It’s clear we are on the front end of a very bad crisis and during times like this, I can’t help but keep in mind how true the old saying is – “Your health is your wealth”.
Even though that’s a very true statement, those of us who are small business owners are taking it on the chin as just about every corner of the world is shutting down in order to overcome the crisis at hand.
While most of our clients have cut waaaaay back on their need for our services and products, we can still take advantage of the lull in our normal work routine by reassessing our business model, conducting training, reassessing client wants and needs, or just plain trying to do more with less.
For example, this is a perfect time to rethink your business plan. Many small businesses have had to lay employees off and with the loss of employees normally comes the loss of productivity and revenue.
For instance, here at Ridgeback, we’ve decided to treat this crisis as an operational pause (that’s what we called it in the military). An operational pause is when you take a break to reassess the situation in order to adjust your plan and/or refit the unit.
So, how can you and your business maximize this “operational pause”? Well, lets look at just a couple of ways.
This is probably a good time to assess your business’ resiliency. In other words, what’s the status of your company finances, cash flow, liquidity, employees, business operations, etc. so you can weather the storm. By conducting a review of the current situation, you can quickly identify problem areas and then address those areas before they can seriously harm your business.
Your guide should be your COOP Plan (Continuity of Operations Plan) and if you don’t have one already on place, then you’ll need to segment your plan into three phases. We call it Assess, Decide, Act.
A. Phase 1 – Assessment – Quickly identify the impact the virus and government orders are having on your business. Don’t just focus inward on your business, but also look outward to see how the situation is impacting your customers.
For example, you might be greatly impacted by the loss of cash flow and had to lay off some or all your employees, or perhaps, your supply chain might be badly impacted, or your customers don’t know how to access your product or service with your offices being closed. Whatever the problem, identify and begin putting the pieces of the puzzle together by building three possible Courses of Action (CoA) to properly address the situation. Each CoA should be different than the others and in the end you might end up picking none of them. However, by going through this process, you’ll be able to quickly assess the situation, identify constraints, restraints and even start thinking of potential solutions.
When reviewing each CoA, you’ll need to identify the resources you have available, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each CoA. Only by conducting a thorough analysis can you build true situational awareness.
B. Phase 2 – Decide – Now is NOT the time to lack decisiveness, but its also not the time to make major decisions off your “gut feeling”. Now is the time to decide on a direction based upon what’s learned in Phase 1 – Assessment. A good decision can only be made off a sound assessment of the situation. The faster you’re able to go through this process, the bigger the jump you’ll have on your competitors and come roaring out of the gates once this situation starts to get back to normal. Once you make your decision, have your staff build a rapid action plan based off the CoA (or combination of CoA’s) you chose. Don’t go for the 100% solution in your plan. Once you get your business moving again, the environment will change and you’ll need to adjust, but at least you’ll already be running again.
C. Phase 3 – Act – This is the action phase. This is where you’ll actually begin to get going again. Even if you had to layoff your employees, you can still outsource many of your requirements to a third party who can help you get back in the game quickly. Here at Ridgeback, we specialize in being a strategic partner with companies of all sizes and can fill the employee void – many times at 50 to 60 % of your employee cost.
Here at Ridgeback, we believe in the power of both the plan and the process.
For example, John Wooden’s success as UCLA’s Basketball coach didn’t just happen. He had a proven process that he followed which resulted in ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including a record seven championships in a row. Absolutely unheard of.
Contact us if you need help getting through this crisis. Who know’s, if you do this right, you just might come out better after the crisis than where your business was before it.
Phone: (646) 883-2927