From a business perspective, there appears to be 3 distinct phases in this current COVID-19 related crisis, and we’re now heading towards phase 3:
Phase 1: Reaction
This phase started when it became clear that COVID-19 was a serious health issue and the Government announced the ‘lockdown’ and associated restrictions on businesses and the wider community. Overnight, businesses were forced to close, employees had to work from home and many companies were dealt an instant and potentially terminal blow. Orders were lost and spending was slashed as business leaders tried to make sense of the impact to their businesses.
Phase 2: Respond
As the initial storm cleared, the extent of the damage began to become apparent. Businesses began to take the steps to help their business survive: the Furlough process started, companies began to apply for the grants and loans being made available to them and they found new ways of working and communicating with employees, suppliers and customers.
Phase 3: Return to Work
We can only speculate as to exactly when and how, but the lifting of restrictions will begin in the coming weeks and the process will likely take months, at least. Businesses and people will start to ‘Return to Work’ but the business landscape will have changed immeasurably. We will have to find new ways of working and communicating; we will need to adapt to changing customer demands; business models may have to change drastically.
We have a short window of time to prepare for what is likely to be a vastly different ‘world’. Those that fail to plan and adapt will face unforeseen challenges and costly surprises. Now is the time to start to think about and plan how your business will emerge from this crisis. Below I have outlined the 7 steps every business needs to work through to ensure they are ready for this Phase.
Step 1: Adapt your business model
This could be a once in a life-time opportunity to re-design your business. Before you re-build think carefully; What type of business do you want? What problems will your customers want solved? And how can you solve them?
Step 2: Manage your cash-flow
Maximise your cash-flow: cut or reduce all unnecessary expenditure at this time; take advantage of grants and loans if you need them; look for creative ways to sell and generate income and sell with compassion.
Step 3: Build a ‘people’ plan
Your employees returning to work may be more challenging than you think. Are they ready, willing and able? What arrangements will you have to make in your workplace to provide for social-distancing requirements? Prepare a ‘work from home’ policy and a policy on what would happen if any of your employees become infected with COVID-19.
Step 4: Re-write your marketing
plan and keep marketing
Keep marketing otherwise you run the risk of becoming invisible. But change your message and be compassionate. What does your market want to hear and what do you want your message to say about you? You will have to adopt new channels, and digital will almost certainly have to play a bigger part. What new skills do you need to learn in the meantime? Whatever marketing you decide on, you will have to double your efforts and expertise.
Step 5: Strengthen your
existing relationships and build new relationships
During this crisis, many people have realised the importance of good relationships. Plan to strengthen relationships with your customers and prospects, with your employees, suppliers and partners. Think about the gaps in your relationships: plan the new relationships you need to cultivate.
Step 6: Write a customer service
Winning customers and keeping them will be even more challenging than before. Set new levels of expectation for your customers, work out what you need to do to go above and beyond those expectations.
Step 7: Write a 90-day plan
Write a plan for the next 90 days. Things are too uncertain and fluid to plan beyond that. Be clear about what you want to achieve 90 days from now and write down your plan and actions to reach it.
Contact ActionCOACH to find out more about 90-day planning and book yourself onto the next virtual 90-day planning workshop at [email protected]
This article was brought to you courtesy of ActionCOACH, UK’s leading coaching network. For more information please click here
Thank you to Action Coach Yiannis Yianni for providing the content.