First off, I want to give my heartfelt thoughts to everyone out there affected by this. If you’ve gotten the virus or have close family or friends who have been infected with the virus, my heart goes out to you. If you are in the event industry, it's clearly hitting us super hard. If you’re a small business owner, I know it's hitting you hard.
This entire week has been difficult. It’s been stressful. People are living in fear and panic. They often feel paralyzed and don't know how to deal with these challenges as business owners. So I wanted to sit down with my friend Caroline Fox, the owner of Engaged Legal, to discuss the virus, how it's effecting business owners, contracts, insurance policies, cancellations, financial situations, etc.
Some things we talked about:
- Updates to How Corvid-19 is effecting small business owners
- Specific contracts and contract clauses, insurance policies, having a plan for various situations
- Financial implications of Corvid-19 as small business owners
Here are a few quotes:
- (7:37) “The big question regarding force majeure.... There's not really much you can do with your current contracts in their existing state. If you have a force majeure clause, that's typically where you deal with obligations parties have when an event like that effects the ability of one of the parties to perform. "
- (8:23) "We're not quite in a force majeure situation yet. There are a few localities that have shut down gatherings, but really what force majeure requires is that it has to be almost impossible due to one of these mentioned reasons. A lot of force majeure clauses have things like government insurrection, or government mandate, or other acts of God, and there is debate as to whether this pandemic situation, IF the government makes us all quarantine, if that THEN falls under government mandate."
- (9:38) "I think the issue here is that people's current contracts DO NOT state pandemics or epidemics in their current force majeure clauses. I think people are going to add those in, it's a big learning lesson but there's really not a lot you can do with your CURRENT contracts. It's very face specific and contract specific."
- (15:45) "You also get into this PR point where yes you may have legal rights to cancel, but also don't be a jerk. Be a human and work with everyone. I think the businesses that are trying to work through the situation and help clients are going to be the ones that end up coming out on top."
- (16:30) "You don't have to refund everyone's deposits right away, I get that people are relying on that money, but can you adjust, can you reschedule, can you cancel certain things, how can you make the expenses your clients are about to incur less. Especially in an industry about making things easy, and making things pretty, you want to be able to provide that service to your client, EVEN in a time like this."
- (43:12) "If you are an event professional, I advocate that you are named in that insurance policy as an additional insured. Because from my understanding that will help you get paid directly instead of them getting paid first and then having to pay you."
- (55:56) "Until the event happens, it's very easy to say "there's always going to be another wedding, or another event" so you don't worry about putting away money. At this point it may be a good idea to reach out to your resources in the creative industry that deal with money."