In crises, we’re faced with a whole raft of new decisions that we need to make, and they’re not necessarily the kinds of decisions we’ve made before. It brings out the best in people, and the worst. With Covid-19, people who are planning ahead may seem alarmist, but in truth, putting good processes in place now and planning for a worst-case scenario is simply good business governance. For us, that has meant taking emergency meetings to quickly assess what needs to be done in light of new circumstances.
Here’s a quick guide for things you should be thinking about in relation to your business and team right now:
- Do a SWOT Analysis. Analyse your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Understand and accept that times have changed and that a strength can transform into a weakness, and vice versa. For example, if you have a beautiful retail spot in a high foot traffic location,you’ll be paying a premium for that. In the current market, the harsh reality is that’s a significant weakness.
- Understand your risk. Review any personal guarantees you have in place and any other obligations you have toward your team, customers and suppliers. Make sure you check your lease terms, expirations and any bank guarantee you have in place.
- Plan for the worst. Make sure you plan for the absolute worst-case scenario. If you’re a business who relies on foot traffic and people, you should immediately review how much your foot traffic is down and make a contingency plan.
- Get online. As per the point above, get your business online and fast! If you’re currently selling clothes, boost your online marketing and reduce your physical footprint.
- Reduce your cost base. Be creative and act early. Personally, I’d recommend reviewing scenarios where you reduce your to cost base to 50% its current, depending on the current business you’re in and if that’s operationally feasible. You’ll need to think about significant pay cuts, asking staff to work less days or make redundancies. I acknowledge these are incredibly difficult topics and decisions but if made early, they can help your business down the track.
- Review your marketing. Focus on products people will buy, with social events closing down left, right and centre, consider how you can keep trading in this environment. Be creative!
- Government stimulus package. There’s a chance you’ll be eligible for support as the government announces more efforts to stabilise the economy. Be sure you research and access any grant available. Speak to the bank, early! Review your current overdraft arrangement and if possible, extend it. Better to arrange in advance than suffer the penalties of an unarranged over-draft down the track.
- Ask for help. These are incredibly challenging times, and as humans, we find it hard to reach out for help anyway. Truth is, in amongst all the chaos and anguish, the world is full of good people who are ready to help, and they’re everywhere. Sometimes it can be hard to ask, but learning this skill is vital to being part of a healthy, safe and supportive society.