We are all start-ups – again.

Richard Lloyd: We are all start-ups – again


It is great to see a return to economic activity in parts of Europe, and inevitably my mind turns to what relaxation of ‘lockdown’ may look like for the UK. Many of us will be struggling to visualise what that may look like for our firms. We must remember, positivity will be the antidote to this crisis, and that applies to the fact that business resumption will happen in the UK in the coming weeks.

In recent conversations with clients and other business contacts, I am seeing a dramatic shift this week in our mindsets.

The key topic is fast becoming business resumption, and it is refreshing and inspiring to see how agile and innovative clients are being with their planning process. There is, of course, lots to consider; how many staff will I need, how will I pay for the staff once ‘furlough funding’ ends? The answers depend on your response to the rest of this article.

Based on conversations I have had with clients over the last week or so, and my thoughts on the matter, these are the key headlines coming out:

Managing the ‘Furlough’ effect.

How will we re-motivate employees who have been ‘furloughed’ (a term most of us had not heard of last month!)? That is no mean feat – the longer it goes on, the more a large proportion of the workforce will start to become demotivated and start considering their options. So, how do you re-engage them and then accelerate their output and performance when business resumes? This requires planning now, with sound management of the teams currently in work too. Turning off both active and furloughed employees will have a dramatic effect on overall motivation, compounded with the new remote world we temporarily find ourselves in, you run the risk of turning employees against you permanently. Get behind them.

Cost v Growth

How do you plan and develop a strategy? With differing parallels of tight cost management and accelerated turnover growth (you will need both to survive and thrive through the rest of 2020). Growth planning must be started today, with the COVID-19 exit plan likely to happen just as fast as the lock-down itself. For that reason, none of us can afford to put growth planning on the backburner. Budgets and targets will need to be recast. Staff cannot be expected to make up for lost time, so forecast everything for the rest of 2020 or a six-month window depending when your sector comes out of lockdown. With new targets, costs, etc. These can be used to refocus the team and shows good objective leadership.

Look after your team and create the right mindset

A growth mindset categorically filters down far more positively into your employees than a cost management mindset. Separate your teams to ensure that cost management (which undoubtedly is needed in detail through this period) does not cross over into your growth teams. Hunters need to be 100% focused on the task in hand.

Protect your business development budgets at all costs

Previous economic history points heavily to companies who survive and thrive during a recession having maintained a heavy (if not increased) focus on business development and marketing, and not making the error of cutting marketing spend as a non-pay cost line. Think very wisely on this subject.

Timing will be 100% the key to success

At what point do you activate the plan? When we resume, the speed of lock-down will be replaced by the speed of resumption. If you leave it too late to have a robust plan in place your business’s growth plan could simply arrive well behind the curve, leaving your profit in tatters and your competitors getting the cream.

Here at Davies Scothorn, we feel more duty-bound than ever to be there for companies and decision-makers going through the planning process, offering you a helping hand (and ear) through this turbulent period.

We are here for no-obligation consultations over Teams or Zoom, to explore ideas and solutions that will keep your business on the front foot.

One final thought – A clear vision, no matter how absurd that may sound right now, is a mission-critical business component everyone should be taking heed of.

Contact Richard if you’d like to speak about any of the above. Click here to email