At the moment we are all experiencing a new reality and it is something that everyone is adapting to at their own pace. As businesses and individuals all we can do is our best and last week I attended a Crisis Management Webinar, chaired by interim CEO Nigel Lambe of Sussex Innovation Centre. You can view a recording here.
The panel featured, Peter Davies, founder and CEO at Airline Management Group, Gary Fee, international finance director at Bright Horizons and Tim Cobb, founder and managing director at Cobb PR. The panel took it in turns to share their experiences of major turnarounds, restructurings and crises during their careers and also how they are dealing with the current Covid-19 crisis.
Listening to the panel gave me great comfort in realising that as a company we are already taking a number of initiatives to ensure that our team, clients and business work through the next weeks and months as efficiently and effectively as possible.
I thought I would list my key takeaways as it may help alleviate any issues that other businesses or individuals are currently facing;
- A clear focus to all your communications is essential – both internally and externally.
- Managing emotions is now more important than ever and as a leader of your business you need to have a level of confidence and ensure that you are constantly communicating your plan and end goal.
- You need to understand the impact on your clients and customers and what you can do to help with any of these issues.
- Cash should now be your top priority – you need to be monitoring cash on a daily basis and looking at what you can flex or immediately remove from your overhead costs.
- Chris Morey recently published an article titled ‘Does my business have enough cash‘ highlighting the importance of the cash flow forecast.
- What is driving your business growth? – look at this in the context of past, present and future.
- Map out your critical path – how are you going to respond at different stages and how quickly can you respond to ensure it has the desired effect.
- In respect of communications try and keep slightly ahead of the curve – where possible. You should be the first to communicate guidance, information and announcements to your clients and customers.
- Give your team a level of confidence by using positive terminology in your letters, emails and videos. Your words should give them focus and maintain a feeling of ‘we are in this together’. You should always be honest and regularly keep them updated.
- Client and customer demand could increase in a crisis and you need to hold off from giving in to individual responses – provide clear and concise guidance to all.
- When looking at the changes needed within your business try and keep it simple, be as agile as possible, just in case further changes need to be made down the line.
- Remember this affects everyone – look at all your options in a considered manner and discuss with your peers, where appropriate.
- Use the Schemes and Grants available to you – they are there to be used and the reason for the introduction of ‘furlough’ is to ultimately avoid redundancies and business failure.
- Make sure you understand how your whole team is feeling and coping, whether working from home, in the office or on furlough.
- As a business, the main aim is to come out of the crisis the other side and you therefore need to behave for the long-term and this involves continuing to manage your debtor book, with a higher level of delicacy in some conversations.
- Acts of generosity will be remembered – so always be respectful and honest in your communications.
All the above must follow the first action, which is, order of priority. This can only be determined by you, you know your business and what can be sensibly achieved. Only then can you start on the rest of your agenda and remember to keep your eyes open for new and exciting opportunities.
Author: Victoria King, Marketing Manager
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