COVID-19 has created unexpected challenges for many of these businesses across Ireland. With this in mind, Facebook has launched a new ‘Small Business Resource Hub’ to support Irish small businesses.

Small and medium sized businesses are the engine of job growth and development in the Irish economy. As a sector, it’s diverse and vibrant. According to the latest Seanad Public Consultation Committee Report on SMEs in Ireland, the sector accounts for over 99% of active enterprises in Ireland and employs 65% of the population. The ‘Business Resource Hub’ has a range of resources such as a resiliency tool kit and online training sessions designed to help businesses minimise disruption, increase their ability to survive and even thrive during and after these challenging times.
The Facebook ‘Small Business Resilience Toolkit’ encourages businesses to assess their business resilience, for example it prompts businesses to identify the business activities that are essential for continued operation during a disruption and consider the impact to business and distributor operations and determine an action plan to mitigate or plan for significant disruptions.
Resiliency planning is about being prepared to manage any disruption and ensure the continuation of services and communication to customers and employees. Facebook’s new resource hub provides support and advice to help businesses put an action plan, suited to the needs of any business, in place.
Below are five steps a business can take today:

1. Keep yourself safe and informed.
Stay up to date by following credible, official sources such as the HSE and World Health Organisation (WHO) so you can respond quickly to changes that could affect you or your customers. Follow updates from the HSE at www.hse.ie/coronavirus or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
2. Stay in touch with your customers.
Proactively share important information with your customers using email, your website, Facebook page, Instagram business profile or however you typically connect. It is possible to pin important posts to the top of your Facebook page for quick viewing. You might include information about the measures you’re taking to make your premises or products safe, or how you will handle customer enquiries if there are expected delivery delays.

3. Try hosting online events.
In case you need to postpone or cancel any planned events as a result of the outbreak, connect with your customers directly on their phone with an online webinar, or organise live sessions using social channels such as Facebook or Instagram.

4. Prepare a customer service plan.
In order to be responsive and transparent with your customers during this challenging moment, prepare for incoming questions and requests. Consider drafting templated responses for your emails or set up instant-reply messages with information you expect your customers will be looking for. Connect with your customers for free in real time using Instagram Direct messages, Messenger or setting up a WhatsApp Business profile.

5. Provide a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Prepare a list of responses for questions your customers are likely to ask, and provide as much detail and reassurance as possible in your answers.

The Business Resource Hub is the latest step Facebook has taken in its response to the Coronavirus. Visit the Facebook Newsroom for more information on how Facebook is keeping people safe and informed.