L. E. C. O. R.

The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts many businesses. In a fast-changing situation, it’s important to have a plan in place. In discussion with my colleague, Dave Bryon, we came up with our five-step strategy.

Here are our five practical suggestions, providing a guide for your firm.

LEADERSHIP

Staff will look to you to for guidance and advice. Be a leader.

Many staff will be concerned about the health of their family and themselves as a priority. In such situations make sure you have a full and open dialogue with all team members, be visible in the firm.

Follow World Health Organisation, governmental and public health official updates – and keep employees updated, do not speculate, stick to the facts.

Discuss the plan of action for your firm, both short term and as importantly, longer term. Help staff see past the current turbulence.

EMPLOYEES

Look after employees and their families, good business leaders should demonstrate high levels of emotional awareness.

Ensure you can contact your staff and share information at short notice. Have a business continuity plan which enables remote working.

Consider technology to enable this, such as video conferencing, through company or personal computers.

If necessary, split teams across multiple sites or rotate office-based staff with those working remotely. Divide each team into Reds and Blues, and rotate the days Reds and Blues attend the office

 CASH

Cash flow is the life blood of any firm. This is your number financial priority to ensure business continuity.

Prepare for changes in market conditions including demand, price, and foreign exchange volatility.

Stress test your working capital, as flows of goods and services are interrupted and consider any support you may offer your suppliers.

Speak to your bank and HMRC about immediate support and building resilience against potential disruption.

 ONGOING BUSINESS CONTINUITY

Plan every aspect of your business including suppliers, revenue, cost and logistics. Identify area of potential weakness and develop a plan

Review your supply chain from end to end, identifying your suppliers’ supply source down to component level and understanding who your customers sell onto.

Identify and connect with alternative supply options, right down to the component level.

Map your dependencies, ensure you have visibility and a plan for disruptions – for example, using air freight in the event shipping is restricted.

Anticipate disruption to service providers – from legal services to customs checks.

Consider implications right across your operations – from sourcing to production to distribution.

 RECOVERY

This will end, and opportunities will arise.

Plan your actions for when any restrictions are lifted, the firms that react quickest will undoubtedly have an advantage.

Develop a clear proposition for clients that focuses on their ‘new normal’. What was appropriate last week may not be right in the future.

Have a communications plan for when ‘normality’ returns, experience tells both Dave and I that preparing for the recovery is vital in ensuring that there is a recovery and will be doing so with all our clients.

How we can help further: We’re here to support our clients.

Speak to us to help develop a plan for your business, now and in the future.