Ferris Bueller said it best – life comes at you fast. Feels like only last week I was buying last-minute items for a (much-needed) vacation. Now I’m buying last-minute canned goods and figuring out how to home-school my kids. Point is, we’ve all been blindsided by a fast-moving and fluid situation.
We don’t know how this will impact the economy overall, but it undoubtedly will. As business owners, it’s critical for us to consider this potential impact – and identify ways to mitigate it. I’ve been speaking with many clients and colleagues to discuss what we can do to navigate the current environment and wanted to share some of the ideas that came up.
FYI – I have also included a few links to other articles below where you can find additional information.
Mindset (Accept new reality and act accordingly)
- Act As If: We’re all hoping for a best-case scenario where this passes quickly and leaves us relatively unscathed. But don’t let hope cloud your judgment. It will benefit you more to act as if conditions will remain like this (or deteriorate) for the long-term. Yes, it’s depressing, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…
- Develop Contingency Plan: Do you have one? Have you considered what things will look like if this goes on for 30 or 60 days? Take some time to think about your business strategically and what needs to be in place for you to withstand anything other than that best-case scenario.
Finances (FYI these are opinions, none of this should be construed as financial advice)
- Access to Liquidity: If possible, now is a good time for allocating resources to allow for quick access to liquidity (credit lines, reserve funds, etc.). At the very least, it will help towards your peace of mind. Also, the federal government is offering various types of relief to small businesses, via proposed tax breaks, low/no interest loans, etc. You can find more information about the topic at the website for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Review Expenses: While this may seem obvious, I think it’s important for business owners not to cut everything as a knee-jerk reaction. It’s important to review your current expenses and determine whether cutting back in certain areas may be detrimental to your business in the long run.
- Look for Opportunities: With everyone scrambling to make sense of the situation, those who keep cool and make rational decisions will undoubtedly fare best. That includes being aware of potential opportunities or investments that could propel your business forward in this uncertain climate.
Operations (How to keep your business running with limited resources)
- Organize & Prioritize: Review your current workload to identify any backlogs or work items that have been overlooked. Use this time to catch up on those areas and prioritize other activities that will strengthen your business. Create a pipeline of future marketing content to deploy, work on developing more efficient processes or, most importantly, strengthen relationships and be a source of stability for your clients – they’ll remember you for it. Catching up on backlogged work can also help generate additional cash-flow to offset any potential disruptions.
- Bridge Productivity Gaps: With your office closed, employees sick or home caring for kids, productivity is going to take a hit. This limited capacity means you’ll have to find other ways to increase stalled productivity.
- Resources for Going Remote: One way to increase this limited capacity is for employees to work remotely. Online platforms like Zoom, Slack, Dropbox, etc., are a great way to communicate and collaborate with employees while working from home.
- Leverage Outsourcing: Even with those platforms, many employees still won’t be able to work full-time hours while at home. In these cases, it can be helpful to leverage outsourcing as a temporary solution. Many outsourcing services also offer online platforms so everything can be done virtually/remotely – making it a great option to keep your work flowing without interruption.
- Support Local Colleagues: While it sounds cliché, we are all in this together. There are a lot of people who are either facing layoffs or have already been laid off. While outsourcing helps from a productivity standpoint, it’s also a great way to provide work to local colleagues during a time of great uncertainty.
Again, these are just a few of the topics I’ve discussed recently with fellow business owners. There is no crystal ball to predict how all of this will turn out – but the more we share ideas and strategies – the more it will help all of us manage these difficult times.