April 20, 2020
There have been a number of voices out in all forms of media offering advice of all sorts to businesses-some of it good and some not so good. But there is a common refrain developing amongst the chatter and it actually is pretty good advice. Strategy UP, Halifax based IT consulting firm and Ernst and Young https://www.ey.com/en_ca/transactions/companies-can-reshape-results-and-plan-for-covid-19-recovery agree on five pillars to navigate this uncertain business climate.
First priority is health and safety, of you, the employer, and your staff. Do whatever it takes to make sure that you and your employees are as safe as they can be both physically and mentally. You need to be well to lead your organization through these difficult times. Make time for yourself and decompress. Once you are centered then you can begin to address any concerns your employees may have. Do what you can to mitigate those concerns so that you maintain a “well” functioning organization.
Second priority, customers-the business at hand. Reach out to them if possible whether you are still open or not and address any of their concerns. Let them know they are still your priority and you will endeavor to help them with their concerns. Connect via email, phone, Facebook etc. You want maintain contact with them so they maintain contact with you once business returns to normal!
Third priority, cash flow. This should be foremost on all businesses minds everyday but especially now. You will need to look for means to increase revenue and decrease expenses. Your accountant will be an excellent resource to provide you with you company’s specific action plan going forward. Be sure to include accessing any of the government programs out there that suit your specific situation. A good starting point for you and your accountant would be to take a look at the programs compiled at the following link https://westernren.ca/covid-19-information-and-resources/. Keep in mind the programs are still fluid so check back often. Responsibly maximize the use of government support!
Fourth priority, protect your supply chains and tend to your strategic partnerships. Communication is the key to managing relationships. As your situation unfolds and your needs change you must inform your supply chain as soon as possible to give them ample time to react. If you are looking to open in two weeks’ time let them know right away so they can adjust and make arrangement to serve you better. This is also the time to reassess these relationships and decide if they will still suit you in the future. Perhaps the current situation casts a new light on an old strategic partnership. Were they there for you and if not should the relationship continue? Don’t forget they are probably asking the same thing about you!
Fifth priority, a brave new world is on the horizon. What will be your new normal? After some reflection, rethinking of alliances and perhaps adjusting the way you operate you must ask the all-important question. What will my business look like once we get over this current situation? How can I mitigate any similar adverse impact to my business in the future? Am I in the right business if this happens again? What adjustments need to be made to future proof my business?