What’s it like to run a business and work in the world of the unknown? That’s what we’re doing right now. There’s no script, no instruction books, nothing in the modern age to refer back to as you manage a business through the pandemic. A level of uncertainly persists, resulting in a strategy centered on hope – hope that it will all soon come to an end.
For many people, managing employee reductions, getting federal aid and managing through the bureaucratic mazes of the SBA and their bank has been a distraction from planning for and answering questions of what comes next.
We’re wishing within the next month or so things will return to some sense of normal. Maybe they will, probably they won’t.
So now that the shock and surprise of this pandemic has passed, you need to ask yourself, but better yet, answer some questions.
Questions such as:
• Did you act quickly enough?
• If your business is considered “nonessential,” what would you do differently next time if you’re required to close again within 3-6 months?
• Are you in touch with the revenue and profit drivers of your industry and have you identified a leading indicator that gives you ongoing, critical insights into developing trends early? What leading indicator would give you insight as to what will happen to your revenue streams within the next 45 days?
• What do you want your business to look like 3 years from now? 7 years from now?
• How do you manage employee health and safety once they come back to work? Restrooms? Common areas? What’s the protocol to handle employee concerns and complaints?
• What if your employees refuse to come to the office but insist on working from home?
• When you reopen, what will be the revenue curve and over how long?
• Will you be your customers’ first choice for the product or service you provide?
• What do you do if you can’t cover your fixed costs for the next 6 months?
• Have you reviewed and updated, if necessary, your all-risk business property insurance and associated business interruption coverage? What about your trade credit, workers comp and general liability limits and exclusions, including the requirements for physical damage?
• If you’re in brick and mortar, do you go into the delivery business or contract with others to provide your products to customers who won’t come into stores? What are the impacts on your brand with either decision?
• If you’re located in a mall, what’s the expected visitation rate and mall contingency plans if an outbreak recurs?
The military teaches its officers that there will always be unforeseen events regardless of the situation and plan. Search them out. Do everything you can not to be surprised. Anticipate the unexpected.
The reality is we were caught flat-footed. How do you make sure not to let that happen again?
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