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COVID-19: Don’t panic, plan!

Whilst we are living in very uncertain times at the moment, it is not a time to panic, but rather to plan. We cannot ignore the impact that the Corona Virus will have on our economy and our businesses – we need to plan to be ready for whatever lies ahead.

International award-winning business coach, Darryn Le Grange from ActionCOACH Ignite, shares twelve points to consider to protect your business through this crisis.

  1. Communicate: What do you want to communicate to your clients and staff? What assurances / information are you sharing with your team regarding job security? How will Covid-19 affect a change in your services or delivery to your clients? There is no such thing as over communication – keep your staff and customers continually updated.
  2. Positivity: Be a calming effect for those around you. Be careful of fake news and passing on incorrect information. Always be factual and quote good, reliable sources.
  3. Be ready for change: A lot has changed over the past few days. Plan for the worst case scenario but hope for the best. Look at your business model and identify what needs to change. What will happen if one of your staff gets infected?  Can you still operate your business? Are you prepared for possible lockdown?
  4. Financial impact: Businesses that have cash reserves will survive and those that don’t will suffer. Delay or postpone expenditure where possible. What can you do to bring in more cash? How long can you survive without billing your customers? Consider offering a settlement discount to outstanding debtors to make sure you have a cash buffer. Above all, have a cash flow forecast and know your numbers.
  5. Analyze your supply chain: Are you still able to access stock or do you need to look at alternative or backup suppliers?  Do you need to change the way that you supply goods and services? If your competitors can’t supply anymore this might be a good opportunity for you to attract new business.
  6. Your workforce: Ensure you regularly communicate timeously with your staff. How would you cope if you lost part or all of your workforce? Do you have a contingency plan in place?
  7. Look for opportunities: Hand sanitizers and toilet paper sales are doing exceptionally well. How can you use the situation to your advantage?
  8. Be prepared to work from home: Should a member of your staff need to go into quarantine, could they continue to work from home? Consider what access would be required at their homes for Wi-Fi, access to servers etc. Perhaps look into moving your business online and consider how you could service your customers remotely? Amazon is currently employing 100,000 new staff to meet the increased demand for online sales.
  9. Your biggest asset is your existing customer and repeat business: Stay in touch with your existing customers and offer them good deals to service your cash flow needs. Always over deliver to your customers and go out of your way to show them that you care. Be compassionate, especially if their industries are being affected. Can you offer them more lenient terms?  Remember: the way you treat your customers, especially during trying times, will go a long way in reinforcing loyalty and securing customers for life.
  10. Common Sense & Compassion: Be sensible and do your part to contain the virus. Show compassion and always put people before profits! Where possible, please support local businesses.
  11. This too shall pass: All businesses go through the economic cycle and experience expansion, a recession and then recover. During tough times keep your pipeline full and don’t stop marketing and selling.
  12. What you can do right now: Ask the right questions and prepare a contingency plan. Sit with your team and plan for the varying levels of severity. Assess the potential impact on your business and prepare accordingly to ensure your business will survive.

“Some businesses will seize the opportunities, others will die, not because they are bad businesses, but because they didn’t have a plan. Don’t be caught without a plan. We all hope and pray this virus goes away and we can return to normal but in the meantime, we must plan for the various stages of severity and how to keep our businesses alive throughout,” concludes Darryn.

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