Preparing Your Service Business For Cancellations Due To Coronavirus!

Company Announcements, Entrepreneur Life

Mar 12, 2020

Hey there friend… are all the articles, social posts, and text messages getting a little overwhelming? Are you struggling to see how you can protect your clients, your business, and your family?

The CDC as of March 12th, has put 29 countries on Level 3 due to the Coronavirus epidemic. If you’re not aware already, the Coronavirus is now considered a pandemic (multiple locations / widespread) as it continues to spread, it’s going to have a major effect on service business as well as small business entrepreneurs. That includes photographers, videographers, florists, wedding and event planners, hair and makeup artists, wellness coaches, rental companies, real estate agents, and even construction companies. 

Without causing mass hysteria with this blog article, even places like Disneyland in Southern California, who have only shut down 2 other times in the history of their company are temporarily closing doors until the end of March. March Madness canceled by the NCAA, Ohio governor closes schools for the next 3 weeks, and MLB delays opening game plus cancels spring training games. Several factories have temporarily closed, plus hundreds of companies have stopped production and sent staff home. Universities and primary schools are shutting down as well. The state of Ohio has banned any type of get together that has more than 100 people in one area, to help prevent and hopefully stop the spread of the Coronavirus. 

If you’re a service based business- there’s been massive talk in public groups and forums about the effects the Coronavirus will have on small service based businesses. Since many people are now canceling and postponed their big events or putting them on hold.

If you’re in the events or wedding industry… I’m sure you’re wondering “How am I going to manage to keep my business afloat during the Coronavirus closures!?” 

Those that are in the wedding industry, help host or run corporate events industry, or private parties, etc. you should be concerned and taking precautions! Same goes to those that meet with clients face to face. If you’re a personal trainer, a hair stylist, etc this applies to you too. 

It’s your responsibility to take the proper precautions before potentially exposing yourselves and your clients to this deadly virus.

Alright let’s dive in on how you can prepare yourself, your clients, and your business during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Stay Connected 

Oftentimes during situations like this, people start to work off fear. Now is the time to stay connected to your clients and be transparent. 

Here’s some ways to reach out and stay connected:

  • Ask Your Clients: How they plan on handling their wedding day if it’s within the next 30 days.
  • Encourage Postponing Events: Instead is canceling an event or wedding, you should try and encourage your client to postpone their event. Postponing to a date within the 2020 calendar year, or even next year, will hopefully keep the events industry afloat during this time. Canceling means $ will most likely need to be refunded and small businesses will be forced to permanently shut down.
  • Contact Local Venues: If you’re booked at any local or non local venue in the next 30 days, ask them if they have plans to shut down weddings/events due to the Coronavirus.
  • Send An Email/Post Online: Express to clients how you’re going to handle bookings or product shipments during potential government shutdowns, closures, etc.  Share how you’ve taken precautions for their safety and your own. Add how you’re handling products, returns, rescheduling. Remind clients to postpone, not cancel their shoots, events, or product orders. 

One of my COSMOS Collective members has gone above and beyond to inform her clients. See how she’s doing it.

  • Avoid In Person Meetings, Use Video Calls Instead: Most millennials are all about video chat anyways so go with it. Over the next couple of weeks, schedule video calls instead of in person meetings! Any in person meetings that are scheduled already- reach out to your clients and schedule it via video instead. You can free programs like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime.

 

Have A Back Up Plan! 

We have insurance for a reason right? Well, creating a backup plan for a small business is crucial. 

 

  • Reach out to your network: If for some reason you’re feeling ill or unable to perform the services/duties that are stated in your contract with your clients-  do you have someone that you can send in your place? Create that back up plan BEFORE you actually need it. 

 

What’s Your Contract Say About Cancellations and Postponements? 

I’ve personally seen tons of comments in closed groups about this, I’ve received personal message, plus in my own group The COSMOS Collective we have members who are facing this situation right now! As stated above, encourage postponing events, weddings, workshops, etc. Don’t encourage canceling!

Alright, what we know. People may want to cancel weddings, events, portrait sessions, etc. Proms are already being canceled across the US, which is extremely unfortunate that they aren’t being postponed. The loss of memories is sad, not to mention a lot of industries will be greatly effected by proms being downright canceled. Now imagine that for the wedding industry too! 

Since not everyone will understand that canceling will most likely mean they won’t get a full refund, and since they will most likely wait until the last minute to cancel – or they will wait until a venue temporarily closes their doors… There are going to be people who will want their money back.

Be prepared with the proper contracts and agreements. Speak with a lawyer to see what grounds you have if a client requests a full or partial refund, and what steps you’ll need to take. 

 

What Can You Do To Protect Your Business? 

Make sure the process for cancellations is covered thoroughly in your contract, as well as having a solid ‘force majeure’ clause.

FORCE MAJEURE

UNFORESEEABLE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT PREVENT SOMEONE FROM FULFILLING A CONTRACT.

Check out this article if you’d like help Drafting and Enforcing Force Majeure Clauses in the Wake of COVID-19: Details Matter

Be proactive!
Create a postponement agreement ahead of time that way you have it in case someone needs to postpone their wedding/event. Postponing an event means you can apply any retainers or money paid to you towards another event date instead of having to refund. 

 

Cut The Fat (unnecessary spending) 

Along with those cancellations, we are most likely headed for a global recession. My suggestion would be to eliminate any business/personal debt you might have. 

  • Do you have subscription services that you are no longer utilizing for your business or home? 
    • Do you really need Netflix and Hulu?
    • Are you using that mobile app editing program?
  • Can you eliminate any yearly reoccurring subscriptions
  • Are you paying for unnecessary advertising (ads, online platforms, etc) that you can temporarily turn off or cancel during the Coronavirus pandemic? 

There’s no sense in having ads or marketing campaigns up and running – if people aren’t booking during this time.  

 

Learn How to Protect Yourself & Your Clients!

  • Practice social distancing
  • Limit physical contact
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t touch your face or body, especially when in public
  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water
  • Self quarantine if you feel any symptoms 


PLEASE… Don’t Panic! 

Yes, most people who catch this virus will be okay, but for others it will be very serious. Those with respiratory conditions or autoimmune issues will need to be extremely careful. 

Please take the necessary precautions to protect not only yourself and your loved ones but your clients as well. It’s our responsibility to flatten the curve.

 

Flatten the curve. 1

You might have heard this term, or maybe not. What it means is simply this…

Taking COVID19 seriously is not just about protecting any one person. It’s about protecting our society as a whole. The healthcare system. The weak among us. If we can use measures like social distancing to slow down the spread of the virus, we save millions of lives.

This isn’t about my opinion vs. your opinion.

It’s about how life is going to change for all of us in the next 60 days and what we ALL can do – in whatever manner we can – to flatten the curve and change the trajectory of how history will remember us.

I want everyone to be able to share their experiences, ask questions, and learn how to get prepared… rather than worrying about posting on social media and looking “extreme” or crazy.

We are truly in this together. We are human, and we are facing a global crisis of hard-to-comprehend proportions.

I am going to link up a bunch of articles at the bottom of this post if you’d like to read them. Feel free to these this post as well as the tagged ones. Let’s all be well informed, and accurate with what we’re facing.

If you see people worried, don’t shame them or belittle them. If you see people being careless about protecting others, speak up.

I’m working hard to strike the balance between “life as usual” and recognizing that this is a unique time for us all and that will require us to reach down and find our humanity and compassion for each other.

And… we all have to work together to flatten the curve. 

 

Articles to read + share! 

 

YouTube Dr. John Campbell

How Taiwan Managed To Avoid Such A Huge Outbreak (so far)

Simple Math + The Covid19 Outbreak

The psychology of human misjudgment

How the Spanish Flu Spread

Dashboard Live in real time

 

 

References: 1: Minor changes to Julie Stoian original message to me this morning but as requested, I’m sharing her words and insight. Thank you for opening my eyes and heart even wider!

 

THIS BLOG POST WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY UPDATED

 

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