We’re in uncharted territory right now, yet for many of our population this is not totally unfamiliar.
If you were in Christchurch immediately after the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the uncertainty of business survival was a very real experience for those who were fortunate enough to have had their businesses unscathed by major damage.
The Government responded with some amazing support packages back then – subsidies for business owners and their employees to keep jobs open and to provide some cashflow (the Government has released these subsidies again in an updated format for the current environment) and there were a range of organisations delivering support across a broad spectrum of need. One of these organisations was Recover Canterbury.
For close to two years, I worked for Recover Canterbury supporting earthquake impacted businesses.
Why should that matter right now to you?
I have experience in dealing with businesses impacted by adverse events.
Incident response. Risk management. Health and safety. Economic (re)development. Job losses. Business continuity. Financial management.
If I could get you to do one thing.
Just one thing. It is to look at your current practices and check that you have identified what the key activities in your business are and what the biggest risks to these are. Then to put steps in place to try and manage these risks
If your business is reliant on your staff being there, then you need to make sure you are doing all you can to manage the risk to them (spoiler – you should be doing this anyway, but lets say that Covid-19 is the only risk they face). That means that you should have plans to help alleviate their concerns and to support them to conduct business as usual – as much as you can in the unusual situation.
If you can work remotely, get that underway. If you do not have to be open to the public then get them working from home – make sure your policies are up to date for remote working and health and safety.
If you’re a hospitality business or retail and reliant on customers, then look at other ways you can manage risk. The reality is that you are highly likely to encounter a significant reduction in turnover in the immediate future. Consider ways you can diversify; can you look at delivering food/beverages (remember to check your licensing!), can you enable advance ordering for customers. Do you have an e-commerce function on your website – if not, look at the feasibility of this in the short and long-term (Shopify can help you do incredible things). Can you request your landlord reduce your rent?
The point of this post is to get you thinking about how you can manage your business survival. Make no mistake. COVID-19 is here and it is causing chaos. But it doesn’t have to be true of your business. There are ways to manage risk, even if it doesn’t seem immediately obvious.
If you feel stuck or lost, you’re not alone. There is help out there. Some of us have been here before, even if the circumstances were different. We’ve faced the unknown and we’ve come through stronger with expertise gained from our experiences.
Need help? Get in touch.