Small business Coronavirus survival guide

Coronavirus has taken over the world and the number of infections and deaths are increasing by the day. Some businesses have been affected too, from staff working from home to complete shutdown or a shift in working hours. Ramaphosa is set to announce measure his government are likely to implement to help businesses. But while we wait for him to address us, what should small businesses be doing to survive these trying times?

Manage cash and liquidity: 

This is something businesses should be doing daily because cash is the lifeblood of any business. Cash flow is the number one reason why businesses fail. This is the reason why businesses should take care of its cash resources. Here a few tips, among other things, your business may need to consider during these times:

  • Pause any non-critical capital expenditures
  • If cash is not an issue, consider bringing forward asset enhancements especially those that help the business adapt to the new ways of doing business during these times.
  • Assess credit risk to existing and potential accounts receivables.
  • Maintain a safe level of cash balances and working capital at all times.
  • Secure or access financing options.
  • Talk to your bankers and ask them to grant you a payment holiday if they have not already done so.
  • Negotiate payment terms with suppliers.
  • Ask big business customers to pay early.
  • Recall your investments if you need to.
  • Avoid conducting business-as-usual under these moments of crisis.
  • Assess your spending and only spend on critical items. Cut down on non-essential items or items that can be avoided or postponed.
  • Conduct scenario planning in your cash flow model (what happens when things are good, bad, worse.)
  • Find ways of maintaining staff productivity even when they work from home.

Remote working:

Remote working has never been more appropriate. Social distancing has made it a necessity for businesses to ask their employees to work remotely. This comes with its challenges as most businesses were not used to this way of doing things. But, for this to work, businesses have to make sure they have the tools their staff need to make remote working a success. One of the most important things here is to make sure that everyone is connected and is in touch. They are various tools to make this happen such as Slack, WhatsApp, Google Meets, Hangouts, Zoom e.t.c. Also, businesses must educate their staff on ways to remain productive while waking from home.

The strategy, vision and direction of the business cannot die because its people are working remotely. Therefore, we cannot underestimate the need to continually communicate the strategy and goals of the business to the staff during this time. This can be done via established channels and platforms that enable remote working.

At the centre of business are the customers they serve. These cannot be neglected during this time. They will need to be informed of the decisions taken by the business that effects each of the business’ touchpoint with them. If and where possible, share vital information regarding coronavirus with your customers.

Team health and safety:

The most important assets of any business are the people that work for and in it. These have to be taken care of and care should be taken to make sure there are no infections at the work of place if remote working was not possible. Businesses can consider the following things as measures:

  • Adjust your cleaning protocols (increase cleaning frequency and disinfect surfaces more often)
  • Conduct health or temperature checks on staff as they enter the work of place
  • Communicate and emphasise personal hygiene
  • Ban face to face meetings until certain that it is safe to do so
  • Do not take unnecessary local and international travel. If possible, ban these completely.
  • Encourage remote working where possible. Where not possible, maintain safe distances between staff
  • For those working from home, ensure there is sufficient technology to make this a success
  • Any staff member showing signs or symptoms of this virus should be isolated immediately and should not be allowed to come to work
  • Introduce employee self-quarantine for those that have travelled or show signs of illness.
  • Ensure compliance with regulation and government pronouncements during this time.
  • Prepare for change, for example,  what will happen if coronavirus stays with us into the unforeseeable future.

Assess your strategic plan for 2020: 

If you did not have a plans, objectives and tactics for 2020, now is the time to design a strategic plan for your business. If you had one, revisit it to see if there are any adjustments that need to be made so that your business is able to respond to the covid-10 crisis and to survive beyond it.

Move your business online: 

Some businesses have resisted moving onto the cloud. They have always said, “we have always done things this way.” But, the current times have seen many businesses, even churches seeing the value of being on the cloud. Businesses do not have to wait for a move onto the cloud any longer. Now is the time for the changeover. Remember, technology is your ally, not your enemy.

Lead with purpose, clarity and integrity: 

Lastly, we urge you to find ways to support your affected employees, their families and communities that you serve. Do everything you can and however small because everything you do to help counts. Do not neglect to communicate and reinforce your vision, mission and purpose to your employees as well as highlighting the critical elements of your business’ value to customers.  Remember, no one cares about what you know or sell until they know how much you care.

 

What to do next?  

Does your business need help to navigate through the pandemic and to move over to the cloud? Give us a call.

 

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