Q: What can I do now to support my business through the Covid-19 crisis?
A: Although our industry is no stranger to turbulence, the scale of the disruption we are experiencing now is like nothing we have seen before.
If you are one of the lucky businesses that is flexible enough to be able to transition easily, that is great.
But the reality is many companies have had to make wide-scale changes on the hoof and adapt as best they can as they go along.
The businesses that are most likely to ride this crisis out successfully are those that prioritise forward planning and can quickly and easily adapt.
There are future scenarios we should all be planning for. But for now, there are things you can do to get yourself in a position to make the ride a bit smoother for your business and your customers.
Here are a few things to think about:
• Be a great communicator. From your customers to your suppliers, effective communication will make the situation a whole lot easier.
Make communication a central part of the planning process so you are not making decisions that affect your stakeholders without informing them in the best way possible.
Not only will you need to think about your messages and tone, but also your channels, now that most people are isolating and working from home.
Getting ahead of problems, like heading off frequently asked questions on your website and monitoring suppliers, can reduce the impact on your business and your staff.
• Look after your employees. You are likely going to be asking a lot from your staff over the next few months.
Engaged employees are much more likely to remain productive and motivated and help you maintain a positive brand image in times of crisis.
Nurture their loyalty by making sure they feel valued, looked after and supported now.
• Protect your culture. Your employees are probably working very differently compared to a few weeks ago.
This has the potential to destroy a healthy culture if you do not protect it.
Think about how your culture manifests itself in the behaviours of your employees and the eventual outcomes to your customers.
What drivers do you have in place to encourage and prevent certain behaviours?
Consider how you can replicate these in this new working environment and what the new barriers are to ensuring good outcomes to customers.
• Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Keeping the parts of your business going that are essential for serving customers should be your main concern.
Spend some time now reassessing and prioritising your key business activities and operations.
You will need to have contingency plans in place in case your key people are off sick.
• Test your cyber security. Cyber crime is surging as criminals take advantage of the emotional confusion around the pandemic.