How do we, as a business community, respond to the current state of affairs concerning the pandemic COVID-19 health threat, while protecting our businesses from the potential fallout? It is a question that is very relevant and all-consuming for business owners across our nation and the world. With so much invested and so much at risk, it is a challenge that is weighing heavily on the hearts, minds and souls of many business owners right now – and rightfully so. There are no easy answers, but there is a response. Our first line of defense is to avoid reacting to fear, and the potential for pandemonium, and choosing to respond instead to the facts.
We are all in this together:
Everyone will be impacted in some significant way. These are unprecedented times. And small business owners stand to be on the front lines of that impact with all of the uncertainty and stigma being fueled by our news and social media. In many ways the current world reaction is a sign of the times provoking unprecedented measures, that to many, appear excessive and even out of control. On the other hand, there is a very real threat to certain segments of the population as well as our health care systems. Regardless of whether the current government and health mandates are justified, the business community must respond to this reality in the most appropriate and rational way possible in order to mitigate the long-term impact and safeguard our best interests, including those of the people we have under our care.
Respond vs React:
Response #1: Prepare your business for worst-case scenarios. While this may seem reactive at first glance, your response as owner must be to protect the well-being of the organization and its people over time. Your business is the golden goose that likely provides for a lot of people, not the least of which is you, and your family. This may require some hard decisions in the short-term, but must be weighed against the alternatives.
First step; do a simple revenue and ‘gross profit to produce’ calculation and compare to your current overhead demands (use the Legacy GPScorecard cash flow calculator). From there you can quickly decide how much cash you have available and make some well-thought-out and rational decisions. Do we cut overhead now? Can we last a couple of months or more and avoid layoffs? These are not easy decisions but they must be addressed now if you are serious about dealing effectively with this very real threat.
Know your cash position at all times! Is there a line of credit you can tap without jeopardizing future financial health? For those facing a significant short-term need, the SBA is providing an “Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program”. Have a plan!
Response #2: Go forward boldly! It is imperative that business owners not be paralyzed by speculation and fear, but instead, stand firmly in their business communities as examples of strength, sources of wisdom and centers productivity, in spite of the circumstances. While the picture may not be as bleak as some would have us believe, the measures we take as business owners will certainly exemplify rational and stable thinking to those who think and behave like it is. We have the power show our communities that there is a positive way forward and provide much hope right now.
Response #3: Establish your COVID-19 business policies and share them with your team today. Everyone needs to know that you are completely cognizant of the threat and acknowledge the risks. Even more so, your people need to hear that you have their best interests at heart and are doing everything possible to protect their health and preserve their jobs. Best policies are simple common sense – stay clean and keep your distance.
Panic is fostered by fear, which comes from a lack of information (just watch the nightly news). Business owners must communicate daily with staff, to update and reassure them until the threat subsides. Additionally, safety checklists and policies must not only be emphasized verbally every day, they should be documented, posted and updated as things progress in the coming days and weeks.
Response #4: Communicate you COVID-19 policies to your customer base, clearly and confidently. The worst thing we can do right now is not talk about the situation. Much like with your staff, your customers need to know that you are sensitive to their needs and are doing something about it! Perception is reality.
If your customers sense indifference, those with a tendency to follow every social media post or news feed (and there are a significant number who will) will flee. They need to hear a voice of reason and rational thinking now more than ever. Why not be that voice? Business owners can play a huge part in leading the way back to some sense normal life, even today, in spite of things outside of our control. Let them know of your current policies for addressing the issue responsibly, as well as to serve them diligently and discretely!
Response #5: Look for new opportunities. There is always a silver lining when hard times hit. For builders that could mean new revenue sources from commercial or other work while business is slow or curtailed. And what about the potential for hiring key people displaced in the chaos?
Be proactive, creative and bold:
Bottom line, this is not our only business threat. We will get through this, eventually. And even though it will be costly, it need not be disastrous. Being proactive, creative and bold is what got us into business in the first place, and it will be what gets us through this and other crises to come. Stay encouraged, lead boldly and make critical, well-informed decisions today. You are the positive impact our communities need now and into the future!
If you need help, encouragement or support Legacy Business Leaders is here for you. Call anytime at 330.470.1300, or visit us on the web at www.Legacybizleaders.com. We would love to have the opportunity to be a part of your success story!
Wishing you the very best in life and business!
Legacy Business Leaders, LLC
Solutions for Business – Expect Results!