The term resilience is often thrown around by the media and business commentators when times get tough but we all know the last six months have seen some of the most extreme pressures on businesses that we will ever see. It is useful to look at some of the key learnings from the pandemic so far:
- Have a business continuity plan – consider what you may need to physically operate your business from a different location and what your staff may need. This might be in the form of Cloud based IT systems, remote logins, website based sales, or online consultations. Ensure that these have been tested prior to any possible disaster.
- Keep your employees updated – it is important to instil a level of confidence in your team by keeping them informed of concerns you may have or any possible pressure points on the business – be honest with them. Most employees want to ensure their jobs are retained and may offer great ideas on ways the business could adapt or improve the way things operate. There’s a long way to go yet so continue to keep your team updated.
- Understand your cashflow – it is vital during a crisis such as this to know from day to day, week to week and month to month where your cash will come from and what your key fixed costs are. Monitor and update this regularly and understand where pressure points come.
- Ensure strong relationships with key suppliers – all businesses are in a similar situation to you during a time of crisis. It is better to keep them informed of any difficulties you might have and work through options together. You need to ensure continuity of their “product” supply to you to ensure the continuity of your business. Key suppliers include your landlord and bank. It’s in everyone’s best interests for your business to be able to continue in the long term.
- Stay in touch with your Debtors – fundamental to understanding your cashflow is making sure that your debtors are paying you. Have conversations with them early on to understand if they have any difficulties. Work out terms with them that see you getting some funds rather than no funds. For example it may still better to receive at least 50% when it’s due to you and the other 50% the following month.
- How will the business adapt to the “new way”? – there is no doubt that the pandemic will result in major change to how commerce operates. Give some consideration to how your business might operate differently. Often great change can come when pressure is applied and gives you the chance to rethink what you want out of your business. This might be an opportunity to look at efficiencies or improvements in systems. e-Commerce will be a major change to many businesses post COVID.
- Ensure your own personal wellbeing– often it’s easy to overlook your own personal wellbeing when all your efforts are focussed on ensuring your business survives. People respond to stress in different ways – some thrive on it and some don’t – be mindful of how you best manage stress. Look for ways to mitigate your own stress – whether it’s taking some time to read a book, exercise or spend time with family. Time out can provide you with a clear head to think.
- Rebuild your “rainy day fund” – most businesses will have used their “rainy day fund” so it’s important that when possible you mitigate personal drawings as much as possible and retain funds in the business to set aside. It is possible that future restrictions could be imposed again by Government which will impact your cashflow.