5th May 2020.
Preparing for the end of lockdown
5 things businesses need to think about whilst emerging from the covid-19 lockdown.
- Cash flow
The life blood of any business, cash is king!
Preserving cash is the number one priority of all businesses right now.
However, the real issues may well come further down the line, the pipeline of a large number of businesses has been severely interrupted which means that some deals/transactions may well have gone through during the lockdown period.
However, the business development, research and networking effort required to get new opportunities into the pipeline has completely stalled during the last month, so be prepared for the effects of Covid to last much longer than the actual lockdown period itself.
If you’re applying for the Govt Business Interruption Scheme Loan, make sure you apply for enough, it’s a one off process, this is not the time to be cautious asking the bank for money, try to get as much as possible to see you through this tough time.
We’re all well aware of the impact this pandemic has had upon many employees, furloughing of staff has been a new concept to all of us, subsequently we’re not too sure what it means, when will the Govt cash start flowing, will the portal work etc etc.
In the meantime, staff are feeling exposed, anxious about potential redundancy and working from home with small children is pretty impossible.
Re-assuring staff, keeping them engaged and helping them to maintain a positive mental attitude is key for employers who want to get their business back to performing as soon as the lockdown measures are eased.
Many premises will have been closed for two months by the end of the lockdown, although business owners will have been regularly checking for signs of forced entry, and essential maintenance, the fact is that many people working in an office, shop, or restaurant/bar will notice things during the normal course of their working day, this has not happened .
So business owners and managers should be prepared for a number of ‘surprises’ when they open up their premises again, from potentially catastrophic events like a burst pipe or electrical failure due to rodent infestation, to relatively minor inconveniences like mouldy food in fridges.
This will all take time to remedy, so try to go in to premises as early as possible once the govt eases the lockdown, if it’s safe to do so, go in alone whilst the lockdown is still in place to assess any issues and get things moving in advance of staff coming back to work.
This is where the real problems will be felt.
Re-building your pipeline will require considerable planning, effort and a team working. All Dept’s will need to be aware that their role may well become secondary to business development for the first month after lockdown.
This means, networking physical if allowed, definitely virtual if possible, and via social media. This could be as simple as ‘liking’ a post on FB, commenting on a company Linked In post, or re-tweeting a company tweet.
Every organisation is going to be in the same boat, so make sure you concentrate all your efforts on the core business offerings, forget about vanity projects, things that don’t make you money and upcoming projects that will become the star product in the coming years,
shelve everything you have to in order to re-build your pipeline ensure your company survives.
This is your specific area of expertise. You may be a retailer, a law firm or window washing business. Only you know your business inside out.
It’s not for people like me to tell you what’s important to your business.
The panic has subsided, to a large extent, but the world has changed, and the business world has changed exponentially, it’s now time to look at previous business model and decide if it’s still fit for purpose.
Perhaps you’re a retailer and you’ve realised that you’re not so reliant on that City Centre trading position that you thought you were. Or a law firm that now understands better the power of letting people work flexibly, or a consultant who doesn’t need to attend face to face meetings as often in order to give clients the service they need.
Whatever the pivot your business has gone through, now is the time to sit down and think, really think about what you do, how you do it, and should you change for good!