Navigating Through Challenging Times
[Terry Parrish, CEO | April 1, 2020]
The COVID-19 global pandemic is everywhere. You can’t turn on the news, open your phone, or check social media without seeing something. The stories are bleak, and the policy changes and restrictions don’t seem likely to end soon. Many small businesses are closing up shop or trying to find ways to adjust their business model. They want keep people employed and serve their customers. aa small business remain operational during a crisis such as this? In my opinion, there are a couple of things you can do to weather the storm and come out on the other side with your business intact.
With all the information available it can be hard to know what the next steps should be. How does a small business remain operational during a crisis such as this? In my opinion, there are a couple of things you can do to weather the storm and come out on the other side with your business intact.
Small businesses need to take care of their people. Many employees are fearful of
losing their income and tensions are high. As business owners, it is our job to stay calm and ensure that employees and clients know that we are here for them. Communicate with your people. Do it daily if needed. Let them know what’s going on and what your plan for the business is. Let them know when things change or need to shift. Let your customers know if you expect service interruptions. The truth is, a company’s greatest assets are its people. Without them we wouldn’t have anything. You need to find ways to support your people and your community. As a business owner, this may mean significant changes. It could be that you allow employees to work from home. You may want to change or bolster your sick pay policy. This will encourage those who are ill to stay home and prevent the spread of germs. You can cross-train employees to support critical job functions. In the event employees need an extended absence this functionality will be key. Provide resources on how employees can stay safe and minimize contact with others.
Business owners need to manage cash flow responsibly. It’s imperative that you get involved in the day-to-day operations. It allows you to identify opportunities to increase efficiency and decrease expenses. It will also help eliminate redundancies. Get your entire organization involved in finding ways to cut costs. Remember, a healthy cash flow is the key to a healthy company. Without it, nobody wins. It’s inevitable that many of us will face tough decisions in the days ahead. Staying on top of how your business is operating can help decrease the need for drastic measures.
It’s time to embrace the slow down. Verne Harnish, the author of Scaling Up explains why this can work. He states that “organizations have been running hard for years during this decade+ of unprecedented global expansion.” We can view this downturn as an opportunity to improve the experience we deliver. This goes for both the employee and the customer experience. Clean up processes and focus on how you can make things easier. Not only will it make employees and customers satisfied, it could lead to decreased costs as well. Harnish provides more information and advice for business owners here.