The global pandemic is set to affect not just public health but also the economy. As governments impose lockdowns to help prevent the coronavirus from spreading, this brings in what many are calling the “new” normal. This new normal impacts all businesses.
In this video, I explore practical steps that you can undertake today to help keep your business going through this pandemic.
How are you doing? I hope that this video finds you well, and despite what’s going on today, that you are taking care of yourself.
I recognise that many businesses are responding to the economic effects of the global pandemic differently. Depending on which industry you are in and how the government is regulating your business operations in response to measures to help minimise the spread of the coronavirus, I offer five tips that you can do today to help you manage your business in an otherwise difficult and unpredictable situation.
- Understand your current financial position
To make the best possible decisions in a difficult situation, you need fully understand your current position, especially your financial situation. This is the best time to keep your financial statements up to date and to discuss with your accountant where you are financially.
Here are some questions that you may need to answer to help you get a better picture of your financial position, which will enable you to make better decisions about your future business operations:
- How much do you owe?
- How much are you owed?
- Where is your money currently being spent?
- Where are you currently earning income?
- How much cash do you currently have?
- How long will your current cash position last?
- Perform financial health checks and manage your spending
Now that you know your financial position, it’s time to perform health checks and manage your spending. Are you eligible for any form government assistance? If you are, look into that.
Are there any items in your spending that you can cut or reduce? Talk to your bank and see if you can renegotiate payment terms for loans. Talk to your landlord and seek payment extensions for rent or if you can renegotiate rates during this crisis.
If your business has limited its operations, see what expenditures you can cut down. Maybe there are services that you aren’t using that you can put on pause or even completely cut off.
This is also the best time to take stock of your assets and see if there are any that you can lease or even sell to improve your cash flow.
- Communicate with your stakeholders
Your stakeholders are people who have an impact on the operations and performance of your business. These include your customers, your employees, your suppliers, and the supply chain in general. In difficult times, it is best to keep communication lines open to all of your stakeholders.
How are you customers managing? Will they be able to continue doing business with you? If not, what challenges are they facing? Perhaps you can help or provide supplementary services so that they can continue to utilise your services.
How are your suppliers? Can they continue serving your business’s needs? Are they experiencing challenges or difficulties in the supply chain themselves? Supply chain and service interruptions are to be expected in lockdowns, and this is why it is important to keep yourself informed so that you can find ways to adapt and work together to mitigate negative impacts caused by these interruptions.
- Build on your network
Your network and connections have an impact in how your business will perform. This is the best time to reach out to members of your local business community—if you’re not part of an organisation already, it may be time to seek membership in these communities. This is the time to band together to find support and give each other support.
In my previous video (link forthcoming on how to take care of your mental health), I discuss how finding a supportive community and reaching out to others can benefit your mental health. Doing so may also boost your business’s health. Thanks to technology, lockdowns should not keep us in isolation. Now, more than ever, is the time to reach out, seek support, and give comfort and assistance to one anoother. We’re all in the same boat—and if we paddle together, we can reach our destination and achieve success more quickly.
- Review your business model
Many businesses around the world are pivoting and finding ways to deliver products and services to their clients and customers in ways that they have not before. For example, many restaurants that are forced to close dining rooms instead offer take out and delivery services, aside from selling frozen/ready-to-cook packs of their signature dishes, they offer other grocery items as well. Many brick-and-mortar only stores are working on their online presence so that they can continue to sell their products to their clientele.
Agriculture in Australia is also responding to challenges that they have been facing for the past few years—first, as a result of the drought and second, as a result of the global pandemic. But the industry is innovating. Have you heard of the paddock to plate movement? The goal of this movement is to make the food supply chain more transparent to both producers and consumers, and to shorten the chain between these two parties in order to reduce costs and to contribute to overall stability and sustainability. This movement is not unique to Australia. In many countries around the world, this grassroots movement is also seeing some growth and increased interest from consumers.
If we take a page from these so-called disruptors, is there anything that you can change in your business today so that you can continue to offer your products and services to your customers?
Are your customers experiencing new and different pain points that you can address and resolve for them? Do you see new segments in the market sprouting that are suddenly in need of products and services that you offer? Is there a way you can tweak or change or improve your current offerings to expand your business or find an alternative revenue stream?
This “new” normal is bringing in new challenges, new needs, and new pain points for everyone. At some point, scientists will find a cure for the coronavirus and lockdowns will slowly and steadily be lifted. We do not know how the world will look like by then. But we can respond to the little changes that happen day-to-day, adapt to these changes little-by-little, and hopefully, find a way to not just survive but also thrive and progress moving forward.
Thank you and be safe.