This is a new challenge that we have to deal with. This environment is going to be with us for a while. This checklist will help. Read it completely before taking action, then act. Communication is one area that needs to occur quickly in a situation like this.
We Are Where We Are
The information and guidance we will receive will change over time, some countries will react differently or at a different speed. The rules we have to work to will change, learn the rules and manage your business based around them, be prepared for change as the situation progresses.
Be sure you are healthy; physically, mentally, and financially. This is critical, you are the leader of your business. Likewise ensure your team is following the recommendations to ensure they remain well. If they become effected, ensure that they take the necessary actions to protect others.
Your people are your main asset – You need to do everything you can to look after yourself and your team.
Would working from home for some or all your team be possible? Could teams be split and work in different areas/offices?
Finance – Challenge or Opportunity?
Ensure you monitor your finance and the other numbers in your business. For some there might be an advantage, for others a decrease in cash flow from slow payments (higher accounts receivable) might mean a greater use of borrowed capital. A disaster/pandemic or other type of “emergency” as defined by local or national governments frequently frees up government funds to keep economies stable as in the recent budget. There may be an opportunity here dependent on your circumstances.
Keep Marketing and Keep Selling
People still need products and services. For some, what and how you offer your products/services may not change, for others it will be more of a challenge. Those whose marketing and sales processes are better than their competition will be the winner in the long term. This is an opportunity to take customers from the competition. You might want to change your marketing messaging to help customers continue to do business with you. You might want to help your customers understand why now is a great opportunity to do business with you. There might be opportunities due to the situation that allow you to get better results. Look for the silver lining – I suspect there are several!
If you find yourself in an industry that is going to find this period extremely challenging, alternatives to your current offering might be a sensible option to investigate. Consider any financial support that may be available via the government schemes.
Does Your Distribution Model Need to be Changed?
With this pandemic or other supply chain issues you might need to change the way you distribute your product or service. Do you need to deliver the product/service in a different way? Will your customer buy the product the in same way? Don’t wait for the customer to find alternative sources for what you supply.
Don’t try to argue with the logic of the situation – This situation is unlike any other, the messages from the media will form the basis of people’s behaviour, you are unlikely to win the argument regardless of the irrationality.
Sourcing Your Product/Stock
Do you have to find products/supplies from different sources compared to normal? It maybe that the primary source for product or stock can no longer provide the quantity or provide timely delivery. This may be an opportunity to make a change that was already needed.
Operations – Where is the Weakest Link?
Take a helicopter view of your business, look at your entire operation, where is the greatest single point of failure? Is there an element/department of your business at risk? It might be sales, production, for some it’s getting the team to do the work. Can technology or other solutions eliminate or minimize these risks?
Your Team’s Morale is Crucial!
Given the current situation and the communication from the media, your communication to your team becomes critical. Without your communication uncertainty and doubt is likely spread. You must communicate with your team to promote confidence and security. If you don’t already communicate with your team on a regular basis, now is the time to start.
This article is a checklist to review and consider during times of challenges, specifically for the Covid19 Pandemic which is affecting global operations in 2020. Additional discussions should occur with all areas of a business including human resources regarding the actual situation occurring in your business.