Most business owners have experienced the impact of Covid-19. We provide an outline of key matters to consider, current learnings from this pandemic and issues you may wish to take action moving forward:-
1. Know Your Numbers
Now more than ever its vital that you know the relevant numbers that makes your business tick. Know your financial trading performance, how business is going now and what the financial projections are forecasting. It’s not just about profitability, cashflow is critical in these times. Other important considerations to understand are breakeven sales position, labour costs and pricing.
2. Leaders Make That Decision
During this climate positivity and proactivity are essential. Panic and negativity will only breed uncertainty. Your attitude and mindset will influence the rest of the team and customers. Decisions need to be made, uncertainty can lead to confusion, making a decision provides certainty. You can only control the controllable so if a decision needs to be made for change, make that decision.
3. Communicate Regularly
Regular and consistent communication with your team will not only keep them informed but also may provide more calm and understanding, and a sense of reassurance. This also applies to customers and suppliers. The style of communication is also important, be authentic and honest in your messaging, people will become more engaged if they can relate. Frequency and form also need thought, how often do I communicate, and by electronic means, face to face, or by phone? Think about who you are communicating with and how they would want to receive your contact.
4. Who is Looking After You?
During theses times it is easy to focus on, and look after everyone else, but it is more important to look after yourself. It is not being selfish, quite frankly without your own health, you cannot support or take care of others. Make time to do those things that help you, slow the mind and remain focussed, yet calm. Your health is essential – physical, mental and emotional.
5. The Cream will Rise to the Top
In times of adversity some staff will stand tall, others may go “missing”. There may be genuine reasons for this and employers need to be mindful of one’s mental wellbeing. Many business owners are expressing their gratitude for those staff members who are performing well above expectation. This may be displayed by working additional hours, providing increased support to their peers and the business, and generally putting in extra effort. It is important to recognise and reward the star performers whilst also addressing those whom you may have concerns.
This is also an opportune time to review your team structure and roles and responsibilities. Opportunities to improve efficiencies have normally included enhancing workflow planning, labour productivity and improving team culture, in addition we are now seeing initiatives involving varied hours of work, on line meetings, and working from home.
6. Deal with Who You Want To
Businesses who deal with quality customers are likely to come through challenging times much stronger. When was the last time you reviewed your customer list and culled those who didn’t meet your expectations? Target customers normally have similar values, adhere to payment terms, share a mutually rewarding and enjoyable relationship, and will support and contribute to the growth in your business.
Now is the time to reposition your target customer profile, where necessary. This will provide clarity to your staff, refinement for your marketing and ensure general enjoyment of doing what you do with those you really want to.
7. Enjoy What You Do
It’s not just working with those you wish to, but also providing the services or products that you want to. What do you enjoy doing? Think back to when you started the business, the passion that you had, delivering what you did. Businesses expand through increased services, product offerings and evolving innovations but it is important to continue to deliver these passionately. You should also regularly assess the profitability of products sold and services delivered, the financial viability may assist refining the future offerings.
8. Target Your Marketing
Defining your products and services and to those who you wish to deliver, will culminate into what should form the basis of your marketing strategy. In tough times it is essential to continue to market. You may need to modify your approach and cater your messaging to address peoples desires or needs in these times. Once your strategy has been developed and implemented, monitor your leads and identify where the opportunities are coming from. Consider how to improve these and set targets for increases. Conversion rate is also a measurement that needs attention, how do we make it easier for leads to become customers?
9. Trim the Fat
It’s ironic that we start reviewing our expenses when conditions become a bit tougher. It is good business practice to continually appraise business costs to ensure we are receiving benefit that outweighs the cost. Major costs normally include wages, rent and marketing, These costs also create opportunities to allow growth in businesses so you could argue these costs are an investment in the business rather than a fixed cost. Strategically these should form part of any business plan. Other overhead expenses should also be reviewed to ensure efficiency. As they say, “every cent counts” so it is wise to review costs, can you get a better deal on that utility bill or gain more value from a service provider?
10. Know Your Numbers
No you are not seeing double! We started out with “understand your numbers”, which is vitally important focussing on what you need to understand to make your business tick, financially. Knowing your numbers refers to being regularly aware of your trading performance, how often should you monitor performance and the need to be proactive in making necessary changes regularly. Monitoring of cashflow in these times is critical, as is assessing actual profitability on a monthly basis against that forecast. The review of such actual to forecast, and against last year’s results, provides an opportunity for analysis, re-forecasting and development of future strategies.
We hope the above provides you with matters for further consideration. It may give you reassurance or it may create opportunity. If we can be of any assistance in helping you and your business with these measures, please be in contact.