Business During the COVID-19 Crisis

For the last two weeks, I’ve tried to pin down the most important legal issue facing businesses. After seeing new legal developments coming each day from all levels of government (federal, state, and even local), I decided on a different approach. Rather than identify the one key issue, I’m offering more general and practical advice.

1. Check these websites daily. In the West Michigan area, Lakeshore Advantage and the Michigan West Coast Chamber are knocking it out of the park when it comes to communicating all of the different changes coming at businesses and what resources are available to navigate these difficult times. Checking daily these links is a critical way of staying on top of the legal and business landscape. Click here for Lakeshore Advantage and here for the Michigan West Coast Chamber. If you own a family business, the Family Business Alliance has been hosting very informative webinars. A link to the final in the webinar series is Lifeline in Crisis: Supply Chain.

2. Designate a “chief compliance officer.” As a business owner and especially during this crisis, you’re having to triage issues all day long. Keeping up with all of the new legal and related developments is critical, but time consuming. If you don’t have the bandwidth to personally stay on top of these changes, consider naming a key employee or member of your executive team to be the company’s “chief compliance officer.” Task this person will providing you with updates on these changes and coming up with strategies to implement them in your company.

3. Develop a plan to implement the change, check it against your company culture, and consult with your advisers. These changes are impacting all areas of your business. After you’ve identified the changes that need to be made, come up with a proposed plan to implement them. There are oftentimes multiple ways of complying with a change in the law so check to see if your proposed plan fits with your company culture. Failing to do this can erode trust and undermine the values you’ve built the company on. Finally, get feedback from any relevant advisers (i.e. HR consultant, insurance agent, CPA, attorney, etc.) so your proposed plan complies with all of the technical requirements of the new legal landscape.

4. Pray and spend time in the Bible. I don’t have to tell you these are incredibly stressful and confusing times. Personally, I’m finding I want to “do more” and rely on my “own” determination to get through the day. If you’re a Christian, you know that our strength comes from the Lord and it’s critical to discern “His” plan. Doing this requires daily and maybe even hourly times in prayer as well as the Bible. The chaos of the day will constantly pull you away from this, but be committed to these disciplines. The Lord’s presence will give you strength and wisdom to find a way of working through these unprecedented times.

If you have any questions regarding navigating legal issues during this difficult time, feel free to contact me at phmulder@cunninghamdalman.com.

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