Making the Right Personal Decisions Now to Ensure Your Business Continuity After the Crisis
The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a blow to the global economy. Throughout the world the organizational managements are perturbed regarding the crisis and the worldwide economic shutdown. Even though these concerns are understandable, it must be understood that every economic downturn has its silver linings and thus presents opportunities to grow. The actual challenge, therefore, is making it through these harsh times and overcoming it in such a way that one can still be empowered when “normalcy” begins.
The general outcome depends on the decisions that you shall make now.
At the beginning, the foremost equation to solve is to determine your cash reserves and ensure that you have enough to maintain your business. After that, as you’re anticipating ways and means of keeping your business afloat and breaking even, maybe even making small profits, you have to make decisions about your staff. This aspect encompasses the strategic moves that shall determine your business continuity. You may have redevise your business as one of the decisions that are listed below:
1. Reassign and Repurpose
Once you’ve determined that you have enough cash reserves to maintain business continuity and staying afloat through the pandemic period, you must determine how you could utilize your resources (business setup, products / services, staff) up ahead. What alternative products / services could you offer for public benefit during this pandemic period? This is strategically indicative as it opens your eyes and vision to possible productive enhancements by your staff who may be trying to work hard and give your business the best push it deserves after a long gap.
You can start by examining present requirements of the society or your area, and you can accordingly align your business’s goal to your management team. For example, various large apparel industry giants throughout the world are making face-masks to meet the future demands, and a number of whisky distilleries in Europe and the US are making hand sanitisers for the use and safety of the public.
Another way in which you can repurpose your business is borrowing or lending your workforce. If your business has closed due to the pandemic, with the possibility of your staff at risk of losing jobs or being without pay, maybe there are other businesses in the area who can use additional workforce temporarily. Delivery companies have allocated their workforce to deliver essential supplies beyond their usual merchandise in order to help fight the pandemic. Do some introspection before you want to make this or a similar move, assess your motivation behind these moves and take a decision.
2. Constant Engagement
Engagement is an indispensable and strategically important part of business consolidation and expansion. A major aspect of your business getting through the survival phase is reaching out to your employees immediately and intermittently and ensuring clear and active communication for all things, big and small. Make sure that focus of your regular communique should be the well-being of your employees while they’re working for you on a forced lockdown phase and simultaneously home-schooling their kids.
The management of your business post-lockdown depends on what your business is. Businesses like food delivery, grocery, software development, etc. have been running constantly even though they’re more or less affected, whereas the travel, tourism and hospitality industry has been on the pause button for a long time. Many industries have experienced a significant slowdown but they’re still functioning. If you’re running any one out of those business or something that’s even remotely related, please ensure consistent communications tailored to each group and division in your organization.
As the CEO or someone who’s running the show amidst the lockdown in his stead, check in with your management on the situation of the employees, issues faced by the staff or management, future directions, etc. Ensure that the management escalates and shares longstanding employee issues with you, and that you are aware of the same. Make sure that your actions or decisions on any issues are disseminated and known to your employees. Your actions and communication should be very specific and particular, and not general or simplistic, about problems faced and future courses of action. This shall help maintain your credibility to lead through the crisis caused by the pandemic.
3. Learning and encouraging learning
The learning curve must continue to grow steeper unabatedly and one must not stop deducing lessons and influences from it. Those that’ll come out high and mighty on the other side of the crisis later on, shall be the ones who have continued to be influenced from the daily lessons that their business has bestowed upon them. Even as we’re trying hard to keep ourselves safe and business-worthy at the same time, learning must not stop anytime during this crisis and shall segregate the ones that shall thrive after the pandemic gets over.
The business employees who’re lucky to still find themselves having a job, must constantly engage in cross-department learning. Because of the crisis, many of the teams are not able to dedicate their time and effort to their roles. The sales team, as they are no longer traveling, cannot sell as effectively as they used to before while traveling and meeting clients in-person. The extra hours a week that they have now should be utilized to communicate with their supporting departments, like the customer service people. This can help them better understand their ideal customer profiles. Similarly, many such useful and interesting inter-department engagements can be furnished in an organization.
4. Letting People Go
As this unprecedented scenario has been especially harsh on the business, laying people off shall be one of the most likely outcomes of the crisis. As lockdowns and similar measures get drawn out and extended, you would have to consider this possibility in the coming months. Layoffs are tough and considered unethical, but facing up to this emotionally trying aspect is a part of your job as the business leader. Staying in business, even if given a minor boost by layoffs, must be your main concern. With your business gravely affected, if you do not make timely layoffs your company’s business standing could be at a risk, and maybe a few months down the line you might have to formally announce bankruptcy.
Ensure that you are fully aware of your company’s situation and well-versed with economics before you lay anyone off. Evaluate your business and its components with the help of your management team and decide what needs to stop and what needs to start. Make budget cuts, if any deem likely, accordingly.
However, if there’s no option but to lay people off, do not hesitate and start early. This shall be harsh on those you’re letting go and those that remain, so be humane and generous as much as possible. Reassure your remaining staff that this was the only viable option to stay afloat.
Before starting layoffs, however, make timely employee reviews. Furlough, and not layoff, if possible, and start layoffs with those who are not unwilling to make an early exit. In all cases, provide best benefits that you can.
The times of Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing crisis have been unprecedented in mankind’s history. It shall long be remembered in the future ahead. Many businesses up ahead shall have to be closed, and many new ones shall be formed. Try to be the best leader and communicator that you can be, notwithstanding your business continuity challenges. Be honest, open, and courageous enough to reset your business guidelines and you will thrive up in the times ahead.