Updated: Apr 22, 2020
As the news cycles continue to lead with progression of the CORVID-19 (aka Corona) pandemic, I am happy to say my brew of choice has always been Yuengling. If you are wondering what you can do with your spare time due to stay-at-home orders or are seeking to help where you can...maybe you see potential for a quick buck, let's discuss options.
First thing first, if you are looking to take advantage of the crisis and make a quick buck, please stop and go no further. Prosecutors are itching to make an example out of you. Please don't.
If however your company has some beneficial offering or can re-tool to provide services or support in some way, here is how to start. These are the first, most basic steps to establish your company and register for federal work.
Register with the Secretary of State (each state, not the federal Dept of State)
Register with the IRS for an EIN
Register for DUNS number
Register for a Login.gov account
Register with SAM.GOV
Receive CAGE code from firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a significant level of fear in the market right now. Calls keep coming in from owners anticipating or experiencing slow downs. What is going to happen as foreign supply chains are further scrutinized? How do you run a manufacturing plant with remote employees? Are raw material suppliers experiencing shortages?
Take a breath and realize there will be shifts in several markets as a result of this crisis. Airlines began to announce no middle-row seating in planes. Cruises may have to rethink business models as well. What can you do?
Risk Mitigation - Take time and think through your Risk Mitigation Plans. Did your established plans work? Did force majeure affect your contract? A careful read of most contracts allows for some recoup of lost revenue during this time. Understand like during the last shut down, employment contractors will likely be left holding the bag. If you didn't then, decide now what you plan to do with those direct employees no longer able to work on their government work locations. You will lose revenue in the short term but employees will remember which companies left them high and dry during a crisis. Are there other, productive functions they may serve? Can those IT Engineers serve as help desk or remote service technicians for phone support? Will your contract officer allow for remote work or telework? Have you asked?
Communications - Your employees are nervous too. They have kids at home from school and are nervous for their elderly parents. I respect the business owner more for communicating with their teams more than those who are caught in OODA Loops (Google it) and never reaction action for fear of liability. Let your people know what you can, when you can. Silence is not an option.
Alternate work locations - Contracting Officers are in crisis mode as well. "Essential Personnel" designations may not be enough to get your people back to work. Is telework and option? Does the work space allow for social distance? Classified environments do not accommodate home work so think about shift work. Every other cubicle on off shift hours? Allow for office 1, 3 and 5 to work mornings and 2, 4, and 6 to work afternoons. Think of options. Communicate with your contract team. They do not have all the answers. Be the person who comes with ideas. Issuing everyone a mask isn't feasible. Working remotely in critical or classified environments is legal.
IT Infrastructure - If you haven't looked at cloud storage or infrastructure in a while, this is a perfect time! Make sure to think ahead to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) coming up. Might as well do the updates now rather than wait until you have to in a few months.
Think creatively - DOD, DHS, FEMA, Army Corps, NIH, VA...they are all flooded and pulling in resources. The opportunities are posted. If you aren't seeing them, you aren't looking. A quick search at time of this posting shows 34 different solicitations for the same type of personal protective equipment. Crisis mode. Think creatively for the longer term. What will be needed next? How can your business? This will not be solved if a snap of a finger gave everyone around the world a mask.
Again, take a breath. Communicate with your employees. Communicate with your Contract Officers. We will get through the crisis. Resilient companies on the other end will be those that adjusted and communicated. In the Air Force we had a saying I feel appropriate in this moment...Flexibility is the key to Air Power! Be safe and stay calm.