis period.
For item 2, both sides should agree on the terms of how much and when to get paid during the period of business closure, like the times in Coronovirus lockdown.
For item 3, the related institutions should consider delaying or canceling collection debts from some-to-all employee-related costs of businesses, depending on the business type and the time period that business is affected.
For example, if you are selling some goods, you have the chance to sell your stock after the business starts again and you can regain your losses partially. But if you are a pilates studio, you cannot recover your losses anyhow, or actually even after your business starts working. It will even take much longer for you to continue business at the level which is financially manageable.
As you can see, there should be a balance between multiple sides of the equation. It’s not hard to solve that puzzle if you are experienced in small business ownership for many years or have experienced people around you from who you can get support.