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The flu impacts small firms in a big way


Small-firm owners expect their company to get slowed down by issues with the economy and pressure from competition. They also have business insurance policies to protect against other detractors, but what many tend to forget sometimes is the potential for employees to get sick, more specifically, catch the flu.

Recent research conducted by the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project at the University's Graziadio School of Business and Management demonstrated 9 percent of privately held businesses saw their firm's prospects for growth slowed by the flu, while 3 percent revealed issues with bringing on new staff because of the illness. 

"The perception that the flu outbreak is hindering their opportunities for growth is somewhat surprising because the flu is a temporary condition that should not impact the trajectory of the company," said Dr. Craig Everett, assistant professor of finance at Pepperdine and associate director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project.. "The fact that nearly one out of ten respondents said 'yes' is both unexpected and troubling."

Not only is the flu making it difficult for small-business owners to look for ways to grow their firm, but sick staff members can actually take away from a company's bottom line. According to the research, each sick employee costs firms with revenues of less than $5 million nearly $23,000, proving the flu can be a boon to the workforcevand the organization's bottom line. Small-business owners need to be sure they have a backup plan in place in case workers come down with a sickness, and processes can remain streamlined without risking customer loyalty or profits.

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