Not only has Covid-19 created serious implications for people’s health and healthcare services, but it is also having a huge impact on business and the economy. The fast pace of the outbreak means that the situation is continually evolving, making it difficult for businesses to plan ahead for the future in order to ensure their longevity.
Financial uncertainty for a business is understandingly very worrying, with many businesses having to put staff on furlough, and even halt operations altogether to stay afloat. In precarious times it can be hard to visualise the overall influence this crisis will have on your business, but speaking from experience, your business can weather this storm and come out of the other side stronger for it.
I have learnt a lot about surviving a crisis having steered online discount fashion retailer BrandAlley through the 2008 recession. Much like Covid-19, the impact of this event had a huge impact on economies and businesses across the world. To better insulate your business from any disruptive fallout, it is important to come up with your own crisis survival guide.
Anxiety is a normal reaction
A global pandemic is an anxiety-provoking situation that can impact your strategy and decision making. Business owners are used to being in control of all aspects of their company, so this sudden loss of control can be daunting. It is important to realise that the majority of business owners are experiencing anxiety at this time, so you are not alone.
One of the main difficulties with the current situation is the uncertainty of how long it will last, and how to to plan ahead for the future. If planning makes you feel more at ease, then try focusing more on the short-term, as part of your crisis survival guide i.e. plan week by week rather than months ahead. In doing so, it can put you a little more at ease, as well as allowing your business to react to new information about the virus and adapt accordingly.
It can be tempting to spend all your time thinking about the future of your business, but it also important to work on stress management techniques. Take time out for yourself and unwind, otherwise you may overwork yourself and see your judgement heavily clouded. Remember, the best business decisions are made with a clear and level-head.
Communication is vital
Take this time to go back to basics and focus on your customers. Continuing strong communication with your client-base indicates that throughout all this, they are still at the forefront of your mind, and you are still committed to providing a strong service to them.
Throughout my life in business, I have always been inspired by the quote “employers only handle money, its customers that pay the wages”. By focusing the majority of your time on retaining and slowly gaining new customers, you can work towards ensuring your business survives the coronavirus pandemic.
With this being said, make sure you are sensitive to the fact that your clients will also be feeling the consequences of coronavirus too. Discuss with your clients individually as o how your services can support them during the current situation. By tailoring your product to help clients/customers, you are more likely to retain them.
Communication with your team is also vital, as they will be feeling the same stresses as yourself. At such a difficult time, it is more important than ever to show your appreciation for your team, and show them that their hard work and commitment has not gone unnoticed. Whether remote working or not. by ensuring you maintain a strong team morale, you can ensure your staff stay motivated, therefore providing a great service for your customers.
There is still potential to grow
It may be hard to see it, but there is still potential for businesses to secure new profit creating opportunities. For example. the opportunity for online businesses has grown due to people being asked to self-isolate. Now many be the time to start or more heavily promote the e-commerce side of your business.
There is also opportunity for those that survive this crisis to become stronger and seize a larger share of their market. Those who persevere now through this tough time will reap the rewards when things go back to “business as usual”. Clients will also see the businesses that pull through this time as stronger for having survived, as it shows resilience and determination.
By looking back at previous occurrences that have left businesses uncertain about their financial future, it can help to remember that businesses have come out the other end of these recessions and have continued to be successful.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best
The reality is that some businesses may not survive this crisis. As a business, you should acknowledge this reality and prepare for the worst. By preparing for the very worst by making your own crisis survival guide, you can evaluate what might be best next move. Don’t dwell on the worst, just remind yourself that losing your business is not the end of the world, all business owners fail from time to time, but the greatest ones are those who don’t give up. See this time as a test of your business strength and acumen.