Business Ready Checklist
Building Better Businesses 1. 2. 3.
We learned a lot about our businesses and ourselves in 2020. While most certainly this pandemic qualifies as a once in a lifetime event, it did stress test our business models. It revealed many strengths—an admirable resilience and ability to pivot to new ways of doing business. And, it revealed some vulnerabilities—a lack of readiness and a lack of capacity to adapt in a timely way.
Talking with thousands of Irvine businesses since March 2020, we learned that too many businesses are ill-prepared for a small disruption much less a major disruption such as an earthquake, power grid collapse, or global pandemic.
Your Chamber is ready to go to work with you! We are proposing tips, tools, and resources to help you minimize vulnerabilities and optimize readiness. Doing so means that you can better manage the next inevitable disruption, absorb shocks more easily, stabilize, and recover more confidently and start growing again faster.
The Greater Irvine Chamber wants you to be better prepared and capable of managing more easily through whatever challenge lies ahead.
Building Better Businesses 1. 2. 3. Components
- Checklist - A simple, straightforward checklist of business operational items. This list includes all the vulnerabilities we discovered during our work with Irvine businesses - operational items that must be current, ready, and easily accessed during a disruption.
- Resources - These resources will include some of those already on the Recovery and Resilience Resources page of this website and links to reliable templates and partner organizations with descriptions of their free or affordable programs.
- Call for Backup! - When you need assistance, either preparing for a better level of readiness or when struggling through a disruption, situational resources and Building Better Business Irvine Quick Fix Experts—a group of volunteer Chamber members willing to spend up to 30 minutes or more pro bono, can you navigate through basic business questions.
Develop or update your Business Plan. This is the business blueprint that guides the idea through development and launch and operation. See sample Business Plan attached.
Develop or adopt an Emergency Preparedness & Recovery Plan specific for your type of business. This plan contains the information you will need to respond responsibly when faced with disruption.
Bookkeeping (P & L, Balance Sheet). Maintain current the basic bookkeeping records required to track and explain your cash flow -accounts receivables, accounts payable, revenue generated, labor costs, fixed expenses, liabilities, loans, and taxes.
Payroll and Payroll Taxes. Maintain accurate and current Federal, State, and Local payroll and tax records.
Develop or update your Marketing Plan. This Plan sets up your basic sales and marketing platform for your products and services; a disruption will require changes and adaptations to stay up and running and/or competitive.
Establish a business account and/or payroll account with a bank. Keep bank information secure but readily available - balances, account numbers, and PIN numbers.
Establish a working familiarity with a bank officer (s). Know the Bank Manager or Account Specialist so when you call with a question or problem, they will be there for you.
Establish a line of credit. Arrange for a Line of Credit that would be available to you in an emergency to sustain your basic operations for a month or more.
Dedicate a percentage of revenues to a reserve account. Determine the percentage of reserves to have on hand in case of emergency – at least one month to three months of expenses and payroll.
Make a staffing and employee backup plan. Plan for when your employees cannot make it into work, they are furloughed or laid-off or the skills you require change.
Plan Insurances and Risk Mitigation. Maintain current required business licenses and business insurances that cover liability, property, equipment, work stoppages and perhaps incident or event coverage depending on your business model.
Be Prepared with Tax Records – Federal, State and Local. Be able to easily access up to three years of tax returns and filings in the event you must apply for an or bank loan.
Know your local SBA, Small Business Development Center and SCORE teams. Introduce yourself to the organizations that can help you evaluate and grow your business—in good times and during disruption.
Bookmark the Greater Irvine Chamber website. Follow our webinars, committee and task force work, resources, and situational timely alerts and advisories.
- City of Irvine: Kaitlyn Nguyen, Economic Development Manager
- SBA: Sheree Coates, Economic Development Specialist
- OC Inland Empire SBDC Network: Mike Daniel, Director
- UCI SBDC: Julie Cranston, Director
- SCORE: David Wild, Adviser
- US Commercial Service: Jim Mayfield, Director
- Downloadable Templates:
- Business Plan courtesy Brian Anderson, Telecomprehensive
- Marketing Plan courtesy Lisa Thomas, Main Street Marketing Partners
- Financials courtesy OC SBDC Network:
3. Call for Back Up!
- Greater Irvine Chamber Website - The source for business tips, tools, resources, emergency or situational resources, alerts, and advisories.
- Greater Irvine Chamber Language Translation Bank - Chamber members available to assist business owners with the translation of Federal, State, or Local business forms, emergency funding applications, or alert/advisory questions. Contact: Pepper Russell, Senior Manager, Economic Development, Greater Irvine Chamber.
- Building Better Business Irvine Quick Fix Experts - List of people, companies, and areas of expertise ready to work with Irvine businesses—technology, accounting, legal, HR/staffing, and more. Contact: Pepper Russell, Senior Manager, Economic Development, Greater Irvine Chamber.