If the coronavirus affects you, family, friends or employees, there is nothing more important than recovery.
Coronavirus has halted social activity and commerce around the globe, fast. It is time to plan for the possibility that social activity and commerce will resume fast. Why?
In China, coronavirus patients are recovering and resuming their lives. Temporary hospitals are closing because they are no longer needed. Cargo flights between China and other Asian nations are accelerating. The significance of that activity is that freight companies are usually the first to experience changes in the economy. Freight is a broad economic indicator.
While large events and much travel throughout North America and Europe remain restricted or closed, you are acutely aware of the ripple effects on your business…and you personally.
Whoever re-opens first wins big.
At some point, this panic will end. Operationally excellent businesses have plans in place and are ready for that, if they even stopped operating in the first place. If you need improvement operationally, create a plan . Develop the necessary systems that will create a machine that runs well and generates revenue even in your absence.
As coronavirus runs its course, expect pent-up demand as patience grows thin with closures, cancellations, scarcity, and financial anxiety. If you are a local business offering something widely needed and you are the first to re-open even by only a few hours, the benefits can be huge. These benefits come in the form of positive news coverage or social media buzz, and long lines at the cash register.
- Take cues from airlines, cruise ship companies, and operators of large events. Activity in transports is a leading indicator of economic activity, and leisure travel and events are current indicators. They have great pressure to resume profitability as you do, due to large payrolls and high levels of debt. These are complex businesses that require superior operational talent and systems. They have experts on the job, looking for any workable way to resume business quickly. Study these industries now, and signs of recovery there are good signs for the rest of the economy.
- Do everything possible to have employees return to work on very short notice. If you had to make layoffs, hopefully you treated them well so they are willing to come back. If you do not have a human resources (HR) system in place to onboard people quickly, get one now. If you still have employees, have them ready to re-open in two hours’ notice. Stay in touch with your team and give them as much notice as possible regarding anticipated changes. Make this a top operational and HR priority. Unless they are sick or caring for someone who is, accept no excuses for not showing up.
- Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. Institutions and businesses cancelled events, resulting in a ripple effect of financial loss, layoffs, and cancelled purchases. This affected restaurants, hotels, and all of their employees and suppliers, and employees of suppliers. If your business relied on them as steady suppliers, customers, or partners, you now know how fast that business can be gone. Diversify your customers and suppliers. Explore other markets and sources. While coronavirus has presented adversity, some businesses have done well as a result. Have you found ways to reposition your business in response?
- Purchase little-known but useful business insurance. You can purchase insurance to cover business interruption, loss of key people, errors and omissions, loss of inventory or property, and an endless number of situations involving loss. Get quotes!
- Update your sources of credit. The time for your business to get lines of credit and credit cards is when you are doing well. Use them during times of emergency or business interruption in case you must wait for disaster relief or waiting for payment on an insurance claim. The Paycheck Protection Program is also available and you can check your options quickly here, without a credit pull.
- Take advantage of breaks, incentives and opportunities unique to coronavirus. Governments around the world are throwing everything possible at the problem. You may qualify for low-interest or forgivable stimulus loans. You can get student debt and other debt payments suspended. Tax deadlines have suddenly become flexible. And thanks to a petroleum price war, you get a major break in fuel cost. If you can stock up on it, do it. HOW can you capitalize now?
So be an entrepreneur and position your business to thrive and bounce back. Don’t price-gouge. If you price-gouge, you risk prosecution and well-deserved scorn, so please don’t. Otherwise, coronavirus and its aftermath present huge challenges, but also great rewards for businesses that answer them.
For questions, contact us anytime.