No business has been untouched by the current coronavirus outbreak and subsequent ‘lockdown’. Whether you have seen a boom in trade as a delivery firm, a dramatic fall in revenue as a service company, or had to remodel your business to enable safe working for your teams, you will have been affected.
It would be trite to suggest we should simply look for the positives when the very existence of your business may be in the balance. However, there are questions you can ask yourself to help navigate through the next months.
- My team works effectively remotely, should I continue?
Whether you have been familiar with remote working, or it has been thrust upon you, this is an unprecedented implementation of technology, working practices, employee wellbeing and business relationships. Has your perception of your team’s effectiveness and what is acceptable been challenged? Or are you hankering to get everyone commuting back to the physical office so they are all together again? If you have found that the boundary of what works has moved, don’t be in a rush to change it back.
- How to I modify my services to create new opportunities?
Some businesses have seen a natural shift between physical and online operations and in some cases this current situation has merely accelerated what had been happening anyway. But for all businesses the necessity to pay next month’s salaries, notwithstanding the use of furloughing, has stimulated creative thinking. Whether you have converted client projects to online delivery, or you are running training classes via video and webinars, are they opportunities for continued future working?
- Clients are engaging in remote dialogue, how can I build on this?
Alongside concerns about team effectiveness and whether technology will work – most businesses are finding positive answers – many business leaders have shied away from remote working in the belief that clients won’t like it. Whether it is in business development, service delivery or ongoing client care we are proving that it is not all about face-to-face meetings and a handshake because as we are all impacted we are all reassessing what works – and that includes your clients.
- How might my business support the local community?
One of the uplifting aspects of the current situation is the response of business owners and their teams to those in need. Whether it is volunteering, such as the 750,000 people offering their time via GoodSam, diverting some business capacity to producing essential equipment, clothing or food, or making donations to charity (such as Henchards donating money we are saving to WSBH), can you find a way of making some element of this a permanent feature of your business?
- What business do I want to emerge over the next year?
We are going through a unique period and learning a lot about ourselves, our teams, our clients and the business world we operate in. It is appropriate to ask what you would want to retain from this experience as you continue to think about your longer term exit plan. At the moment survival may be the only question on your mind, but in doing so you will be making decisions that will affect the business that emerges post-crisis. Take some time to think it through. Is your aim to rebuild the business you had just two months’ ago (the same team, the same office, the same services and the same partners?), or can you see a different business that better meets your long term ambitions and exit aspirations?
For help and support in thinking through and reaching answers to these exit questions please get in touch.