Covid-19 has caused many people to rethink their business model. There’s a lot to consider, starting with when and how you’re going to reboot your business. Chances are remote working from home has become the norm for many of your team, as it has for me. So now’s the time to consider if, and when, to return – safely – to your premises.
Rethinking your business model is likely to include a change to working patterns for you and your team. Will you include a blend of full and part-time working? Can you furlough staff for some days, but not others? How will you implement social distancing for any in-house employees to prioritise safety without greatly reducing your bottom-line?
Government guidance means that, for most of us, we now have an expectation of when we can open for business again or return to premises, if we haven’t already. Putting plans in place now, with financial support, will help you get back on track quickly.
Forecasting in times of change
Business has never been more challenging or uncertain. Yet if your forecasts are thorough and well-managed, you’ll be in a stronger position to handle change.
Have you run different scenarios to get an idea of what will work financially in different circumstances? There are many things to consider, such your staffing: what are your salary costs for different working weeks if you reduce team hours, and is there funding to support you?
Cost management is essential to get things back on track. Consider what will happen if sales don’t pick up straightaway. Can you off-set this by cutting any fixed costs? Knowing your true variable costs and how they’ll be impacted by change will help you rethink and rebuild in the right way for your business.
Assessing risk in a new environment
It’s inevitable that there are new risks to consider in your business. So it makes sense to revisit your risk management system and check it’s thorough and relevant to the new climate.
Firstly, did you create an effective system that’s worked for your business during the Covid-19 crisis? If not, it’s crucial to assess where the problems were to better mitigate future risk. Consider what contingencies you can put in place should things change or not work out as you’d hoped. A good risk management system looks at risk mitigation where prevention is the first choice, then reduction of risk and insurance after that.
Assessing risk based on a combination of likelihood, severity and cost, and making it an essential part of your business continuity plan makes sure you’re reviewing processes, managing costs and understanding the impact of staffing changes to business growth, alongside other key issues that influence your success.
Setting up systems for success
Having the right financial systems in place makes managing change easier and provides greater peace of mind.
There are some great cloud-based systems, with apps that link to your accounting system, which give you instant financial visibility. Now more than ever, online access is key and you’ll need a clear overview of your online sales, profits and losses.
Of course, for these systems to work, they must be efficient, so assess them as part of your business continuity plan. A strong plan will consider every factor that affects your business, including your personal resilience and asset management, organisational structure and working patterns, customer retention and supplier relationships and, of course, your business’ finances. Naturally, your response to Covid-19 must be included too.
I’ve been supporting clients to create and update business continuity plans that work in the current crisis, and don’t neglect their wellbeing and the values on which they built their business. If you’d like to chat through your thoughts, I’d be happy to help.