Black swans are rare unexpected events that impact global activity. While the coronavirus continues to demonstrate that it is the “Black Swan of 2020”, it is imperative to remember that – when the dust settles – the companies that will prevail were the ones that made timely and accurate decisions.
Lori Ell, TEC Canada CEO and KEY Executive Chair, recently provided thoughts to consider during this challenging time. In addition to these tips, Lori emphasizes that it’s important to slow down, think and take action.In the wake of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, here are some business tips that you may want to consider when making decisions:
- CASH IS KING– Take a look at all the elements that are driving your cash flow. You can develop a business model that will allow you to run “What if” scenarios, or you can create a simple cash flow statement with cash in and cash out requirements. It is essential not to guess or hide; as both can be deadly. Analyze your cash position, adjusting it for different scenarios, and then use it to create action.
- GOAL: Each day, consider one thing that should be your companies’ top priority. Then, write it down and communicate it to your entire company. Shared goals help us move forward and allows us to feel connected to a purpose. A morning huddle with your employees is an important communication technique that will help set the tone for the day.
- DEBT– Do you need a short-term loan to get you through? BDC and other banks are offering short term loans to small businesses with short waiting periods. Also, many allow for early repayment without penalties. It is better to get this in place now than to wait until you need it.
- LABOUR– You may lose staff due to self-quarantine and or sickness. There are EI and government assistance programs in place for those who can’t work. Now is the time to strategize about how you could potentially run your company with up to 30% fewer employees. Set up teams now to discuss how to do this and still serve your customers’ needs. Being proactive will allow your staff to control their activities rather than to try to do the same with fewer people. Trying to do the same with less will lead to mistakes and will overwork stress your employees.
- EFFICIENCIES– For many of you, you may need to reduce your workforce due to a lack of work. If you have the cash flow to support all or some of your employees, get them working on internal projects. There may be systems that should be documented, processes that need to be improved, education, or elimination of redundancies. Create process improvement teams, and let them develop metrics for success and calculate cash saved. Investing some of your money in these efforts might result in overall cash savings that not only keeps some employees employed but will allow you to create a more robust company for the future.
- RETOOL – Can you focus on one aspect of your business that could be further developed during this time to meet your customers’ needs or bring in new customers? Some restaurants are offering curbside pickups, car dealerships are offering more detailing or repair services, and some professionals are providing online tutoring. Do you have a core competency that can be used in a different way or for a different purpose? Now is the time to think about retooling.
- GIVE– Bring your senior team together to look at how you may be of service to your community – then give while expecting nothing in return. These are challenging times, but we are all facing them together.
- CALM– Be concise and clear in your communications to your employees. Speculation and conjecture can lead to anxiety and fear. Remember, your role is to empower your people.
While the unexpected events of COVID-19 continue to change the business landscape, we encourage everyone to remember the power of connection. Please consider sharing the resources below to a fellow business owner during these unprecedented times: