lockdown-business

If you wish to discuss any of the issues in this blog and how a Business  Coach can help you, please contact me for an initial free chat on 0785 7422614 or at martin@mjbcoaching.co.uk

Businesses have faced major issues over the last couple of months of the Coronavirus lockdown – minimising their cost base, paying their employees, just making sure they survive. Pretty soon, the next challenge will become how prepared you are as the business landscape opens up again but still with restrictions in place.

Whatever your own circumstances, here are some tips to help your preparedness as lockdown gradually eases:

1. Planning

Now is a good time to make sure you have a good understanding of your budgets and projected workflow at least for the rest of this year.

It’s hard to second guess the Government, but try to think about potential scenarios, and factor those in your plans.

Many businesses may need to consider a loan to get back on their feet, Government-sponsored or otherwise. If this is the case for you, make sure you are clear on the terms, and utilise your accountant.

Things to consider:

  • Can you cut costs without compromising your business offer?
  • Do you need to review your suppliers, insurance, rent arrangements etc.? Can you negotiate new terms?
  • Are you on top of your invoicing? Follow up any outstanding payments and complete any new job quotes.

2. Employees

Everyone has been affected by COVID-19, either financially or personally. It is therefore important to take a softly-softly approach with your staff. Show patience and kindness. Take an interest in their personal situations – this may just mean that they will put in that extra bit of effort for you.

Let them know what the next steps for the business are going to be, As always, they will be key to your success in the future so treat them like adults.

Things to consider:

  • Will your employees have challenges that may restrict them from returning to work?
  • Is there an opportunity to contact others who have been let go by their employers? On the flip side, do you need to help some of your staff find work elsewhere if your order book has reduced?
  • Is this a chance to review your team? Some may be showing clear leadership potential during this crisis whilst others have become more unreliable. What does this mean for your future staffing?

3. Health and Safety

It is imperative that you operate your business within the Government guidelines, as these fluctuate in the coming months. The health and safety of your employees and clients should be at the forefront of your thinking as lockdown changes, and you must clearly demonstrate leadership.

Be clear how the Government requirements apply to your operating environment. Importantly, communicate to staff why it is important to abide by these

Things to consider:

  • Do you need to source PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for you employees to make their environment safe?
  • What hygiene measures do you have in place, such as hand sanitiser?
  • Is it feasible to maintain social distancing? If not, what measures are you putting in place to mitigate this? Working from home, for example, is clear mitigation.
  • If staff don’t feel safe coming back to work, what are your contingency arrangements?
  • Do you need to create a risk plan that shows how you plan to keep customers and staff safe? If you put this on your website, this will give all stakeholders confidence that you have Health and Safety front and centre.

4. Customers

When you pick up the baton with customers again, be conscious that they will also have found the lockdown a challenge.

If you haven’t already done so, let them know that you are ready and prepared to get going. Be sure to inform them that you will be following Health and Safety guidance. This will give them confidence in your preparedness.

Things to consider:

  • Is there now an opportunity to review your client base?
  • Are there options to diversify your client base or even your market more generally?

5. New Thinking

Big changes have occurred for many businesses as a result of COVID-19. Do you just return to exactly as before? Or is now the time for new thinking?

The best thing to do would be to keep an open mind. Take your time to think where new opportunities might arise.

Things to consider:

  • Should you continue to update your processes?
  • What new technology might help your business going forward? Zoom etc.
  • How do you keep alive the team camaraderie that was stimulated by those enforced meetings on Zoom?

Many people are facing the same challenges. So, be sure to keep in touch with your networks, mentors and coaches. Solutions may occur more readily from a collective thought process.

There are going to be long-term effects from the pandemic for many businesses. Some may need to close, for example. Even in these cases, in the long run, it may give rise to new and exciting innovation.

Being prepared as the lockdown winds down will be essential to remaining positive and identifying new opportunities. You may also be able to ditch what did not work well before. If you view it as a new start, this positive thinking will help you to confront the challenge ahead.

Please contact me if you feel that you could benefit from reviewing how you are going to tackle the opportunities and threats that face us all.