We have all moved rapidly into times of great personal, business and economic uncertainty, which for our businesses means that we must reflect, plan and act decisively and calmly to minimise the impact. Panic or knee jerk reactions will not help anyone. Businesses should be looking for new possibilities, new processes, new ways to deliver products and services and not hang on to old ways of operating in the face of this potential economic crisis…those who plan can avoid panic mode.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent: it is the one that adapts”
Here are 14 steps you can start today to support your business, team and customers:
1. Personal & Personnel
You and your team need to stay as physically fit as possible. Reduce the chances of an internal outbreak of Corona Virus, by ensuring that everyone knows and follow the Government guidelines.
2. Mindset – Be Positive
Your team, customers, suppliers & network need YOU to be calm, strong, decisive and display leadership
· Panic and worry do not help
· Lead your team – be positive: “It’s show time”
· Look at what you (and they) can do – not what you can’t
· Use your time wisely – don’t waste time on unnecessary activities
3. Plan – failing to plan is planning to fail
· Do you have an action plan for the next 90 days?
· Do you have an action plan for this week?
· What are your top 5 priorities for today?
· Do your team know what you expect of them?
· Act fast and decisively
· Lead the change
· Shift the business / pivot where necessary
· Communicate clearly and very regularly with your team, customers, suppliers etc.
· Tell people what is happening and what is going to happen
· Lack of information creates uncertainty and fear
6. Staffing cuts and changes
· If you must make cuts – do it early and do it decisively
· Get it over and done with in one go – communicate clearly
· Consider unpaid leave or reduced pay
7. Work from home – plan it now and be prepared
· What technology do you have in place?
· How will you manage meetings and reporting?
· Communications, customer service, security
8. Supply Chain
· Review your entire supply chain – have you identified critical points?
· What does your stock holding look like?
· Have you spoken to your suppliers – what are they planning?
· What alternatives however unlikely are there?
· Talk to your bank or other funders – keep them updated
· Where can you negotiate payment holidays?
· What other support is available – Government?
10. Cash and Cashflow
· Businesses will fail through lack of cash – what are you doing to preserve cash?
· ESSENTIAL – Update your cashflow forecast at least weekly – know your numbers
· Where can you make cuts, reduce expenditure, reduce staffing or hours worked?
· Where can you stretch out supplier payments?
· Are you on top of your debtors – speak to all late payers this week
· Reduce credit terms wherever you can
· Extend lines of credit into the business – you don’t have to use it, be prepared
· Talk to your bank – keep them informed
11. Products and Production
· Are they still relevant, do they need to change?
· Do your stock levels look right for the new circumstances?
· How do they need to adjust?
12. Marketing and Sales Activities
· Keep marketing and selling
· Increase not decrease – there will be opportunities
· How are you adapting your marketing and sales to the new circumstances? Act fast
· What alternative products and services could you offer?
13. Existing Customers
· Keep existing customers at all costs – communicate regularly with them
· Create deals and arrangements that work specifically for them
· Make sure they know how important they are to you
14. Common Sense and Compassion
· Over deliver on customer service
· Put people first – community matters
· Things will get better….
COMPLIMENTARY BUSINESS COACHING SESSION
Plan don’t panic: If you (or any business owner that you know) would benefit from a complimentary business coaching session with me to get clarity and focus, create and implement an action plan and guide you through these difficult times please contact me. The session will be by phone or Zoom.
There is no charge for this. This is my contribution to help support the business community which helps us all.