HANDLING YOUR BUSINESS DURING OR AFTER A CRISIS

By Janet Johnson-Hutton of Peak Unlimited 

 February 22, 2020

"In life, as well as in business, we have two choices: to adapt or be left behind. Which one will you choose?"

 

In just the first quarter of 2020, the world is facing a catastrophe, Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). This disease has affected both, Developed and Developing Countries, and has continued to cause a shutdown of economies. All-the-while, the main cure is to keep those that are healthy safe, and those with the virus away from those without. Hence the need for social distancing.

 

With social distancing, the way many companies do business will have to change. Teleworking is strongly encouraged and now delivery services are one of the most important arms of business. Public gatherings are either non-existent or limited to a maximum of ten persons.

 

The uncertainty of what awaits us in the coming months has filled many of us with anxiety.

And, in fact, there are many who have already begun to experience economic hardships as this global health pandemic continues to unfold. Additionally, during these tough times, businesses will lose money. Some will even have to consider closing their doors permanently. Realistically, no matter where and who you are right now, this virus is a threat to each of us around the world. I implore you to use this time to start creating and reshaping the future of your businesses, and consider the following:

  1. Act now! Do not adopt a wait and see approach. Take bold decisions and adjust as you are provided with new information as it relates to your industry and or business.

  2. Do not under-react. Plan for the worse and create downside scenarios, even while expecting positive outcomes.

  3. Put your business processes to work. Get feedback from your team, connections, associates etc. and evaluate your business' response to the current situation.

  4. Review all financial commitments. This pandemic has shown that it will be not be business as usual.

  5. Start implementing cost cutting and/or cost effective measures. Nothing is too small once it saves money, and during these times, businesses need to conserve cash reserves. Ensure that these cost savings are not detrimental to your business.

  6. Revise all projections and do a SWOT Analysis. Identify and tighten up all your weak links.

  7. Invest more in your employees and best practices as a customer-focused approach will be vital after this critical period.

  8. Talk to your financial institution. Apply for grants, loans, tax breaks and or assistance to ensure that you have additional funds to pay employees, cover and recoup loss revenue.

  9. Be in the know. Ensure that you have your finger on the pulse.

  10. Examine and document lessons learned to ensure in the future that your business will survival if and when another uncertainty occurs.

We have handled crises before - natural disasters, financial recessions and terrorist attacks. The only difference is that we had a timeline of when we can start rebuilding. With COVID -19, although the President is optimistic of having the country open within the next two weeks, other countries have estimated it will take between three to six months. As a Productivity Strategist and Business Trainer, COVID- 19 has also affected my businesses.

 

For example, my upcoming Positive Disruption: Challenging the Status Quo Leadership Conference will be held in a different way than originally planned, and we are adapting to the circumstances. We are going virtual and will host this year's leadership conference (which is adeptly themed Positive Disruption) in a webinar format.

Businesses are closed, and therefore, many aspects of my business including productivity audits, training and corporate engagements are at a standstill. The reality is, as Business Owners, we need to focus on what we can control and accept that some things we will be unable to control. Personally, I have taken the time to do things that I have put aside, to include: finishing the business processes audit workbook, planning the long awaited spiritual retreat, taking a few courses that many Ivy League Universities are offering for free, and making connections on social media. How are you spending your time?Businesses who pay employee the mandatory sick and childcare leave according to the new law will get completely reimbursed through a payroll tax credit.     

Check on your fellow business colleagues, associates, family, friends and competitors as we are all going through this together. During every crisis there is an opportunity for those who are able to see it. Stay focused on your goals, personal and professional, and continue to grow your businesses because this too shall pass. 

 

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