There are also a number of measures you can take irrespective of how the initiatives may impact your business.
How can you do business differently and keep your doors open for business survival?
I was talking to a client who sells products in the disability sector. They are already finding opportunities to provide online services to their customers which previously would have been provided in a face-to-face environment by health professionals who are faced with isolation requirements.
We talked about what would happen if one of the staff in the office became infected thus requiring the entire team to self-isolate. I suggested finding someone they trusted who wasn't on the team who could go into their office. Then whilst they were there instruct them on what to do to send out orders.
If there's a complete lockdown, that's not going to work. But if they are considered an essential services (which they may be), then perhaps there is a way for the products to continue to be shipped to their clients in need.
This includes both business and personal. Take a good hard look at where you spend every dollar. If it's not essential, consider whether you can eliminate or reduce the cost during this time. But be sensible about this. Business survival may rest on being smart about which costs to keep and which to eliminate.
Some years ago, when my accounting business was struggling, I was in a position not dissimilar to this one in terms of the impact on the business. My business income was significantly diminished, forcing me to retrench staff and cut back costs.
One of the costs I had inherited when I bought the business was a plant hire service. We had green plants around the office and we were paying for someone to come each fortnight to water them.
Whilst the plants provided a nice environment to work in, I couldn't justify the expense as it was non-essential.
With initiatives, at least here in Australia, aimed at keeping people employed, there are a few options here if there isn't enough work to keep them busy. Consider, asking permanent staff to take annual leave (but check with Fair Work, or your local employment regulator to make sure you comply with the rules), or find other ways to keep them busy.
Consider running training sessions, reviewing and documenting procedures, tidying up whether physically or sorting online filing into better structures, look at alternative systems that could streamline operations in the future or improve efficiencies.
The benefit of this will be found in the future when we return to "normal" and you've got a better stronger business.
This could be changing your business into something else. I've heard of an event booth construction business that is now making kitchens and Ferrari changing production to making ventilators. It's about finding ways to ensure your business survival now so that you can reap the benefits in the future.
Or it could be changing your business delivery model. Restaurants and cafes are changing their business to take away and deliveries only. Events, conferences and education facilities converting to online offerings rather than cancelling the events.
Be kind to yourself, consider your physical health and also your mental health. It's ok to feel anxious about what is happening around us. We don't know what's going to happen next and how long this situation is going to last. But remember, concentrate on what you can control and let go of what you can't.
Stay safe. x